Windows Update not working? Windows Update stuck? Fix it!

It Windows Update won't work, here are the top fixes

Problems with Windows Update in Windows 10 cam be solved by following these steps

A common problem is Windows Update is not working, Windows Updates cannot be found, KB4093112, KB 4093105 or some other update will not install. Is there a solution? Try these top fixes.

What is wrong with Windows Update and why does it fail so often? This is one of the the most common questions Windows users ask and no-one knows. Maybe even Microsoft doesn’t know because sometimes there appears to be no fix at all.

Windows can update perfectly well time after time and then it suddenly stops working. It may not update at all, it might search for updates and never finish searching, it might try to install updates, fail and retry and never stop. It just seems to get stuck at some point.

It gets stuck at different places for different people and probably for different reasons.

Sometimes it is a minor problems that is easily fixed, but occasionally it turns out to be more serious, like Windows Update database errors or corruption.

It has happened to me and once it took two weeks to fix. I didn’t work on it full time, but spent an hour or so on three or four occasions. Eventually it started working again and the latest update installed.

It worked fine for months, maybe a year or more and now it is stuck on an update again. KB4093112 has been trying to install every day for three weeks and now KB4093105 is stuck too.

Windows update fails to work

Here are the things I tried. Sometimes they have worked for me and they might work for you too. It is aimed at Windows 10 users, but some of the tips also work with older versions of Windows.

1 Check for disk errors

The disk can be checked for errors from within Windows, but I prefer the old command prompt version. It seems to find and fix more problems.

Right click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin). Alternatively, expand Windows System on the Start menu, right click Command Prompt and select More, Run as administrator.

Check the disk filing system for errors and repair them by entering: chkdsk c: /f

Check the disk drive for errors in Windows using chkdsk at the command prompt

A message is displayed saying it cannot check the disk right now, but it can be checked next time Windows is started. Press Y to confirm this, type exit and then restart Windows.

2 Check Windows system files

Windows system files may have been deleted or corrupted, so it is recommended that you check they are all present and correct.

Open an admin Command Prompt (as in the previous section), and enter:

sfc /scannow

When it has finished, enter these two commands. They perform more Windows system file checks.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /scanhealth
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

3 Use built in troubleshooters

Troubleshooters that fix problems are built into Windows and they can solve some, but not all problems. Open the Control Panel (it’s on the Start menu) and click Troubleshooting (switch to small icons view if you don’t see it).

Click View all and click Background Intelligent Transfer Service. If the troubleshooter finds a problem, let it fix it, then run it again and again until there is are no problems found.

Then Run Windows Update troubleshooter, click Advanced and then click Run as administrator. If it finds any problems, fix them and then run it again and again until it has fixed everything.

Fix Windows Update and get it working again.

This did not fix all the errors for me, but try it and return to it after completing each of the other tasks. There is more information on Windows troubleshooters here.

3 Download Windows Update Troubleshooter

Although there is a Windows Update troubleshooter in the Control Panel and in Windows 10’s Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot, there is a downloadable stand-alone version of the Windows Update troubleshooter at the Microsoft website. It combines three troubleshooters and where the Control Panel version left unfixed errors, this one fixed them when I tried it.

Windows Update troubleshooter

  1. Go to the website
  2. Select the version of Windows
  3. Download the troubleshooter
  4. Double click it in the Downloads folder to run it
  5. Click Advanced
  6. Click Run as administrator
  7. Click Next to start the troubleshooter checkup

4 Clean up the disk

A problem with Windows Update may be that it has partially downloaded an update and then got stuck. While those downloaded files are on the disk, Windows Update will not work. Clear them with Disk Cleanup.

Go to the Start menu, Windows administrative tools, Disk Clean-up. It takes a few minutes to scan the disk and then the window appears. Click the button, Clean up system files.

It scans the disk again and then presents a longer list of things to clean. Tick every box and clean everything. Some of the items relate to Windows Update and cleaning them helps to reset Windows Update.

Fix Windows Update, clear the disk - use Disk Clean-up to remove unecesseary files.

5 Delete SoftwareDistribution folder

The SoftwareDistribution folder is where Windows stores updates. Deleting it or renaming it clears everything out. If it is missing or empty, Windows will scan for updates and automatically download them again. Getting fresh copies of updates may solve your update problem.

Right click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin). At the command prompt, enter these commands:

net stop wuauserv
net stop bits

rename c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bak
net start wuauserv
net start bits

Restart Windows afterwards.

6 Use Microsoft Update Catalog

Instead of relying on Windows Update to download and install updates, it is possible to download the updates directly from the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

Open Settings > Update & Security and see which update KB… number will not install. Then go to the Microsoft Update Catalog and search for the KB… number.

Microsoft Update Catalog website

Several results are usually listed, so make sure you download the right one. For example, x86 means 32-bit Windows and x64 means 64-bit. Ignore ARM64 and Windows Server.

You want something like 2018-04 Cumulative Update for Windows Server 2016 (1709) for x64-based Systems (KB4093105) or whatever KB number you are looking for.

Sometimes there is a Delta update and a Cumulative update. Try both. The Delta is just what’s new since the last update, whereas the Cumulative update is bigger and combines several previous updates. That’s good if you are missing something.

7 Run those troubleshooters again

Could device drivers be causing a problem? An incompatibility could be an issue. Here’s how to solve Windows problems with Device manager.

Restart the PC and then go to Windows Update and see if it is working. If it isn’t, repeat the whole process. I once did this three times before it worked.


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