Windows Update fail to install or will not download in Windows 10/8/7

Sometimes, some Windows Update 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 Update Fail To Install

Windows Update fail to install

If Windows Update fail to install, is not working, updates will not download or keep failing, then these suggestions will help you troubleshoot & fix Windows Updates. Go through the entire post and then see which of these may apply to your system.

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. Here is a list of Windows files and folders you may exclude from Antivirus scans.

3. 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.

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. Fix corrupted Windows Update system files using DISM Tool or CheckSUR. 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

Reboot.

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.

12. 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
md %systemroot%\system32\catroot2.old
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.

13. Open an elevated command prompt windows, 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.

14. 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

15. Delete incorrect Registry values.

Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\COMPONENTS

Right-click COMPONENTS. Now in the right-pane, delete the following if they exist:

  • PendingXmlIdentifier
  • NextQueueEntryIndex
  • AdvancedInstallersNeedResolving

Restart your computer and try again.

16. Boot in Clean Boot State and run Windows Update and see if this helps. Ater deleting the contents of SoftwareDistribution folder, try it. It works in most cases.

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

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

19. See this if Windows Update Page Is Blank.

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

21. Use the Reset Windows Update Components Tool and see if it helps you.

22. See this post if you receive Windows 10 Update Error Code 0x8024a105 while downloading updates.

23. See this post if Windows 10 Creators Update is not installing.

24. This post will help you if you receive Potential Windows Update Database error detected error message.

25. See this if you receive Windows Update error 0x80070643.

These links may also interest you:

Post ported from WinVistaClub.com, updated and posted here.

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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. 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.

18 Comments

  1. Elton A

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

  2. 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.
    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/511985/windows-update-again-and-again-restore-point-error-while-create/

  3. global

    Hi ganesan

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

    Solution:

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

    contact:1-800-935-0537

    http://www.contact-helpdesk.com/

  4. 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????????????????????????

  5. Derek

    Great, worked for me! Thanks a lot.

  6. 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! =)

  7. 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…

  8. 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

  9. Jesse Levesque

    Windows updates isn’t working at all with fresh installs of Windows 7! The problem isn’t our computers! I haven’t been able to manually get updates to download after a fresh install of Windows 7. It’s happened several times now! When I manually check for updates after installing Windows 7 nothing happens! If I set updates to download and install automatically what happens is updates will download, but they won’t install after the computer re-boots! The computer gets hung-up instead! This is happening on fresh installs of Windows 7 folks. I’m really starting to believe it is intentional as a way of trying to get the masses to update to Windows 10!

  10. David Green

    I don’t think it is just to upgrade to windows 10 which will be fraught with problems of its own….I think it is a conspiracy along with the computer manufacturers to get a lot of us to buy new machines!

  11. Green

    “4. Search on Microsoft,(LINK HERE) for the patch using the Update KB number, and download its stand-alone installer.”
    Is it possible to get the actual link to this and not the generic link which will make your search for the next 2 days? I need to know where the updates are from 2010 and up as well as their stand-along installer.

  12. I am sorry – but you will have to do your work yourself. 🙂

  13. lostviking

    This is BS. Why should I have to jump through hoops to update MS hardware running MS software using an MS updater. FAIL!

  14. Hard Little Machine

    Windows updates are a roll of the dice, at best. Often the best you can hope for is that they don’t make things worse, slower, incompatible or broken.

  15. Beast MC

    I think you assembled all possible solutions. However none of them worked in my case. Windows updates still failing. Do you think I should format my PC ?

  16. Before that use the Reset This PC feature, with the Save personal files option.

  17. Derek G

    Thanks very much for this awesome guidance. Quickly fixed the problem on my laptop. Wishd I’d come across it sooner – would have saved a lot of time and frustration!!

  18. Nick DiLello

    OMG…I have been battling this for 2 days now…your Cryptographic fix worked for me! 🙂

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