How to fix Windows Update in Windows 10 if it becomes stuck

For the most part, Windows updates happen silently in the background, only installing after a prompt or when you shut down your PC. But there are occasions when it needs a helping hand. If your Windows update runs into an error, you aren’t alone. This has been a common issue for the OS since it introduced the ability to update using the internet.

Perhaps it’s downloaded half of the update before deciding it doesn’t want to stay connected to the server. Other times, Windows 10 just fancies doing its own thing for a while, slowing your eagerly awaited update to a crawl.

Ideally, Windows Update is one of those Windows 10 components you’d never see or hear. Generally, if it isn’t restarting your PC in the middle of an incredibly important piece of work, Windows Update tends to whirr away unobtrusively in the background of Windows 10, downloading updates as it when it needs to.

If Windows Update becomes stuck, the first port of call is to check out this list of the most common upgrade and installation error codes, or just scroll to the bottom of this article. If Windows Update has been throwing out error messages, then cross-check the error code contained within against that list – this will likely help you to discover the reasons the updates are failing in the first place.

Users of 2-in-1 PCs built around 2012 through to 2014 may also find themselves running into issues with Windows 10 installations thanks to Windows Update breaking. If this problem affects you, we’ve outlined some help below alongside solutions to the most common Windows Update problems.


How to fix Windows Update: If Creators Update won’t install on your 2-in-1

Windows 10 is *meant* to work with every Windows 7 and 8.1-compatible PC, but owners of some early 2-in-1 PC’s running Windows 8 had discovered that isn’t the case. With Windows 10 Creators Update build 1703, installation on these machines fails.

If your 2-in-1 is affected, you’ll see a message appear saying “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC. Uninstall this app now because it isn’t compatible with Windows 10”.

Ignore that message, it’s lies – for one, there’s no app to uninstall as it’s Windows 10 causing the issue. The downside is, there’s no actual solution to this problem as it’s a hardware compatibility bug in Windows Update that Microsoft needs to solve. While a fix should now be in place, anyone currently encountering this issue will have to just sit tight for a little longer.

How to fix Windows Update: Be patient

Easier said than done a little patience can go a long way.

Sometimes, updates can be large and require a long time to download. If a particular update is stuck at, say, 75% for an hour or two – don’t panic. However, there may be an issue if that figure doesn’t shift overnight.

How to fix Windows Update: Run Windows Update troubleshooter

This will automatically detect problems with your system, which can take a few minutes to complete. Download the troubleshooter here, then click Advanced Settings and you’ll find an “Apply repairs Automatically” option.

Windows update troubleshoot

Run the troubleshooter and it should hopefully clear up the problems causing Windows Update to get stuck.

How to fix Windows Update: Use System Restore

If your computer still isn’t responding when installing updates, you can run a System Restore. This will revert your PC to an earlier point in time.

To access System Restore, simply type System Restore into the search bar and select “Create a restore point”, which will take you to System Protection in the System Properties window. From System Restore you can pick an appropriate point to revert to.

Windows system restore

Once you’ve returned to an earlier restore point, try installing the updates again as normal.

How to fix Windows Update: Delete files in Software Distribution

This trick involves a little more interaction with your computer’s system settings. It shouldn’t cause any damage to your PC – you’ll only really be deleting temporary Windows Update files – but we’d recommend setting up a System Restore point before going any further.

First, you’ll need to stop Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service. Type “win+x” to bring up the WinX menu, and from here select the command prompt (admin). There are two commands you’ll need to type:

net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

Press Enter after you type each one. This will turn off the Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service.

Winx Windows

Next, you’ll need to delete the files in C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution. Go to the appropriate folder, select all of the files, and press Delete. If the files can’t be deleted because they’re in use, you’ll need to restart your PC. Turn off the two Windows Update services and then try to delete the files again.

Windows software distribution

Once the folder has been emptied, either restart your computer or manually turn on the Windows Update services. To do this, bring up the command prompt (admin) and type:

net start wuauserv

net start bits

Now run Windows Update and you’ll find that your PC needs to download a number of updates, which can take up to a few hours, depending on your system and connection.

windows updating

Once the updates have all been installed, Windows will schedule a restart time, although you can always restart there and then.

How to fix Windows Update: Make a quick-fix batch file

Still wishing that Windows Update would just WORK? Then there is one last resort. The following fix is available on numerous forums and websites, and one of our kind readers brought our attention to it. Best of all? It really couldn’t be any simpler.

  1. Open up Notepad and paste the italicized text below.
  2. Save the file as Fix.bat (the .bat bit is crucial) and make sure to save it to the desktop so you can get to it easily.
  3. Right-click the file on your desktop and select Run as Administrator.
  4. Once the file has done its stuff, restart and run Windows Update again.
  5. Rejoice.

@ECHO OFF echo This script is intended to stop Windows Update being COMPLETELY and UTTERLY rubbish echo. PAUSE echo. attrib -h -r -s %windir%system32catroot2 attrib -h -r -s %windir%system32catroot2*.* net stop wuauserv net stop CryptSvc net stop BITS ren %windir%system32catroot2 catroot2.old ren %windir%SoftwareDistribution sold.old ren “%ALLUSERSPROFILE%application dataMicrosoftNetworkdownloader” downloader.old net Start BITS net start CryptSvc net start wuauserv echo. echo Windows Update should now work properly. Thanks Microsoft. echo. PAUSE

Windows 10 update error codes

The full list of codes and advice is found here. The table below summarises the most common errors.

ErrorWhat it means and how to fix it
0x80073712A file needed by Windows Update is damaged or missing.
0x800F0923This error indicates a driver or other software on your PC isn’t compatible with the upgrade to Windows 10. For info about how to fix this problem, contact Microsoft support
0x80200056This could mean the upgrade process was interrupted because you accidentally restarted your PC or signed out of your PC. Try upgrading again and make sure your PC is plugged in and stays turned on.
This error might mean your PC couldn’t connect to the Windows Update servers. If you’re using a VPN connection to connect to a work network, disconnect from the network and turn off the VPN software and try upgrading again.
The error could also mean there isn’t enough free space in the System Reserved partition. Fix this problem by using third-party software to increase the size of the System Reserved partition.
Error: We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer.
Error: Failure configuring Windows Updates. Reverting changes.
These are generic errors that might appear any time a Windows update fails. Find the error code for the failed update by viewing your update history. Look for the update that wasn’t installed, write down the error code, and contact Microsoft support.
Error: The update isn’t applicable to your computer.This error might mean that your PC doesn’t have the required updates installed.
0xC1900208 – 0x4000CThis could be that an incompatible app installed on your PC is blocking the upgrade process from completing.
0xC1900200 – 0x20008
0xC1900202 – 0x20008
This may signify your PC doesn’t meet the minimum requirements to download or install the upgrade to Windows 10.
0x80070070 – 0x50011
0x80070070 – 0x50012
0x80070070 – 0x60000
This likely indicates your PC doesn’t have enough space available to install the upgrade. Free some space on the drive and try again.

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