How to fix Windows Update if it gets stuck

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How to fix Windows Update if it gets stuck

Some easy steps to take.

Windows Update normally chugs along quite happily in the background, but it will sometimes begin to download available updates and then, seemingly at random, decide to stop working.

If Windows Update gets stuck, you'll first want to check out this list of the most common upgrade and installation error codes. It will give you more information on the specific reasons for Windows to stop in its tracks.

Next, when it comes to solving the issue, there are a number of easy steps you can take.

Be patient

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

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.

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

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.

After you've gone back to an earlier restore point, try installing the updates again as normal.

Delete files in Software Distribution

This trick, thanks to The Windows Club, 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 delving 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 Command Prompt (admin). There are two commands you'll need to type:

net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

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

Next, you'll need to delete the files in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. Go to the appropriate folder, select all of the files and press Delete. If the files are in use (and can't be deleted) you'll need to restart your PC, so turn off the two Windows Update services and then try to delete the files again.

After the folder has been emptied, either restart your computer or manually turn on the Windows Update services. To do this, bring up 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.

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

This article originally appeared at

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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