Windows Was Unable to Get a List of Devices: 3 Easy Fixes

Check the best solutions that worked for others

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Editor-in-Chief
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
  • Printers are a vital addition to the PC, but many users reported getting Windows was unable to get a list of devices from Windows Update error when adding it.
  • The error usually arises due to missing updates or problems with the cache.
  • To fix things, we recommend installing the latest version of the OS or clearing the Software Distribution folder, amongst other solutions.
fix windows was unable to get a list of devices from windows update error while installing printer

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The Windows was unable to get a list of devices from Windows Update. Please try again later error message pops up for some users when trying to install printers. That error message pops up when users select the Add a local printer option on the Add Printer window.

Consequently, users can’t install their printers. Here are a few resolutions that can fix the Windows was unable to a get a list of devices error. These work for both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How can I fix the Windows was unable to get a list of devices from Windows Update error?

In this article

1. Check if There are Pending Updates

The Windows was unable to get a list of devices error might arise when there’s a pending update.

To check if that’s the case, press the Windows key + Q hotkey and enter update in Cortana.

Then select Check for updates and make sure you install all of the listed updates. Restart Windows if there’s a pending update, and then try installing the printer after the update has been installed.

In case Windows Update is not showing, or the update continues to load, start by fixing it first and then try the other solutions here.

2. Delete the SoftwareDistribution Folder

  1. First, open Run with the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut, type services.msc in the text box, and press OK.
  2. Double-click Windows Update.
  3. Press the Stop button.
  4. Select the Apply option and click OK to close the window.
  5. Press the Windows key + E hotkey to open File Explorer.
  6. Open the folder path C:\Windows, select the SoftwareDistribution folder and press the Delete button.
  7. Then open the Services window again.
  8. Double-click Windows Update and press the Start button.
  9. Then click Apply and OK.
  10. Check whether the Windows was unable to get a list of devices from Windows Update issue persists.

3. Edit the SoftwareDistribution Folder Title and Reset the Catroot2 Folder

  1. Click the Start button, type cmd, and select Run as administrator from the results.
  2. Input the following command and press Enter to run it: net stop wuauservnet stop wuauserv
  3. Enter the following command and press Enter: net stop bits
  4. Then execute the following command: rename C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bakrename to fix windows was unable to get a list of devices from windows update
  5. To restart Windows Update, input the following command: net start wuauserv
  6. Type the following command and press Enter: net start bits
  7. Input the following command and hit Enter: net stop cryptsvc
  8. To reset catroot2, enter the next command as shown below: md %systemroot%\system32catroot2.oldreset
  9. Then input this command and press Enter: xcopy %systemroot%system32catroot2 %systemroot%system32catroot2.old /scommand
  10. Close the Command Prompt window.
  11. Open File Explorer using the Win + E keys and browse to this folder path: C:\Windows\System32
  12. Select the catroot2 folder and press the Delete button.
  13. Then restart Windows.

The second resolution usually fixes the Windows was unable to get a list of devices issue for most users.

However, the first and third resolutions are two alternatives that might also fix the printer error.

Some users have also stated that deleting all the files in the DataStore subfolder within SoftwareDistribution can fix the issue.

We hope you managed to fix the Windows was unable to get a list of devices from Windows Update issue on your PC. And while you are at it, find out how to fix all Windows Update errors in one go.

Let us know all about it in the comments section below.

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