Fix: Windows 10 Won’t Install or Download Updates

Microsoft releases tons of cumulative updates for Windows 10 and 11 every month. Usually, the updates are downloaded and installed directly via Windows update, but sometimes, you may get stuck with different errors that occur while updating. If there are uncountable Windows Update errors, there are also some solutions that have been approved by the affected users that we mentioned below.

Windows 10 Won’t Install or Download Updates
Windows 10 Won’t Install or Download Updates

Before moving out to the solutions, we want you to know why Windows updates error occurs. One of the following causes might be the culprit of your error.

  • Incorrect or corrupted Registry- If a corrupted or incorrect modified value is set to wuauserv, you will experience errors while updating Windows, as it is responsible for downloading, detecting, and installing Windows updates.
  • Windows Update Service is not working- Another leading cause that can prevent the installation is the stopped Windows updates service. If it gets disabled or stopped, you may not be able to update Windows.
  • Corrupted Software Distribution Folder- if the content under the software distribution folder gets corrupted, the errors will appear as the folder stores the temporary updates files for the Windows to install updates.
  • Corrupt System Files- The corrupted system files are also one of the main reasons, as they play an important role in updating Windows. Therefore, make sure you do not have any corrupted system files. If there is, you can follow the below step to repair the files.

1. Restart Windows Update Service

Before going further, you should restart the Windows Update service, as it is responsible for updating the Windows when updates are available or downloaded. Therefore, make sure to check if it is running properly. Below are the steps:-

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run Window
  2. Type services.msc and click OK

    Opening Services Window
    Opening Services Window
  3. Type W on the keyboard to scroll down to Windows update service
  4. Right the Windows Update Service and click Properties

    Navigating to Service Properties
    Navigating to Service Properties
  5. Select Automatic from the startup type menu
  6. Click Apply, then click Start if the service gets stopped
    Restarting Windows Update Service
    Restarting Windows Update Service
  7. Then click OK and check if the error gets resolved.

2. Reset Windows Update Registry Keys

There may likely be a chance of corrupted or irrelevant modified registry keys. Therefore, you need to reset the Windows update registry keys to reset all the values to their default.

  1. Download the registry file from here to reset the Windows update registry values
  2. Right-click on it, then click Run

    Running Windows Registry File
    Running Windows Registry File
  3. Click Yes if asked for the confirmation
  4. Once done, check if the error is fixed.

3. Turn OFF Metered Connection

Metered Connection feature is for those who have a network with a data limit or who want to prevent background downloads. So if the metered connection is turned on, you may not be able to download Windows updates unless you disable the metered connection. Below are the steps:-

  1. Right-click Start Menu and select Settings
  2. Go to Network & Internet and select the Ethernet or WIFI from the left pane
    Navigating to Network Properties
    Navigating to Network Properties
  3. Scroll down a little bit and turn off the Metered Connection if enabled
    Turning Off Metered Connection
    Turning Off Metered Connection
  4. Once done, check if the issue persists.

4. Clear And Rename Software Distribution Folder

The software Distribution folder contains Windows updates files that Windows requires to install updates. If the content under software distribution gets corrupted, you won’t be able to install Windows updates.

Renaming the software distribution helps to fix issues that occur while updating. First, you will need to stop the Windows update services to rename or clear the software distribution folder. Below are the steps:-

  1. Click Start Menu and type command prompt
  2. Right-click the terminal and Choose Run As Administrator
  3. Now copy the following commands and paste them onto the terminal
    net stop wuauserv
    net stop bits
    Stopping Windows Update Services
    Stopping Windows Update Services
  4. Hit Enter, then minimize the terminal
  5. Press the Windows + R and paste the following directory into the box
    C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
    Navigating Software Distribution Folder
    Navigating Software Distribution Folder
  6. Hit enter to navigate, then delete all the files
    Deleting Software Distribution Files
    Deleting Software Distribution Files
  7. Once done, maximize the terminal and paste the following commands over there
    rename c:windowsSoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bak
  8. Now start the services by pasting the below commands
    net start wuauserv
    net start bits
  9. Once done, try updating Windows and check if the error is fixed.

5. Clear Temporary Files

Getting errors while updating Windows can be the result of the lack of space in the drive. Usually, Windows requires a decent amount of storage to install Windows updates on a drive. Therefore, if you don’t have space in the drive, either create a new disk and transfer all the data as a backup, then delete the volume from the disk once you transfer data, then extend the volume of a disk where the Windows is installed, or you can also delete some data from the drive to make space for the upcoming updates. Follow the steps:-

  1. Open the File Explorer by pressing Win + E on the keyboard
  2. Click This PC from left and right-click the drive where Windows has installed
  3. Go to Properties, then click Disk Cleanup

    Click Disk Cleanup
    Click Disk Cleanup
  4. Tick all the files and under files to delete
    Removing Temporary Files
    Removing Temporary Files
  5. Then, click OK and click Delete Files
  6. Once done, check if the error gets fixed.

6. Perform a DISM and SFC Commands

DISM stands for Deployment Image Servicing and Management, a command line utility executes to repair Windows images. While SFC stands for System File Checker, a command link utility allows the users to repair system files. If the error occurs due to corrupted files, these commands can resolve this issue. Below are the steps:-

  1. Press the Windows key and type the command prompt
  2. Open it as administrator, then paste the following commands
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    sfc /scannow
    Repairing System Files
    Repairing System Files
  3. Once the verification is done, close the terminal and check if the error persists.

7. Download Windows Updates Via Update Assistant

Update assistant can be used to upgrade Windows to the latest. If the error is not fixed after applying all the methods, updating Windows via Update assistant might help:-

  1. Download the Windows Update Assistant and run it
  2. Click on Update Now and wait for updates to download
    Upgrading Windows
    Upgrading Windows
  3. Once it finishes, it will automatically upgrade your Windows OS.

8. Download Windows Updates Via Microsoft Catalog

You can also use the Microsoft catalog website to download Windows updates if you know the Windows update name. You will find every update that Microsoft has released yet on the catalog. Follow the steps:-

  1. Visit Microsoft Catalog and search for the update by its name
  2. Now click the Download button on the update
    Click to Download the Windows update
    Click to Download the Windows update
  3. This will give you the download link, click on it and download it
  4. Once done, run the update file to upgrade your Windows.
Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.
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Expert Tip

Fix: Windows 10 Won’t Install or Download Updates

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