Windows launch updates to its existing operating system for security improvements, bug fixes and an overall improvement in the interface. These updates roll out after a specific set of time and are available for the user to download and install. However, there are several cases when the update fails to install and returns an error. The exact cause of this issue is not known as each update is different as it targets different issues. We have compiled different solutions authenticated by the end-users themselves; take a look.
Solution 1: Running Windows Update Troubleshooter
Microsoft has developed an application named as Windows Update Troubleshooter. It analyzes your system particularly the windows update module and troubleshoots problems. Make sure that the troubleshooting process complete. This application checks and scans all your system files so some time might be consumed.
- Download the Windows Update Troubleshooter from the official Microsoft website.
- Go to the folder where you downloaded it and open the file.
- Once the troubleshooting has started, select the option of Windows Update and click on Next.
- After you click Next, Windows will start analyzing your machine. All your system files would be scanned along with your registry values. This might consume some time so be patient.
- If there is a newer version of the troubleshooter available, Windows will prompt that a newer edition would be more suitable for the troubleshooting. Click on the option of “Run the Windows 10 Windows Update Troubleshooter” if you are prompted.
- Click on Next if the following screen appears.
- After the troubleshooter has analyzed your computer and registry values, it might prompt that either there are windows updates pending, the solution was fixed or the solution was not fixed. If you are prompted with a fix, click on “Apply this Fix”.
- Now Windows will apply the fix and inform you of completion. Restart your computer for the changes to take place and check if the error message goes away.
You can also run the Windows Update Troubleshooter from your computer.
- Press Windows + S to launch the start menu’s search bar. Type “troubleshoot” in the dialogue box and click on the first result which comes forth.
- Once in the troubleshoot menu, select “Windows Update” and click the button “Run the troubleshooter”.
- You might be prompted that the troubleshooter requires administrator access to check for problems with your system. Click the option “Try troubleshooting as an administrator”.
- After the fixes are implemented, restart your computer and check if the problem got fixed.
Note: This solution requires an active internet connection for optimum results. Also, try to run the troubleshooter a number of times instead of trying only once.
Solution 2: Running some Commands
We can try running some commands to reset some modules and bring them into the proper configuration. Do note that you require an administrator account to perform all these operations.
- Press Windows + S to launch the search bar of your start menu. Type command prompt, right-click on the first result which comes forth and select “Run as administrator”.
- Once in the command prompt, execute the following commands one by one and make sure that each command is executed before following up with the next.
net stop bits net stop wuauserv net stop appidsvc net stop cryptsvc ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old net start bits net start wuauserv net start appidsvc net start cryptSvc
- Exit the command prompt and restart your computer. Now check if the update can be installed again.
Solution 3: Disabling your Antivirus
Antivirus software tends to monitor your computer including system files to ensure that there are no potential threats to your computer. It is possible that your antivirus software is conflicting with Windows Update and is causing the failure. You can try disabling your antivirus temporarily and try updating again. If the problem still persists, make sure that you have an active internet connection and your antivirus is completely turned off. You can always revert back the changes if this doesn’t work.
Solution 4: Updating Time, Region and Language Settings
Another unusual solution that seemed to work was updating the time and language settings for your account. As we all know, Windows syncs your time according to the time zones automatically. If you have an incorrect time zone, it is likely to cause bizarre problems such as failure to install your update.
- Press Windows + S to launch the search bar. Type “settings” in the dialogue box and open the result.
- Check if your date and time are set correctly. If not, uncheck the options which say “set time automatically” and “set timezone automatically”.
- Click “Change” underneath Change date and time. Set your time accordingly and also select your appropriate time zone. Also, disable “Auto-sync time”.
- Once done, press Windows + S again and type “language” in the dialogue box. Open the first result which comes forth.
- Once in the language settings, try using English United Kingdom/US.
- While in the settings window, click on “Additional time, date & regional settings”.
- You will be redirected to another window consisting of same settings. Click them one by one and check if the settings match and are the same as you set.
- Once the changes are done, close all windows and restart your computer. Now check if the problem still persists.
Solution 5: Disconnecting Internet before Updating
Another fix which worked for many users was to disconnect the internet before updating their operating system to the latest update. It seems that there is a bug that gets bypassed when we cut the communication with the internet of the application.
- Click on the network icon present at the bottom right side of the screen.
- If you are connected to a WiFi, it will be a WiFi icon or if you are connected to an Ethernet connection, you will a different icon. If you are connected to WiFi, just click on “Airplane mode” once and your internet will be disabled. In case of Ethernet, disconnecting the cable from your computer is the most effective solutions.
- Now start the update. Hopefully, it will proceed without any interruptions.
Solution 6: Connecting to Router Using Ethernet and Installing through Microsoft Website in Clean Boot
Another solution was to connect to your router directly by plugging in an Ethernet cable and installing the Windows update using the Microsoft Website instead of the normal client present on your computer. As we saw in the previous solution, there seems to a bug of some sort related to the internet access between the client and the servers. By bypassing the client altogether, the problem might be solved.
- Connect your computer to your router using the Ethernet wire. Now we will enter your computer into Clean Boot State.
- Press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “msconfig” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Navigate to the Services tab present at the top of the screen. Check the line which says “Hide all Microsoft services”. Once you click this, all Microsoft related services will be disabled leaving behind all the third-party services.
- Now click the “Disable all” button present at the near bottom at the left side of the window. All the third-party services will now be disabled.
- Click Apply to save changes and exit.
- Now navigate to the Startup tab and click the option of “Open Task Manager”. You will be redirected to the task manager where all the applications/services which run when your computer starts will be listed.
- Select each service one by one and click “Disable” at the bottom right side of the window.
- Now restart your computer and once booted into clean boot state, open your web browser and navigate here
- Here you will see an “Update Now” button present at the top of the screen. Click it to download follow the on-screen instructions for the update assistant to be installed. After the update assistant is installed, your Windows will start to update. This might take a couple of hours; be patient and let the process finish.
Note: Do note that this update option on Microsoft’s website might disappear after a while if they decide to change it or if there is another update available.
Solution 7: Uninstalling your WiFi Drivers
Another workaround that worked for many cases was uninstalling your WiFi drivers and installing the Windows Update (you would have to download the Windows update first and only uninstall the drivers before proceeding with the installation). Upon restart, Windows will automatically detect your WiFi hardware and install the stock drivers automatically. You can always update your WiFi drivers to the latest build manually too by using the device manager.
- Press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Once in the device manager, expand the section of “Network Adapters”.
- Locate your WiFi drivers from all those listed. Right-click on it and select uninstall.
- After uninstalling, try installing the update and check if the problem got fixed.
Solution 8: Installing Windows using .iso File
You can also install the latest version of Windows by downloading the iso file from a website and transferring it to media so your computer can boot and install directly. Do note that this method is targeted at advanced users who know how to install a new copy of Windows from an installation media. Just in case, keep all your data backed up safely before you proceed with this solution.
Note: Appuals has no affiliations with any websites mentioned. They are stated purely for the user. Visit and use them at your own risk.
- Head over to the Windows iso download website and download the latest iso file available consisting of Windows 10 1709 Creators Update.
- After downloading the iso file, create a bootable media. You can refer to our tutorial on how to create windows bootable DVD or USB.
Note: The software mentioned in this tutorial is valid for all versions of Windows.
- Next, insert the media into your computer and follow this guide on how to install a clean version of windows on your PC.
You can also check the more detailed guide starting from the basics on how to install Windows 10.
Note Backup all your data before proceeding with the installation. It’s better to be on the safe side.
Solution 9: Disabling Internet Information Services
IIS is an extensible web server created by Microsoft for use with the Windows NT family. It supports almost all the internet protocols and is mostly not active by default. We can try disabling this service and check if this brings any improvement to our situation.
- Press Windows + S to launch the search bar. Type “Windows features” in the dialogue box and open the first result which comes forth.
- Once the new window is opened, navigate through the list until you find the entry “Internet Information Services”. Make sure that is unchecked.
- Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect and check if the update is successful.
Solution 10: Restarting your Computer Multiple Times
Another bizarre solution that worked for many users was restarting the computer when the error occurred. Then the update was continued by disconnecting your internet connection to make sure that there was no internet correspondence between the update client and the servers. This is more of a hit and trial but it still worth mentioning as it worked for many users.
Solution 11: Running chkdsk
We can try checking if your computer has any discrepancies or corrupt sectors. It is possible that there are irregularities or incorrect configuration which is causing the computer not to update. Therefore, we will be running the chkdsk scan to fix it.
- Click on the Windows search bar present at the left side of your screen and type “Command Prompt”. Right-click on the application which returns the result and select the “Run as administrator” option.
- Once in the command prompt, execute the following command:
CHKDSK E: /r
Here “E” is the name of the disk which is following the “/f” command. If you have more than one drive, you should replace the name accordingly. You can easily check the name of the drive by opening My PC.
- This process might take some time as your entire disk is being checked for errors. When the scan is complete, execute the following command:
CHKDSK E: /f
- Again, the process might take some time. Be patient and let the process complete.
- After the process is done, execute the following command to check if there are any discrepancies in your system.
- If Windows detects any discrepancies, it will inform you accordingly. If it does, execute the following command:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- After all the processes are complete, restart your computer and check if the problem got solved.
Note: If you prompted by the message “Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts (Y/N)”. Press “Y”. Then restart your computer. Upon the restart, your computer will scan the drive and proceed with the process. Also, note that some sectors (if found bad) will be erased so some of your data might be lost.
Solution 12: Restarting Update Service after deleting downloaded content
We will disable the Windows update service momentarily so we can delete the content already downloaded by the Update Manager. After we restart the service, Windows will check which files are already downloaded. If it finds none, it will start the download from scratch. Most of the time, this solves the problem.
Disabling Update Service
- Press Windows + R to bring up the Run application. In the dialogue box, type “services.msc”. This will bring up all the services running on your computer.
- Browse through the list until you find a service named “Windows Update Service”. Right-click on the service and select Properties.
- Click on Stop present under the sub-heading of Service Status. Now your Windows Update service is stopped and we can proceed.
Deleting downloaded files
Now we will navigate to Windows Update directory and delete all the updated files already present. Open your file explorer or My Computer and follow the steps.
- Navigate to the address written below. You can also launch the Run application and copy paste the address to reach directly.
- Delete everything inside the Software Distribution folder (you can also cut paste them to another location in case you want to place them back again).
Turning Update Service back on
Now we have to turn the Windows Update service back on and launch it again. Initially, the Update Manager might take a few minutes to compute details and prepare a manifest for the download.
- Open the Services tab as we did earlier in the guide. Navigate to Windows Update and open its Properties.
- Now Start the service again and launch your update manager.
Now try updating once again and check if the problem gets solved.
Solution 13: Clearing Recent Items List
In certain cases, Windows might be trying to make some changes to the recent items list in the directory and it might be failing due to which this update issue is being triggered. Therefore, in this step, we will be clearing the recent items list. For that:
- Press “Windows” + “I” to open the settings.
- Click on “Personalization” and then select “Start”.
- Click on the “Show Recently Opened Items” toggle to turn it off.
- Click on the toggle again to turn this feature back on but this time, all the recent items will be cleared.
- Check to see if the issue still persists.
Solution 14: Network Encryption
If you have network encryption enabled on your internet connection, it is most likely causing this issue because it might be preventing the Windows Files from being downloaded thus resulting in this failure. Symantec Encryption is in particular known to cause this issue and they even released a script here that apparently fixes it. Make sure to give the script a go and if it still persists, either disable it temporarily or contact their support.