Fix: Windows Updates fail to install in Windows 7 / 8 / 10

Sometimes, some Windows Updates fail to install, and just refuse to get installed on your computer even when you try a couple of times. If you face this problem where Windows Updates will not install, this tutorial will help you identify and troubleshoot the problem. Do create a system restore point first. You may then try any of these, in no particular order.

Windows Updates Fail To Install

1. If you are unable to install Windows Updates, first clear up your Temporary Files and Internet Cache, reboot and try again. See if this helps resolve the issue. Best and easy to use the built-in Disk Cleanup utility or CCleaner.

2. Disable your Firewall and Anti-virus software and try again.

3. As mentioned earlier, many a times, an update may fail to install in the first instance, but for some inexplicable reason, succeeds in the 2nd or 3rd try. So try a couple of times.

4. Search on Microsoft, for the patch using the Update KB number, and download its stand-alone installer. Now apply the patch manually. Search for just the number; don’t include KB ! Also, go here to see the Complete Master List of Windows Update Error Codes.

5. Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter from Microsoft. It resets Windows Updates settings to defaults.

6. Use our Fix WU tool and see if it helps. It re-registers all the dll, ocx and ax files required for the proper functioning of Windows Updates.

7. Run System Update Readiness Tool. It can help fix problems that might prevent Windows Updates and Service Packs from installing.

8. Right-click Computer > Manage > Services > Stop the “Cryptographic Service” and rename the “Catroot2” folder situated in C:\Windows\System32\Catroot to something else like say Catroot2X.

cryptographic services


Now run the update or the installers again. This action will re-generate a new Catroot2 folder and the updates or hotfixes, should hopefully install.

9. If still you have a problem then, go to C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.log and look for the most recent entry. This will be present towards the end of the log. Any failed updates will have error code/s written next to them. Note them down. If you find just too many entries too confusing delete this WindowsUpdate.log and try installing the problematic updates again.

Now open the newly re-created WindowsUpdate log file and have a look at its contents.

Windows Updates fail to install

The warnings will probably appear as -: WARNING: Failed to find updates with error code XXXXXXXX.

Now Right-click Computer > Manage > Event Viewer > Applications and Service Logs > Microsoft > Windows > WindowsUpdateClient > Operational . Check out for any Critical Message or Warning.

computer management

Next refer the Windows Update Error Codes . This will give you the direction in which you may have to look for the solution.

11. Flush the Software Distribution Folder. Run Command Prompt as administrator. In the CMD box that appears on the computer screen, enter the following strings of text, one at a time, and hit Enter.

net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

Now browse to the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder and delete all the files and folders inside.

If the files are in use, restart your device. After rebooting, run the commands above again. Your Windows Store App needs to be closed by the way, so do not start it.

Now you will be able to delete the files from the mentioned Software Distribution folder. Now in the Command Prompt windows, type the following commands one at a time, and hit Enter:

net start wuauserv

net start bits

Reboot. If you are using Windows Update try using Microsoft Updates or vice versa.

11. Read this, if Windows Update is not working or the Windows Update page itself is blank. Add the mentioned few websites to the whitelist.

12. This will help you if Windows Update is stuck downloading updates.

13. See this if Windows Update Page Is Blank.

14. Go here if you get error Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes.

These links may also interest you:

Post ported from and updated and posted here.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.
  • Elton A

    Thanks amazing tutorial for error # 80072F78.. got it quite a few times on Windows 8.

  • ganesan ramkumar

    I insall BAIDU pc faster while uninstall using revo install restore point unable to create and the unable to shutdown

    i restart ( restart normally mode ) then ok

    but in reg :

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionSystemRestore

    and then 4 windows update install again and again

    but now i create restore point easily

    how to fix ?

    but other update i install by select and install method no problem
    so i always off windows update but 2 days once i check.

  • global

    Hi ganesan

    First of all u don’t to worry its just a software prob. u downloaded s/w having virus.


    one way is to repair you window.just repair it and if u face ant prob.


  • Dave M

    I have four updates that refuse to install simply because I’m using MS Word 2003. These 4 updates will never install until I first update MS Word to a more current one. So my question is, why in hell would I get these updates at all if Microsoft knows they won’t install?!?!?!?!?!?!?! And how do I get rid of these four updates so they do not appear at all????????????????????????

  • Derek

    Great, worked for me! Thanks a lot.

  • Marleen

    Just wanted to say thanks for the article. I did steps 1-5 and it fixed my problem. After step 5 a whole bunch of problems got fixed so I decided to try again and it finally worked! =)

  • Panos69

    I am now working on a Toshiba Satellite A300 where NOT a single Windows Vista SP1 update could be downloaded and installed using Windows Update or even manually! And all this after a very fresh installation of the original factory image on a changed HDD.

    All manual windows components installations were failing including manual upgrade of IE to 8 or 9 & .NET versions 3,4.

    Upgrade to Windows 7 was also failing at the very last step indicating a hardware incompatibility although the initial tests only showed a minor bluetooth device incompatibility.

    In that case, none of the above tricks worked.

    Given that a lot of reports on the Web attribute this problem to an Intel Storage driver problem, I simply experimented using BIOS to switch the controller from AHCI to IDE (legacy) mode. I already had the latest driver and I did not want to fallback to an earlier one.

    Right after rebooting, the “IDE” drivers were loaded since “new” hardware was discovered.

    Guess what! Windows Update immediately started downloading a few years worth of Vista SP1 updates including SP2 etc. I am still downloading (takes about half a day) and I will also try to upgrade to Windows 7 again.

    So, this confirms to me that some kind of Intel Driver bug blocks all Windows Updates installations but no other installations (e.g. Avast antivirus).

    Next experiment is after upgrading to Windows 7 (and hopefully using a more recent Intel driver compared to the Vista one) is to switch back to AHCI and check if Windows Update still works…

  • Naso

    Its all very well quoting these fixes but what about us people who dont know wtf you are talking about those of us who use a pc to do on line shopping .watch youtube or listern to music and dont have the foggiest what any of that geek speak means as far as im concerned if microsoft promises us a new wonderful system brags that this new improved windows is the best one ever and pats them selves on the back because its free it should fecking work without deleting bits and bobs .turning off anti viruses etc.if they say the thing is compatiable with my pc i want it to download and be up and hit the ground running not have the total BS ive had since monday where it starts to download everytime i switch on my machine then after an hour of downloading.initializing
    And setting up freezes and crashes forcing a restart and reverting back to w7. What microsoft are doing is the equivalent of a waiter at a michelin star restaurant taking your order then after 2 hours coming back to your table with a half prepared meal and a bowl of ingredients and telling you the chef said make the rest yourself or starve

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