Windows 10 troubleshooting: How to fix the most common problems. How to fix microsoft update problems

Many updates require a device restart. Save your work and close all open applications. Then select Start> Power and select Update & Restart or Update & Shut Down .

Troubleshoot problems updating Windows

With Windows 11, you decide when and how to get the latest updates to keep your device running smoothly and securely. This article will help you answer questions and troubleshoot common Windows 11 update problems.

If you’re looking for information on how to activate Windows 11 or check if your installation of Windows 11 is activated, see Activating Windows.

Have issues installing Windows updates? Start here.

Your device may not be able to update to the latest version of Windows 11 for several reasons. The following tips can help you determine the problem that is affecting your device.

Before you start, make sure your device is connected to a power source and connected to the internet. Then try the steps below to update your computer.

Some updates require administrator access. If your account doesn’t have administrator access, see Create a local user or administrator account in Windows. Or, if someone else in your home or office has an administrator account on your device, ask them to install the update.

Before trying any of the solutions below, make sure you have backed up your personal files. You can use File History to back up your files to another drive or insert a USB drive and use File Explorer to drag and copy important files to the USB drive. If you sign in to Windows with a Microsoft account, your system settings will be automatically restored after updating when you connect to the Internet.

You can also back up files using OneDrive. For more information, go to Back up your Documents, Pictures, and Desktop folders with OneDrive.

Make sure your device has enough space. Your device requires at least 16 GB of free space to upgrade a 32-bit operating system or 20 GB to a 64-bit operating system. If your device has a small hard drive, you may need to insert a USB drive to update it.

If your computer is running out of space for data, try the techniques in Free up disk space in Windows.

Many updates require a device restart. Save your work and close all open applications. Then select Start> Power and select Update & Restart or Update & Shut Down.

Even if you have downloaded some updates, there may be more of them. After completing the steps above, restart Windows Update by selecting Start> Settings> Windows Update> Check for Updates. Download and install new updates.

Remove any external storage devices and drives, docking stations, and other hardware attached to the device that is not needed for basic functions. Then try running the updates again and see if that fixes the problem. If not, continue to the next tip.

If hardware has been added to your device, check the hardware manufacturer’s website for third-party driver updates and installation instructions. Update all drivers, then try running updates again and see if that fixes the problem. If not, continue to the next tip.

In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, and then select Device Manager from the list of results.

In the window that appears, look for any device with a yellow exclamation mark next to it. (You may have to select each category to view the device list.) Select the device name.

Select Action, and then select Update Driver or Uninstall to correct the errors.

Before you look at rolling back and fixing corrupted Windows 10 updates, you need to check which version of Windows you are using, which will confirm which issues are affecting you. To do this, just go to “Settings -> Update & Security -> View Update History.”

Issues updating to the latest version of Windows 10

Major feature updates from Microsoft come twice a year, and the latest is the May 2021 update, which included changes such as multi-camera support for Windows Hello and Windows Defender Application Guard improvements. (The launch of Windows 11 replaced the second major update this year.) Normally, however, you should receive a notification when an update is rolled out to your device. (Here’s why you can still wait for a Windows 11 notification.) Or, go to Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update and click Check for Updates. If possible, you’ll see a feature update to Windows 10 version 21H1. Click Download and Install.

If you encounter a problem or error while updating, you can try the following solutions, according to Microsoft:

  • Make sure your device is connected to the internet (you will need an internet connection to update).
  • Try to install the update manually by following the instructions above.
  • Run the Windows Update troubleshooter: Select Start> Settings> Update & Security> Troubleshoot. In the Start and Run section, select Windows Update.

If the troubleshooter does not fix the problem, see Microsoft’s update troubleshooting guide.

Stay up-to-date with the latest Microsoft news and Windows PC reviews and tips.

Not enough storage space to complete an update


Windows 10 Upgrade requires storage space, so you may need to free up some.

Windows 10 updates may require a large amount of disk space. If you run into an error due to insufficient disk space, here’s what Microsoft suggests:

  • Save unnecessary files on your computer to an external hard drive or pen drive, or to a cloud account such as Google Drive or OneDrive.
  • Consider enabling Storage Sense, which allows Windows to automatically free up space by deleting unnecessary files such as temporary files and items in the Recycle Bin when there is little disk space or at certain intervals. To turn on Storage Sense, go to Start> Settings> System> Storage, open Storage Settings, and turn on Storage Sense. Select Configure or run it now.
  • If your device doesn’t have Storage Sense, you can use Disk Cleanup to remove temporary and system files. In the search box of the taskbar, type disk cleaning and select it from the results. Check the boxes next to the types of files you want to delete – Downloaded program files, Temporary Internet files, and Thumbnails are selected by default.

In the window that appears, look for any device with a yellow exclamation mark next to it. (You may have to select each category to view the device list.) Select the device name.

Windows Update Troubleshooter

This is a very simple step, but it’s worth taking the first step. Windows has a built-in troubleshooter that will try to detect and automatically fix any problems with Windows Update. It’s not always particularly useful, and will sometimes say it’s fixed when it didn’t, but it’s worth a try.

To access it, open this diagnostic file from Microsoft. Alternatively, search the system for troubleshooting and select the appropriate result. The Control Panel window will open. Under System and Security, select Fix Windows Update problems. A new window will open.

Click the Advanced link. Then click Run as administrator as this may help you find more problems. Now click Next. After that, it will start detecting problems and repairing them automatically. If he finds any, he will replace them and whether he was able to solve them or not. You can view the details here to find out more.

When finished, click Close to finish the troubleshooter. You can now try running Windows Update again – ideally after restarting your computer – and see if that really fixed the problems. If it doesn’t, don’t worry — then try the free Microsoft SetupDiag to fix Windows update errors.

Clear Updates Download Folder

If your download is stuck while downloading or refusing to install, something may have gone wrong with the file itself. Clearing the folder where all update files are stored will force Windows Update to download again, which may help you fix any problems.

First, press Windows Key + R to open Run. Enter C: \ Windows \ SoftwareDistribution \ Download and click OK to run to the folder. Now you need to delete everything in the folder but don’t delete the folder itself. To do this, press CTRL + A to select all, then press Delete to delete the files.

If you find that some files refuse to delete, try repeating the above process in safe mode. If you need help, check out our guide to booting into Windows 10 Safe Mode.

After all the files in the Download folder are gone, restart your computer and run Windows Update. It’s worth noting that this troubleshooting step has fixed the problem in the past, but when you first started Windows Update, you got an error stating that the download could not be completed. Then I rebooted and tried again, this time with a successful update.

Error messages for failed updates are rarely helpful, which means it may be difficult to find a specific solution. We’ve gathered together tips that should solve the most common problems with Windows Update.

#4: Identify Windows 10 Update Error Codes and Fix The Reported Issues

If none of the above options fixed your Windows Update problem, it’s time to decode the codes to discover the cause of the failure – hopefully! Most update problems return an error code that specifies why the update failed. The table below lists the most common Windows 10 Update error codes and possible solutions to fix them.

Scenario # 1: The computer was unable to connect to Windows Update servers. Disable the VPN (if applicable) and try reinstalling. Otherwise, try updating again when your internet connection is stable and reliable.

Scenario 2: There is no free space on the System Reserved partition. Increase the size of the partition and try updating Windows again.

Computer failed to update due to uncategorized or unknown problems. Any reasons not listed in the specific error categories will result in one of these general error messages. Review your update history for the failed update and the specific error code that caused the problem. Fix the problem and then try to update again.

#6: Use the Windows 10 Recovery Tool

If your Windows 10 device still doesn’t update or keeps freezing during the update, it’s a good idea to run the Windows 10 Recovery Tool and repair the disk or restore a previous restore point. If your device is not responding, you need to download it with another one.

  1. If you haven’t already, start by downloading the Windows Media Creation Tool, which is also used to restore / repair your existing Windows operating system.
  2. Then connect the USB with the recovery tool.
  3. Now reboot the device, then click “F8”, “F10”, “F12” or “Del” to enter BIOS / UEFI, it depends on the manufacturer.
  4. Then look for “Boot” or “Boot Order” and click on it. Some BIOSes store it in “System.”
  5. Then change the boot order so that Windows Media Creation Tool starts first, usually you can just use the arrow keys to change the boot order.
  6. After loading the tool, select your language / preferences and click “Next.”
  7. Now select “Repair Your Computer” from the options.
  8. Then start by trying to repair the disk with the sfc command, type “sfc / scannow” without the quotes, and hit Enter at the command prompt.
  9. If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to use a previous restore point and roll back to it. Windows creates them by default when downloading new programs, so you should have a few to choose from

This means that you can now also disable Windows Update in the same window. Right-click “Windows Update”, click Properties, and then select “Disabled” under “Startup Type”. Windows Update should now remain disabled until it is re-enabled.

How to fix Windows Update repairing corrupted system files

To repair system files by using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) tools to troubleshoot Windows Update issues, follow these steps:

Open Start.

Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result and select Run as administrator.

Type the following DISM command to repair corrupted system files and hit Enter:

Type the following SFC command to repair system files and hit Enter:

After you complete these steps, Windows Update components should start working again and you can check for updates again for verification.

How to reset Windows Update using Command Prompt

To manually reset the Windows Update service using the command line in Windows 10, follow these steps:

Open Start.

Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result and select Run as administrator.

Type the following commands to stop the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), Windows Update, and Cryptographic Service, and then press Enter on each line:

Stop Windows Update services

Stop Windows Update services

Quick tip: You may need to run the command more than once until you see the message that the service has stopped successfully.

Type the following command to remove all qmgr * .dat files created by the BITS service from your computer and press Enter:

Enter Y to confirm deletion.

Type the following commands to clear the Windows Update cache to allow Windows 10 to download the update again, rather than using files already downloaded on the system that may be corrupted, and hit Enter on each line:

Quick tip: We use the remove rmdir directory command with the / S option to remove the specified directory and all subdirectories under the root directory, and the / Q option removes directories silently without confirmation. If you receive the message “The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process,” repeat step # 1 and try again because one of the services may have restarted unexpectedly.

Type the following commands to reset BITS and Windows Update to their default security descriptor, then press Enter on each line:

Type the following command to go to the System32 folder and hit Enter:

Type the following commands to register all the relevant BITS and Windows Update DLL files in the Registry and hit Enter on each line:

Quick Note: regsvr32 helps register “.DLL” files as command components in the Registry, and we use the / S option to specify a utility to silently run the command without prompting for additional messages.

Type the following commands to reset any network configurations that may be part of the problem (but don’t restart your computer yet) and press Enter on each line:

Type the following commands to restart the BITS, Windows Update, and Cryptographic services and press Enter on each line:

Restart the computer.

After following these steps, Windows Update should reset and should work again on your Windows 10 device.

You can also use the instructions above to troubleshoot update issues when Surface Pro 8, Pro 7, Laptop 4, Studio, or any other Surface is unable to download the new firmware update.

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You may also need to update your mouse or touchpad driver. Go to Device Manager and check if there are any warnings next to the mouse names. If so, you will be able to fix them there.

Check the state of the installation

Irritated man using a laptop

There are two critical points where Windows Update can get stuck: during download and during installation. The main part of the installation process takes place during computer shutdown, which is when most people encounter this problem. If an update is stuck in the download phase with no progress for several hours, please see the possible fixes below. Start by restarting your computer, and if that doesn’t work, skip to our simple fixes in the next section.

If you’ve successfully downloaded the hotfix and Windows is currently applying it, you’ll see a quick update to the installation status. You may see a message about Windows setup, installing an update, or just a request to leave your computer turned on. If this is a step you are currently taking and is taking a long time, be patient. Microsoft advises (see URL in fourth paragraph) that on slower computers and slow connections, Windows may take more than two hours to fully apply changes – especially during major updates.

In such a situation, it’s best to just wait. Check what progress has been made after 20 or 30 minutes. Most of the steps in Windows Update will show a percentage counter which tells you how far in the installation process you are currently. If there have been no changes in a long time, it is likely that the update is indeed stuck.

How to fix a stuck Windows Update download

Laptop with Windows operating system

There may be times when you notice that your computer slows down for no reason. This can affect your internet connection: pages will load slower, any streams will be stuck or fail completely. It can also impact the performance of the computer itself, where files load slower, frame rates in games drop drastically, and everything stops running smoothly. While there can be many reasons for slower performance, Windows Update can often be the culprit. If the download doesn’t complete in a few minutes, it’s likely stuck. Repair is quick and easy.

To fix Windows Update stuck download, follow this four-step process. First, restart your computer. The update will likely try to reinstall shortly after rebooting, and this time it may succeed. If that did not help, close all other background programs to free up resources while Windows Update is running. Also, check your internet connection to make sure it is stable and not throttled. Finally, temporarily pause the download and come back to it later.

If none of these steps worked, you can try restarting the download using the Windows Troubleshooting section in the Control Panel. Just click the Windows icon in the lower left corner of the screen and type “Troubleshooting”. Windows will then guide you through steps that may help you download the update.

If you find that some files refuse to delete, try repeating the above process in safe mode. If you need help, check out our guide to booting into Windows 10 Safe Mode.

Completely Block Windows Updates

If you want to block Windows Updates completely until you see fit, you must first disable Windows Update Medic, which automatically re-enables the main Windows Update service.

You have to turn it off using Registry Editor. Click start, type regedit and open Registry Editor.

In the registry editor go to:

Latest problems with Windows Update Regedit 1

Here, right click on “Start -> Modify” and then change “Value data” to “4”. Restart your computer, then go to the Services window and you should see “Windows Update Medic Service” is “Disabled’.

This means that you can now also disable Windows Update in the same window. Right-click “Windows Update”, click Properties, and then select “Disabled” under “Startup Type”. Windows Update should now remain disabled until it is re-enabled.

The latest services related to Windows Update 1 problems

Few things on a PC are more frustrating than updating – supposedly to improve performance – messing up your system, but unfortunately Microsoft has the form of it in this regard. Other teething problems in Windows 10 include a broken Start menu search, a broken Windows Store, and a malfunctioning microphone. We can help you with this too!

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Make Tech Easy’s content manager. He enjoys Android, Windows and DIY with retro console emulation to a breakthrough point.

One comment

Why is every Windows update immediately followed by tons of “Latest Windows 10 update problems and how to fix them?

The only way to permanently fix Windows Update problems is to change the operating system that you are using. No other operating system has problems updating, and if so, problems are few and far between. Problems are not as common as with Windows.

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