Windows 10 updates won’t install [6 easy steps to fix the issue]

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Windows 10 is one of the biggest Windows releases that Microsoft ever announced. This announcement was made much larger when Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to people who are running genuine versions of Windows 7, Windows 8 and even Windows 8.1.

But just like any other Windows release, this upgrade came with many problems and bugs which forced some people to either roll back to older version of Windows or not upgrading at all. Windows 10 updates worked in a different way.

For the very first time, you couldn’t stop Windows 10 from downloading updates and there were some other glitches in Windows Update which stopped it from working correctly.

One of the issues was that Windows Update was not working at all on Windows 10 which is not a good thing since these updates are not only necessary, but they are important to keep the system secure.

There are various problems that can occur with Windows Update, and in this article, we covered the following issues:

  • Windows Update not working after Creators Update – Creators Update is the latest major update for Windows, but many users reported that Windows Update stopped working on their PC after installing Creators Update.
  • Windows Update service not running error – Windows Update relies on certain services in order to run properly. However, many users reported that Windows Update service isn’t running on their PC at all.
  • Windows Update not responding, progressing, running – This is another common problem with Windows Update. Many users reported that Windows Update isn’t responding or progressing at all.
  • Windows Update not working through a proxy – Proxy is a solid method to protect your privacy online, however, many users reported various issues while using a proxy.
  • Windows Update won’t download, install, update – Many users reported various issues with Windows 10 not downloading updates. According to them, Windows Update won’t download or install updates at all.
  • Windows Update won’t open, load, start Windows 10 – Another common problem is the inability to start Windows Update on Windows 10. According to users, Windows Update won’t even open on their PC.
  • Windows Update not applicable, finding updates, connecting – In some cases Windows Update might not be able to find updates at all. In several cases, users reported that Windows Update is not connecting to the server.
  • 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.
  • Windows Update taking too long, stuck, hangs – Many users reported that Windows Update takes too long. In fact, a couple of users reported that Windows Update was completely stuck.
  • Windows Update database corruption – In some cases, database corruption can occur and prevent you from installing updates. This isn’t a common problem, but you should be able to fix it with one of our solutions.
  • Windows Update broke – Several users reported that their Windows Update is broken. According to them, they are completely unable to use Windows Update.

Let us see how to fix Windows Update not working on Windows 10.

What can I do if Windows Update won’t work on Windows 10?

  1. Try your hand at using Troubleshooter
  2. Use System Restore to roll back and uninstall a bad update
  3. Scan your PC for malware
  4. Install a fresh version of Windows
  5. Delete all files from the Software Distribution directory
  6. Change your DNS

Solution 1 – Try your hand at using Troubleshooter

control panel troubleshooter

Microsoft’s 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. It rarely solves the problem but it is rather speedy and basic to run that there is no harm in trying it once.

windows update troubleshooter

For this purpose, you need to download the Windows Update Diagnostic from the Windows website and run it. This tool will work on its own and will fix any issues if it finds any.

Windows Update troubleshooter

Whether it fixes your problem or not but it can surely identify and provide you with useful information regarding the problem.

If the Troubleshooter stops before completing the process, fix it with the help of this complete guide.

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

If Windows Update is not working, System Restore might be the best way to fix it. System Restore takes your computer back into the past when it was working fine.

It can fix your problem but before anything else, you would need to identify when the problem started and what was the real reason behind it.

First of all, to find the problem you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open Start Menu from the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen.</li>
  2. Click to open the Settings right above the Power button.
    open Settings
  3. Click on the tab of Update & Security.
    open Update & Security
  4. In this new window, you need to select Update History and find the last successful update installed on your windows.
    check for updates

After pointing out the origin of the problem now you need to restore your computer right before that event so that it works fine as before that update. Following should be followed to restore your windows.

  1. Now when you click that option, you will now see a list of updates installed on your system.
  2. You will also see an option to Uninstall updates at the top. Click it.
    uninstall updates
  3. When you click Uninstall updates, a new window will pop up which shows the new updates that are installed on the PC.
  4. 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.

uninstall updates

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

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

Solution 3 – Scan your PC for malware

Windows Update provides updates that eliminate the effect of this malware hence many of this malware target Windows Update to stop it from working correctly.

Not only that but this malware also affect other important Windows services. These services include Windows Update, System Restore and sometimes even your antivirus program.

Windows Defender

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, scan your PC with a security program that you have or if you just use Windows Defender, then go ahead and scan it using Windows Defender. You need to make sure your security programs are up to date in order to keep your PC safe.

Solution 4 – Install a fresh version of Windows

If nothing works for you, then it is a wise choice to install Windows freshly using Microsoft Windows 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 your data. And the product ID of your windows should be saved or should be written at a safe place before reinstalling your Windows.

If you want to back up your data, this amazing guide will help you keep all your file safe. If your interested in a software that will do it for you, check out this list with the best back up software available right now.

Epic guide alert! Reinstall Windows 10 with a few quick steps. Everything you need to know is right here.

Solution 5 – Delete all files from the Software Distribution directory

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

Sometimes files in this directory can become corrupted and that can cause this problem to appear. To fix the issue, you need to delete these files by doing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
    open services
  2. When Services window opens, locate Background Intelligent Transfer Service, right click it and choose Stop from the menu. Do the same for Windows Update service.
    reset Windows Update services
  3. After disabling these services go to C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution directory.
    delete software distribution folder
  4. Select all files in the SoftwareDistribution directory and click on Delete.
    delete Software Distribution
  5. Go back to 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.

Need additional info on how to delete the Software Distribution folder? Here’s a dedicated guide about that.

If you’re an advanced user, you can fix this problem by using Command Prompt. This method is a bit more complex, but it’s also faster. To do it, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator. To do that, press Windows Key + X to open the Win + X menu and choose Command Prompt (Admin). If the Command Prompt isn’t available, you can also use PowerShell (Admin).
  2. When Command Prompt opens, you need to paste the following lines and run them one by one:
    • net stop wuauserv
    • net stop cryptSvc
    • net stop bits
    • net stop msiserver
    • ren C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    • <strong>ren C:WindowsSystem32catroot2 catroot2.old</strong
    • net start wuauserv
    • net start cryptSvc
    • net start bits
    • net start msiserver
    • pause
    • Exit

After running these commands, the issues with Windows Update should be resolved and everything will start working again.

If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look on this guide.

Solution 6 – Change your DNS

According to users, sometimes Windows Update is not working due to problems with your DNS. Sometimes your default DNS might have some issues that are preventing you from using Windows Update.

To fix this issue, you need to do the following:

  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.
    Ethernet properties
  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

After changing your DNS server the issue should be resolved and Windows Update will start working again without any problems.

Your freshly set up DNS is looking ok but the server is not responding? Check out this nifty guide to solve the issue.

If Windows Update is not working on your PC, the problem might be your Internet connection or file corruption. Even though this can be a big problem, we hope you managed to solve it by using one of our solutions.

If you have any more suggestions or questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below.


 Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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