What to Do When Windows Update Keeps Failing on Windows 10

Windows 10 is one of the latest operating systems released with millions of users over the globe. However, despite its popularity, there are plenty of issues that you can run into on a daily basis when using the system. One of these errors is the Windows Update feature failing over and over, making you unable to update Windows 10

There are many possible causes of errors like this. If you’re dealing with the Windows Update keeps failing on Windows 10, our article is the perfect place to start troubleshooting.

windows  update failing error
Keeping your operating system up to date is extremely important. Microsoft rolls out new updates for Windows 10 to fix issues, roll out new features, or further optimize performance. These updates can patch up crucial security holes and reduce the risk of exploits, or make your computer run better and smoother.

Many users run into error messages related to the Windows Update failing. These include error pop-ups such as “Windows Update failed to install” or “Install failed.” Some reports say there is no error message, but the update process is stuck and doesn’t proceed even after a long time.

What causes the Windows Update failing error?

When it comes to issues such as the Windows Update failing over and over, many possible things can produce the error. We compiled a list of the most common causes based on user reports.

  • Corrupt or missing system files. System files are crucial to make sure everything works on your device. There’s a possibility that your system files were corrupted or deleted recently, which causes Windows Update to fail.
  • Outdated drivers. Drivers are needed to handle components that don’t natively come with Windows 10 compatibility such as graphic cards, network cards, and so on. If a driver related to this issue hasn’t been updated in a while, it can cause issues with Windows Update.
  • An issue with the Windows Update service. There’s a possibility that something is wrong with your update service itself. If this is the case, you can find alternative ways to download the latest Windows 10 update below.

Keep in mind — the list above doesn’t contain all possible causes. You might be experiencing the error due to a unique issue on your computer. However, our methods below will surely help you fix this error with ease, no matter what caused it in the first place.

If you can’t update Windows 10 because of update errors, don’t panic. Such errors can be easily fixed by following our detailed guides below.

Note: You will be required to use an administrator account to be able to perform all of the steps described below. Don’t have access to an administrator account? Watch GlobalIT Resolution’s video titled “How to Create a New Administrator User Account in Windows 10.”

Methods to fix Windows Update failing errors

  1. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter tool
  2. Restart Windows Update related services
  3. Run the System File Checker (SFC) scan
  4. Execute the DISM command
  5. Temporarily disable your antivirus
  6. Restore Windows 10 from a backup

Method 1: Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter tool

Microsoft themselves have issued a designated tool to help fix issues with Windows 10’s updates. This tool is free and available for download to anyone, even without a Microsoft Account. All you have to do is simply run the tool and see if it’s able to identify and fix any errors.

  1. Download the Windows Update Troubleshooter. This download link is directly from Microsoft’s website, which is verified as trustworthy and entirely safe.
  2. Open the WindowsUpdate.diagcab file you just downloaded by double-clicking on it. This will launch the troubleshooter window.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions. If the troubleshooter is able to identify any issues, simply click on them to automatically apply a fix or get more information on your issue.

Note that the Windows Update Troubleshooter is not perfect. Even if it’s unable to find any errors on its own, you should continue with our methods until you find something that works to fix the Windows Update failing error.

Method 2: Restore Windows Update related services

If a service related to Windows Update is experiencing issues, has been turned off, or is set to incorrect settings, it’s possible that it’s the cause of your errors. Luckily, you can simply fix this by executing some commands which reset your services that work with delivering updates.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard to launch the Run utility. Type in “cmd” and  press Ctrl + Shift + Enter. This is going to launch the Command Prompt with administrative permissions.
  2. If prompted, make sure to allow the Command Prompt to make changes on your device. This means that you might need to log into an administrator account.
  3. Next, you need to stop the services related to downloading and installing Windows Update files. Within the Command Prompt, enter the following lines, pressing the Enter key in-between each new line:
  • net stop bits
  • net stop wuauserv
  • net stop appidsvc
  • net stop cryptsvc

   4. After stopping the services, input the following two commands, pressing the Enter key after each line:

  • Ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
  • Ren %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 catroot2.old

   5. Lastly, restart Windows Update related services using the following commands. Again, press Enter after each new line to execute the command:

  • net start bits
  • net start wuauserv
  • net start appidsvc
  • net start cryptsvc

   6. Close the Command Prompt and check if your Windows Update has been fixed after executing these commands.

Method 3: Run the System File Checker (SFC) scan

system file checker

The System File Checker is a tool available in Windows 10 by default. It’s also called an “SFC scan,” and it’s your quickest way to automatically fix corrupted system files and other issues.

Some users have reported that running this scan fixed their issues with Windows Update failing, getting stuck, or not starting.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard. This is going to bring up the Run utility.
  2. Type in “cmd” and press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard. Doing so, you’re launching the Command Prompt with administrative permissions.
  3. If prompted, click Yes to allow the Command Prompt to make changes on your device.
  4. Once in the Command Prompt, type in the following command and press Enter to execute it: sfc /scannow
  5. Wait for the SFC scan to finish scanning your computer and repairing corrupt files. This may take a long time; ensure that you don’t close the Command Prompt or shut your computer down.
  6. Restart your device after the scan is complete. Check if you’re able to update Windows 10 after the restart has finished.

Method 4: Execute the DISM command

The DISM tool allows you to identify and fix issues with your system by simply running commands. It checks for corruption on your system and automatically applies fixes to restore damaged or missing files.

You can use this tool to repair Windows Update and finally get the latest version of Windows 10.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard. This is going to bring up the Run utility.
  2. Type in “cmd” and press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard. Doing so, you’re launching the Command Prompt with administrative permissions.
  3. If prompted, click Yes to allow the Command Prompt to make changes on your device.
  4. Once in the Command Prompt, you need to start the DISM scan which will run and look for issues system-wide. Type in the following command and press Enter to execute it: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
  5. Next, you need to execute a command to fix any issues found on your system. Simply type in the following line and press Enter again: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  6. Wait for the process to finish. Upon completion, close the Command Prompt window and restart your device. Check if the Windows Update error still comes up now.

Method 5: Temporarily disable your antivirus

 how to temporarily disable antivirus on your pc

Antivirus applications are known to cause issues with Windows 10’s network and internet connections. This means they might interfere with your download process when attempting to update the system.

You can easily test whether or not your antivirus software is interfering with connections by temporarily disabling it.

Note: Make sure you turn on Windows Defender while operating your system without a third-party antivirus. It’s Windows 10’s integrated security solution that doesn’t cause issues and provides basic protection against most threats.

  1. Right-click on an empty space in your taskbar and choose Task Manager.
  2. If the Task Manager launched in compact mode, make sure to expand details by clicking on the “More Details” button.
  3. Switch to the Start-up tab using the header menu located at the top of the window.
  4. Find your antivirus application from the list and select it by clicking on it once.
  5. Click on the Disable button now visible in the bottom-right of the window. This will disable the application from launching when you start your device.
  6. Restart your computer and see if Windows Update works after disabling your antivirus. If it does, you may need to customize the application to stop interfering with Windows Update in the future.

Method 6: Restore Windows 10 from a backup

If all else fails, we recommend checking for a Restore Point on your system. Utilize this to restore your computer to a state when Windows Updates were able to download and install properly, then update to the latest version from this state.

  1. Press the Windows + S keys on your keyboard to bring up the search bar.
  2. Type in the word “restore” and open “Create a restore point” from the results. This is going to open a System Properties window.
  3. In the “System Protection” tab, click on the button that displays “System Restore.” Doing so will open up another new dialog window.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to find a previous restore point stored on your device. You can simply restore it and attempt to update your system once again.

We hope that this guide was able to help you troubleshoot the “Windows Update keeps failing” error on your Windows 10 system.

If you notice in the future that your system is experiencing similar issues, feel free to return to our article and apply some other fixes. If nothing works, we recommend turning to either Microsoft’s customer support team or looking for an IT specialist in regards to your PC’s health.

Are you interested in learning more about Windows 10? Do you need help fixing any other Windows 10 errors and issues? You can browse our dedicated Help Center section and find articles about everything related to Microsoft’s groundbreaking operating system. Click here to proceed.