6 Fixes for Windows Update is Not Working in Windows 10/11

Start by running the Windows Update troubleshooter

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Windows Update is not working? Microsoft’s troubleshooter is great for diagnosing the issue. 
  • A good idea if Windows update won't load is to roll back to a previous Windows 10 instance.
  • It is also imperative to check your system for possible malware that can cause this issue.
w10-update windows update not working windows 10

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Windows 11 is one of the biggest releases that Microsoft ever announced and Windows Update made a colossal difference to the overall user experience.

While they are supposed to download automatically, the process is not always as streamlined as intended and glitches can occur.

For some users, Windows Update not working issues occur frequently, while others may stumble across this problem occasionally when performing specific tasks.

Let’s quickly go through the most common scenarios for which Windows 10/11 updates won’t install and check out the culprits behind each of them.

Why is Windows Update not working?

In the event that Windows is unable to finish installing an update, check to confirm that you are properly connected to the Internet and that your hard disk has sufficient free space, as these are the two most common causes.

You might also try restarting your computer, or you could check to make sure that Windows drivers were installed successfully.

Here is a list of the most common Windows Update errors that users reported getting in Windows 10 & 11:

  • Windows 10 updates won’t install on restart – The update process gets stuck after performing a system restart.
  • Windows Update not working in Safe Mode – Safe Mode only allows essential system programs to start up at boot. Installing Windows updates in Safe Mode is only recommended if you cannot start Windows normally.)
  • Windows Update stuck on downloading – This error can also be found under this form: We couldn’t install this update 0x80070541. While the numeric part can vary, the description often reads We couldn’t install this update, but you can try again.
  • Windows Update download button is not working or button is missing altogether – This error prevents you from force-downloading certain features. In some cases, Windows Update database corruption can occur and prevent you from installing updates.
  • Windows 10 Update can’t find the necessary file – The error stating some update files are missing or have problems is usually caused by some corrupted Windows update caches.)
  • Download error 0x80070002 – This error is usually triggered by deprecated apps.
  • One of the Update services is not running properly in Windows 10 – One of the essential services on which WU relies, the Windows Update Service is not running at all.
  • Windows Update not working through a proxy – Even though it is a solid method to protect your privacy online, many users reported various issues while using a proxy.
  • Windows Update, not enough space – This is a common problem, and it’s usually caused by the lack of space. To fix the issue, try removing unnecessary files and check if that resolves your problem.
  • We couldn’t install updates because there’s a problem with the date and time information on your device
  • Your device is missing important security and quality fixes – This error is sometimes caused by problematic recent updates.

This being said, let’s see what you can do if Windows 10 or 11 won’t install. If you still can’t seem to fix the issue, check out our last section with similar articles that cover more update-related errors.

What can I do if Windows 10 updates won’t install?

1. Run the Windows Update troubleshooter

  1. Click on the Start button, type troubleshoot, and select Troubleshoot settings from the results.
  2. Click on Aditional troubleshooters.
  3. Select Windows Update and then click on the Run the troubleshooter button.ad-tr windows update not working windows 10

Microsoft’s Windows Update Troubleshooter is a good way of knowing the problem if it is not much complex. It is almost everyone’s first choice whether a newbie or a professional.

Unfortunately, it does not always manage to solve the issue. In fact, it will most likely retrieve a result that resembles this description: Windows Update troubleshooting couldn’t identify the problem.

Whether it fixes your problem or not, it can surely provide you with useful information, so don’t be shy to use the Windows Update troubleshooter in Windows 10 or 11. Anyways, if Windows Troubleshooter is not working, move on to our next solution.

2. Use System Restore to roll back and uninstall a bad update

  1. Open Start Menu from the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen then click to open the Settings right above the Power button.
    open Settings
  2. Click Update & Security.
  3. In this new window, you need to select View update history and find the last successful update installed on your Windows.
  4. You will now see a list of updates installed on your system.
  5. Click on the Uninstall updates at the top.
  6. When you click Uninstall updates, a new window will pop up which shows the new updates that are installed on the PC.
  7. You can choose to uninstall any of these updates but proceed with caution as uninstalling a critical update will lead to a PC that is full of bugs.

After the completion of the restore, your computer will work fine.

If Windows Update is not working, System Restore might be the best way to fix it. This makes your computer back into the past when it was working fine, so follow the steps above to get this done.

Needless to say, the solution implies you already have created a restore point to which you want to revert now. If you can’t find a restore point, you may need to create one manually.

One drawback of using Windows’ own Restore point is that, while it creates an identical picture of your PC’s contents at any given time, you may wind up copying data that is already flawed or corrupted.

To begin with, using a specialist tool like Restoro, which is totally automated and requires no scheduling or user input, can minimize the hassle.

Second, Restoro uses its own repositories to correct registry keys and files before producing its own restore points, so you always know that whichever restore point you pick during a rollback will be completely functioning.

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3. Scan your PC for malware

If Windows Update is not working, you will have to make sure your PC is clean and does not have any kind of malware.

To do so, you can either use the built-in tool, Microsoft Defender or download ESET Internet Security a professional malware scanner.

Expert Tip: Some PC issues are hard to tackle, especially when it comes to corrupted repositories or missing Windows files. If you are having troubles fixing an error, your system may be partially broken. We recommend installing Restoro, a tool that will scan your machine and identify what the fault is.
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Whatever you choose, you need to make sure your security programs are up to date in order to keep your PC safe.

4. Install a fresh version of Windows

If nothing works for you, then it is a wise choice to install Windows freshly using the Microsoft 10 Install Drive.

For this option, it is very important that you create a backup of your data on an external drive because this option will erase all of it.

Moreover, the product ID of your license should be saved or should be written in a safe place before reinstalling your Windows.

5. Delete all files from the Software Distribution directory

5.1 Use the Windows Services

  1. Press Windows + R, enter services.msc, and press Enter or click OK.
    open services
  2. Locate Background Intelligent Transfer Service, right-click it, and choose Stop from the menu.
  3. Do the same for the Windows Update service.
  4. After disabling these services go to the following folder inside File Explorer: C:Windows\SoftwareDistribution
  5. Select all files in the SoftwareDistribution directory and click on Delete.
  6. Go back to the Services window and start both Windows Update and Background Intelligent Transfer Services.

After doing that, try to download updates manually and check if the problem is resolved.

If Windows Update is not working on your PC, you might be able to solve the problem simply by deleting files from the SoftwareDistribution directory.

Sometimes files in this directory can become corrupted and that can cause this problem to appear.

5.2 Use Command Prompt

  1. Type cmd in the Search box and select Run as administrator to start Command Prompt with elevated privileges.cmd-run-admin windows update not working windows 10
  2. Enter the following command lines and run them one by one by pressing Enter:

net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver
ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2\catroot2.old
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver

If you cannot run Command Prompt as an admin or if it is simply not available for whatever reason, you can also use PowerShell.

6. Change your DNS

  1. Right-click the network icon in the bottom right corner and choose Open Network and Sharing Center.
    network and sharing center
  2. In the left pane, click on Change adapter settings.
    change adapter settings
  3. Locate your network connection, right-click it, and choose Properties from the menu.
  4. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties.
    internet protocol version 4
  5. Select Use the following DNS server addresses and enter as a Preferred DNS server and as Alternate DNS server. Click OK to save changes.
    change dns

Sometimes, your default DNS might present specific issues such as the server not responding or others that prevent you from using Windows Update.

If Windows Update stopped working, changing your DNS server should solve the issue.

How to delete Windows 10 updates that won’t install?

  1. Click the Windows key and select Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security.update-security windows update not working windows 10
  3. In the right section, click on View update history. view-update-hist windows update not working windows 10
  4. In the new window, choose Uninstall updates. unisntall-updates windows update not working windows 10
  5. From the list that appears, click on the last update and uninstall it.
  6. After the process has finished, go to Windows Update and check for updates again in order to restart the process.
Tip icon
As always, file corruption is a potential culprit, so you might want to check your system for signs of deprecation.

We recommend you use a professional utility like Restoro to handle this task automatically, promptly, and most of all hassle-free.

Windows 10 saying you’re not up to date can be problematic, but we’re confident you will be able to get those updates running in no time with our tips.

What can I do if Windows Update is not working on Windows 11?

Windows 11 will automatically check for and install any available updates, helping to keep your computer’s operating system secure and reliable.

However, it is possible that these updates will not install properly, in which case you will see an error related to Windows 11 Windows Update.

The term Windows Update error is a catch-all phrase that refers to a wide variety of glitches, complications, and blunders that prohibit the updating procedure from operating in an orderly fashion. Check out our post on 7 tips to fix the Windows Update in Windows 11.

Moreover, one of the most common errors is 0x80070057 that mostly occurs with Windows 10 but it’s easily moved to other apps, so you will definitely want to fix this as soon as possible.

Besides that, another error you may get when updating your OS is 0x800f081f, this error can easily be fixed by updating your drivers or performing a clean install.

Now, Windows Update errors come in many shapes and sizes. If you ever get stuck, help is no further than a click away.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • First, make sure that your Windows 10 device is connected to the internet. If you have problems with the Internet connection, check our guide to fix the problem.

  • The quickest and easiest way to perform Windows updates is by using the Windows Update menu from Update & Security. Here’s how to check if you installed a specific update.

  • If you want to download only one or some of the Windows updates, you need to access the Windows Update Catalog. Here’s our guide on how to use the Windows Update Catalog.

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