If you connect your computer to the Internet, you need to keep it up to date. Microsoft regularly releases important security updates, bug fixes, and new feature releases for Windows 10 to improve the overall user experience. If you don’t update Windows, you put your computer (and the data on it) at risk.
In most cases, Windows can handle the update process without user intervention. However, from time to time Windows simply does not install updates, leaving them in limbo. If you want to fix a stuck Windows 10 update, you need to do the following.
Give it time (then force restart)
This may seem like an obvious answer to the problem, but sometimes the simplest solution when a Windows 10 update freezes is to just give it a little extra time. The progress bar may not move, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing is happening.
Windows releases monthly cumulative updates that combine other update releases into a single, easy-to-install download and install. You will also see much larger feature updates released twice a year.
These are major updates to the Windows operating system that include new features and changes to the overall user interface, as well as important bug fixes. These updates can be large and take time to complete.
If your Windows 10 update is stuck for an hour or longer, then force restart. Only do this if your computer is truly unresponsive, as restarting in the middle of an update cycle can break your system, forcing you to reinstall Windows to get everything working again.
Run Windows Update Troubleshooter
While Windows is pretty good at fixing update issues on its own, it can be helpful to refer to Windows’ built-in troubleshooter to help diagnose and fix any issues with your system.
- You can find and run this tool from the Windows Settings menu. To run this, right-click the Windows Start menu and select Settings. From there, click on Update & Security> Troubleshoot to access the troubleshooting tool.
- If Windows has any immediate recommendations for you, including tips to improve the update process, they will be listed in the Recommended Troubleshooting section at the top of the Troubleshoot menu.
- To run the Windows 10 Update Troubleshooter, click Windows Update in the Getting Started section, then click Run the troubleshooter to run the tool.
- The tool will open in a new window and will automatically start checking your PC for problems or issues. If he finds a problem with a stuck update, he will fix it automatically or tell you what to do next. If Windows finds no problems, it will prompt you for feedback or close the tool.
The Windows troubleshooter cannot fix all problems, but if it detects an obvious problem, it will try to fix it. If not, try one of the following steps instead.
Delete Windows Update temporary files
A faulty Windows 10 update can sometimes be fixed by deleting the temporary files that Windows downloads for updates. This might force Windows to download the files again and then try to reinstall.
If Windows 10 update freezes due to broken or damaged files, this should fix the problem.
- To do this, you must first disable some of the Windows services associated with Windows Update. To do this, right-click the Windows Start menu and select Windows PowerShell (Admin). In the PowerShell window that opens, enter net stop wuauserv and net stop bits to disable these services first.
- After disabling these services, enter Remove-Item -path c: Windows SoftwareDistribution. This will delete the folder containing your temporary Windows update files. Enter Y or A to confirm. You can also delete these files manually using Windows Explorer.
- When this process completes, enter net start wuauserv and net start bits to restart Windows Update services.
- Then you can manually check for updates again by right-clicking the Start menu and choosing Settings. From there, click on Windows Update> Check for Updates to access and run Windows Update. If the update previously failed, this should force Windows to download the update again and try to reinstall it.
Update your computer manually from Microsoft Update Catalog
Downloading and manually updating your Windows 10 PC can sometimes fix problems with Windows Update. You can search for new updates on the Microsoft Update Catalog website.
Don’t be confused by the outdated interface, as it contains all the updates released by Windows for the desktop and server operating systems. You need to know the reference code for the update you’re looking for, or you can search for the name of the update (such as Windows 10 cumulative update).
- Find an update. by using the search tool on the Microsoft Update Catalog website. When you find the update you want, click the Download button.
- After downloading, open the archive file containing your update and extract it. Each update must contain an executable installation file – double-click it to run the update.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to update (if necessary). Once the update is complete, return to Windows Update (Windows Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update) and check for additional updates.
If one update is causing the problem, that should allow you to proceed with further updates. However, if multiple updates don’t work, it can take a long time and you might have to consider other options.
Undo a Windows installation using System Restore
A faulty Windows 10 update may not always be fixed, especially if you’re having a problem installing Windows. To work around this issue, you can use Windows System Restore to return Windows to an earlier point in time.
- To access the System Restore Points, press Win + R to open the Run dialog box. From here enter sysdm.cpl SystemProperties and click OK.
- In the System Properties window, click System Restore.
- In the System Restore window, click Next, then select a Windows restore point before the upgrade failed. Click Next to continue.
- Click Finish to confirm. This will return Windows to the previously selected point in time.
After the repair process is complete, you should be able to run Windows Update again. However, if the problem persists, you may have to clean and reinstall Windows to get your system up to date correctly again.
Keep Windows up to date
Without updates, you will be left with bugs, malware infections, and missing features. Windows 10 is a rolling release operating system, meaning it continues to update and evolve to improve the user experience. Windows 10 updates can take forever, but that’s not a reason to turn them off.
If you’re having trouble, you can bypass Microsoft’s own systems entirely by updating Windows without Windows Update using third-party software. However, in most cases, it’s best to leave Windows to do its thing and follow the steps above to fix the most common problems with broken or stuck Windows 10 updates.