Sometimes, some Windows Update fails to download, or 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 or download, then this Windows Updates troubleshooting tutorial will help you identify and troubleshoot the problem.
Windows Update failed to install
If Windows Update fails to install, is not working, updates will not download or keep failing, on your Windows 11/10/8/7 then these suggestions will help you troubleshoot & fix Windows Updates.
- Try again
- Delete Temporary Files and Browser Cache
- Disable your Firewall and Anti-virus software
- Run SFC and DISM
- Run Windows Update Troubleshooter
- Manually Reset Windows Update Components to default
- Use FixWU
- Flush the SoftwareDistribution Folder
- Reset the Catroot folder
- Check Windows Update Services status
- Check Windows Update log file
- Clear pending.xml file
- Clear the BITS queue
- Delete incorrect Registry values
- Run Windows Module Installer
- Run Background Intelligent Transfer Service Troubleshooter
- Download its stand-alone installer
- Use authenticated Proxy Servers
- Run Windows Update in Clean Boot State
- Take the help of Microsoft Virtual Agent
- Contact Microsoft Support.
Windows Updates troubleshooting tutorial
Let us see all these potential fixes in detail. Do create a system restore point first. Go through the entire post and then see which of these may apply to your system. You may then try any of these, in no particular order.
Fix Windows Update Errors
1] Try again
As mentioned earlier, many 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.
2] Delete Temporary Files and Browser Cache
If you are unable to install Windows Updates, first clear up your Temporary Files and Browser 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.
3] Disable your Firewall and Anti-virus software
Temporarily Disable your Firewall and Anti-virus software and try again. Here is a list of Windows files and folders you may exclude from Antivirus scans.
4] Run SFC and DISM
Run System File Checker to replace potentially corrupted system files.
You can also fix corrupted Windows Update system files using DISM Tool. The Dism.exe tool can be used in different situations, and one of them is to repair a corrupted Windows Update files. Do note that you need to run a different command if you want to repair corrupted Windows Update System Files. If you run the usual /RestoreHealth command, it may not necessarily help.
DISM will replace potentially corrupted or missing system files with good ones. However, if your Windows Update client is already broken, you will be prompted to use a running Windows installation as the repair source or use a Windows side-by-side folder from a network share, as the source of the files.
You will then be required to run the following command instead:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess
Here you have to replace the C:\RepairSource\Windows placeholder with the location of your repair source.
Once the process is complete, DISM will create a log file in %windir%/Logs/CBS/CBS.log and capture any issues that the tool finds or fixes.
These can help fix problems that might prevent Windows Updates from installing.
5] Run Windows Update Troubleshooter
Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter from Microsoft. It resets Windows Updates settings to defaults. You may also run the Online Windows Troubleshooter from Microsoft.
6] Manually Reset Windows Update Components to default
Use the Reset Windows Update Agent Tool (Microsoft tool) or the Reset Windows Update Tool (From a 3rd-party) and see if it helps you. This PowerShell script will help you Reset Windows Update Client. See this post if you want to manually reset each Windows Update components to default.
7] Use FixWU
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.
8] Flush the Software Distribution Folder
Flush the SoftwareDistribution 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.
9] Reset the Catroot folder
Reset the Catroot folder and see. To reset the catroot2 folder do this:
Open an elevated Command Prompt, type the following command one after the other and hit Enter:
net stop cryptsvc
xcopy %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 %systemroot%\system32\catroot2.old /s
Next, delete all the contents of the catroot2 folder.
Having done this, in the CMD windows, type the following and hit Enter:
net start cryptsvc
Your catroot folder will be reset, once you start Windows Update again.
Read: Windows Updates may fail if Fast Startup is enabled.
10] Check Windows Update Services status
Open Windows Services Manager and check the Windows Update related Services like Windows Update, Windows Update Medic, Update Orchestrator Services, etc are not disabled.
The default configuration on a standalone Windows 11/10 PC is as follows:
- Windows Update Service – Manual (Triggered)
- Windows Update Medic Services – Manual
- Cryptographic Services – Automatic
- Background Intelligent Transfer Service – Manual
- DCOM Server Process Launcher – Automatic
- RPC Endpoint Mapper – Automatic
- Windows Installer – Manual.
This will ensure that the required Services are available.
Apart from the direct service, you should find the dependencies of Windows Update service and ensure if they are running or not.
To get started, search for “services” in the Taskbar search box and click on the search result. After opening the Services window, find out Windows Update, DCOM Server Process Launcher, and RPC Endpoint Mapper. Check if they are running or not.
If not, you need to start those services one after one.
11] Check Windows Update log file
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.
The warnings will probably appear as -: WARNING: Failed to find updates with error code AAAAAAAA.
Now Right-click Computer > Manage > Event Viewer > Applications and Service Logs > Microsoft > Windows > WindowsUpdateClient > Operational . Check out for any Critical Message or Warning.
Next, refer to the Windows Update Error Codes. This will give you the direction in which you may have to look for the solution. You may also search for the Windows Update error code here and see if a specific solution is available.
12] Clear pending.xml file
Open an elevated command prompt window, type the following and hit Enter:
Ren c:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml pending.old
This will rename pending.xml file to pending.old. Now try again.
13] Clear the BITS queue
Clear the BITS queue of any current jobs. To do this, type the following in an elevated CMD and hit Enter:
bitsadmin.exe /reset /allusers
14] Delete incorrect Registry values
Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
Right-click COMPONENTS. Now in the right-pane, delete the following if they exist:
Restart your computer and try again.
15] Run Windows Module Installer
The Windows Module Installer is a built-in Windows 10 service. It lets you fix the Windows updates which are stuck.
To use this, open a command prompt with admin privileges.
Type the following and hit Enter:
SC config trustedinstaller start=auto
Once successfully executed, you should see [SC] ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS display within the Command Prompt console.
Exit the command prompt, and check if the buttons are back to normal.
16] Run Background Intelligent Transfer Service Troubleshooter
Run the Background Intelligent Transfer Service Troubleshooter and see if it helps. Background Intelligent Transfer Service or BITS helps in the transfer, download or upload of files between a client and server, and provides progress information related to the transfers. It also plays a role in the download of files from a peer. This Windows Service is essential for Windows Updates to work properly.
17] Download its stand-alone installer
Search on the Microsoft Update Catalog website for the Windows Update 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.
18] Use authenticated Proxy Servers
You can use authenticated Proxy Servers to fix Windows Update and Microsoft Store app Installation errors.
19] Run Windows Update in Clean Boot State
Boot in Clean Boot State and run Windows Update and see if this helps. It works in most cases.
Read: Windows Update keeps disabling itself automatically.
20] Take the help of Microsoft Virtual Agent
If you’re getting an error downloading or installing Windows Updates, you could also take the help of Microsoft Virtual Agent, by clicking here.
22] Windows Update URL List for whitelisting
Make sure that the following URLs related to Microsoft Update are not blocked:
21] Contact Microsoft Support
If nothing helps, you can always contact Microsoft Support. They will surely be able to help you.
Posts that help fix related Windows Update problems:
- Windows Update is stuck downloading updates.
- Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes.
- Potential Windows Update Database error detected
- Troubleshoot problems with installing Windows Updates in Windows – FAQ
- Windows keeps installing the same update
- Cannot Update Windows using Windows Update
- Your device is at risk because it’s out of date & missing important security & quality updates
- Some Updates were canceled message
- Service Registration is Missing or Corrupt.
We hope something here has helped you fix your Windows Updates issues.
Windows Update is not working or stuck on Checking for Updates
If Windows Update is not working or stuck on Checking for Updates, you may run the Windows Update Troubleshooter, Re-register these Windows Update related DLL files, or reset Windows Update components.