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What do I do if Windows Updates fail?

In rare cases, Windows Updates may fail. This can be an update not applying or installing, Windows Update refusing to search for new updates or a recent Windows Update causing issues on the device.

An example error in Windows Updates

Fortunately, most issues with Windows Updates can be solved following the same procedure:

1. Check the network connection and date/time of the device. The connection may be weak or intermittent leading to issues downloading an update or accessing the Windows Update server in general. The network may also have a firewall installed which blocks access to certain servers (common in hospitals, schools and care homes. The date/time being wrong can lead to security certificate issues on the network, or updates not being shown at all.


Confirming the internet is connected and secured.
Checking the Windows date and time are correct

2. Check the Windows version of the device. Some Windows versions no longer receive Windows Feature Updates due to support being stopped. They will continue to receive security updates, however. A full list is available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Microsoft_Windows_versions – the most common devices with this issue are the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB devices (GP13 and older GP10). These devices will stay on the generational build (2004, 20H2 etc.) they are on.

The Windows build version in Windows Settings

3. Open Disk Cleanup by using the search feature in the start menu. You can use Disk Cleanup to delete unnecessary files. Be sure to select Clean up system files first and then select Windows Update Clean-up. Other items can be ticked to free up disk space but this will not affect Windows Update.

The disk cleanup program

4. Open Service.msc (via the Windows start menu) and restart the Windows Update service, wuarserv.

Restarting the windows update service

5. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-update-troubleshooter-for-windows-10-19bc41ca-ad72-ae67-af3c-89ce169755dd). You can find the Troubleshooter inside the Windows Settings – Update and Security – Troubleshoot – Additional Troubleshooters. Underneath the Get up and Running heading, you will find the Windows Update Troubleshooter. This will detect any issues with the Windows Update program itself and repair them automatically. It requires a network connection to complete.

The Windows Update troubleshooting

If following this, Windows Updates are still failing. There are some additional, more complex measures below:

  • Use the WUReset program (available here: www.wureset.com) to perform a component store clean up using Options 2 and 10
The WUReset tool

Last Revision: 11.11.2022