Fix: Windows Update Service could not be Stopped

This problem appears when users are unable to stop the Windows Update Service using the Services tool or Command Prompt, in some cases. The reasons for trying to stop the service are numerous and many problems regarding Windows Update can be resolved simply by stopping the service and starting it once again.

Windows Update Service could not be Stopped

This article will feature some modules which may cause this problem to occur as well as some workarounds which can be used to stop the service forcefully. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and the problem should be resolved in no time.

What Causes the Windows Update Service to prevent being Stopped?

The causes of this problem are often unknown and this problem often needs to be circumvented rather than resolved. Nonetheless, when Windows Update service stops misbehaving, new updates are installed and they often resolve the problem. However, here are some common causes:

  • Missing administrator privileges may prevent Windows Update Service from stopping and you should use an elevated Command Prompt in order to stop it.
  • Something is wrong with your computer on a more serious note and you should consider an in-place upgrade or a repair installation.

Solution 1: Stopping wuauserv Process

Command Prompt with administrative permissions can be used to circumvent this problem. The command you will use will end the process recognized by its PID and it should be stopped. Note that you will need to use the Services tool to restart the process once you stop it if you wish to use the Windows Update functionality in the future.

  1. Use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combination by pressing the keys at the same time to open the Task Manager utility.
  2. Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination and select Task Manager from the popup blue screen which will appear with several options. You can also search for it in the Start menu.
Running Task Manager
  1. Click on More details at the bottom left part of the window in order to expand Task Manager. Navigate to the Services tab and right-click somewhere around the names of the columns and check the box next to the PID entry in the context menu.
  2. Locate the Windows Update service by checking the Description column or by looking for the ‘wuauserv’ service under the Name column. Note down its PID number.
Locating the PID of Windows Update Service
  1. Search for “Command Prompt” either right in the Start menu or by tapping the search button right next to it. Right-click on the first result which appears at the top and select the “Run as administrator” option.

 

Running CMD with admin permissions
  1. Users who are using an older version of Windows can use the Windows Logo Key + R key combination in order to bring up the Run dialog box. Type in “cmd” in the box and use the Ctrl + Shift + Enter key combination in order to run Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Copy and paste the command shown below and make sure you click the Enter key on your keyboard.
taskkill /f /pid [PID]
  1. Make sure you replace [PID] with the number you noted down regarding Windows Update Service. If the Command Prompt reports that the service was successfully stopped, your problem is resolved!

Solution 2:  Clearing the Contents of Update Folder

If you want to stop the Windows Update Service because you are either resetting Windows Update components or if you are simply trying to solve a problem regarding the automatic updates, you can follow this set of commands along with deleting the contents of a folder. The method is similar to Solution 1 but the command is different.

  1. Search for “Command Prompt” either right in the Start menu or by tapping the search button right next to it. Right-click on the first result which appears at the top and select the “Run as administrator” option.
  1. Users who are using an older version of Windows can use the Windows Logo Key + R key combination in order to bring up the Run dialog box. Type in “cmd” in the box and use the Ctrl + Shift + Enter key combination in order to run Command Prompt as an administrator.
    Running CMD using Run box
  2. Copy and paste the command shown below and make sure you click the Enter key on your keyboard.
net stop wuauserv
net stop bits
  1. Navigate to the following location on your computer by opening the Windows Explorer and clicking on This PC:
C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
  1. Use the Ctrl+ A key combination to select all files, right-click on one of them and choose Delete from the context menu.
Deleting the contents of SoftwareDistribution folder
  1. If you wish to restart both the BITS and the Windows Update service, run the following set of commands in Command Prompt:
net start wuauserv
net start bits

Solution 3: Perform a Repair Installation

This method might seem desperate as it includes creating a bootable Windows 10 media and actually performing a repair installation but it can help you since you won’t lose any of your personal files. This has helped plenty of users deal with the problem and you should check it out as a last resort, especially if you are trying to get Windows Update to work as this will also install the latest version of Windows.

  1. Download the Media Creation Tool software from Microsoft’s website. Open the downloaded file you just downloaded and accept the terms and conditions.
  2. Select the Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC option from the initial screen.
Choose Create installation media for another PC
  1. The language, architecture, and other settings of the bootable drive will be chosen based on your computer’s settings, but you should uncheck the Use the recommended options for this PC in order to select the correct settings for the PC which has the password attached to it (if you are creating this on a different PC, and you probably are).
  2. Click Next and click on the USB drive or DVD option when prompted to choose between USB or DVD, depending on which device you want to use to store this image on.
Choose between USB or DVD
  1. Click Next and choose the USB or DVD drive from the list which will show the storage media connected to your computer.
  2. Click Next and the Media Creation Tool will proceed to download the files necessary to install create the installation device.

Now that you probably have your recovery media, we can start actually solving the booting issue by starting the recovery drive which you should boot from.

  1. Insert the installation drive you own or which you have just created and boot your computer. The initial screen will differ depending on the operating system you have installed.
  2. Windows Setup should open prompting you to enter the preferred language and time and date settings. Enter them correctly and choose the Repair your computer option at the bottom of the window.
Choose Repair your computer
  1. The Choose an option screen will appear so navigate to Troubleshoot >> Reset this PC. This will let you keep your personal files but it will delete the apps you have installed. Follow the further set of instructions on-screen and wait for the process to finish. Check to see if the BSODs still appear in a loop!

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Windows Update Service could not be Stopped

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