How to Steer Clear through Stuck Windows Update in Windows 10?

| Updated on February 13, 2024

Updates are important for better functioning of the operating systems but can be time-consuming at the same time. Usually, no one gives proper attention to Windows updates but once you get them, they keep your device protected from threats and you will see your system running way smoother than before. But this is not the case every time you get an update. Updates for Windows 10 has been introduced to make the system run better and faster but there are so many hardware and software configuration that creates the obstructions. 

Generally, the Windows 10 devices are configured to get the updates automatically. Sometimes Windows updates take forever to get complete or get stuck or freeze mid-way during the installation. 

Symptoms Showing Windows Update Is Stuck

The installation of the Windows Update is stuck or locked when you see any of the following instructions on your computer screen:

  • Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer.
  • Getting Windows ready, Don’t turn off your computer.
  • Please do not power off or unplug your machine. Installing update x of x.
  • Working on updates, x% complete, Don’t turn off your computer
  • Configuring Windows updates, x% complete, Don’t turn off your computer.
  • Keep your PC on until this is done, Installing updates x of x.

The instructions may be different for the Windows version you have. 

Causes of a Stuck Windows 10 Update 

There can be several factors responsible for making the updates freeze. There can be software conflicts, or an issue that was there even before the updates start installing. Sometimes the mistake is on Microsoft’s part but that happens rarely. Also, this issue is not limited to Windows 10 and can happen with other operating systems of Microsoft. 

Fixing a Stuck Windows Update Installation

Before beginning to fix a frozen Windows update installation, you need to ensure that the updates are really stuck. Sometimes it happens that updates take several minutes to get completely installed and you can be mistaken that the process is not moving ahead. If you will try fixing a problem that is not actually there, it can give rise to several other problems. 

However, if you are looking at the same screen for more than 3 hours, it is clear that everything is stuck. Windows update can get stuck even before the period of 3 hours but still, it is suggested to wait for that much time to confirm the issue. 

Method-1 Turn Off and Turn On

Begin with this basic troubleshooting method i.e. turn off the device and then turn it on again because it works most of the time. Doing this will clear the system’s temporary memory and everything will restart from scratch. If only updates are stuck and the rest of the system is working fine, just restart normally or if everything has frozen, press and hold power button for a hard reset.

Method-2 Use Windows Built-in Troubleshooter

Windows built-in troubleshooter can definitely help you with a fix update. The troubleshooter is available for Windows 7, 8, & 10 and performs the following functions:

  1. Closes down Windows Update Services.
  2. Renames the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old that will clear the Windows Update download cache to let it restart.
  3. Restarts the Windows Update Services.

Follow the steps to run the troubleshooter:

  1. In the ‘Start’ menu, type ‘Troubleshooting’ and select the result that shows up.
    Type troubleshoot in the start menu and select ‘troubleshoot settings
  2. You will see an option for ‘Windows Update’ to resolve problems that are preventing you from updating Windows, click on that.
  3. Click on windows update
  4. Then you will see the option to ‘Run the troubleshooter’, click on that.
  5. Click on run the troubleshooter
  6. The troubleshooter will start looking for the problems and will let you know if it identifies and fixes the issue when Windows is stuck on updates. Once the troubleshooting process ends, you can restart with the Windows update process.
    Windows updates detecting problem

Method-3 Check the Windows Update Utility

Click on check for updates

For Windows 10, you get an option to launch ‘Windows Update’ through settings and you will know if your device is up to date. 

If you will click on ‘Advanced Options’, and then on ‘View your update history’, you will be able to see the updates that were recently successful and you can uninstall any one of them for troubleshooting.

Method-4 Use Safe Mode

Enable safe mode

Safe mode is like an advanced type of restart where the basic apps and codes that Windows needs to run are loaded into memory. To do this, open the ‘Settings’ window by pressing Win+I. under the ‘Update and Security’ section, choose the Recovery option from the menu in the left and click on the ‘Restart now’ box given in the Advanced Startup section of the Recovery screen.

When the PC will restart, you will see ‘Choose an option’, from there go to the menu options of Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. The PC will restart and at that time, select Safe Mode or press F4.

Method-5 Perform System Restore

Perform system restore

You can also try performing a system restore to solve the issues with Windows updates. For this, go to the Control Panel, click on ‘System’, then click on ‘System Protection’ and finally on ‘System Restore’.

In the wizard, select ‘Show more restore points’ to get all the available options. Select a time and date and complete the Wizard to move back to the system that was configured at that point. This may solve the issues you are having with updates in Windows 10.

Method-6 Remove the Windows Update file cache manually

You can try deleting the Windows Update file cache manually. For this, you have to stop the Windows Update service, delete the temporary files it has created, and then start the Windows Update again. Boot up into Safe Mode, reach out to the command prompt, a text box will appear. Enter “net stop wuauserv” and follow that with ‘net stop bits’ and press Enter again.

After that, go to the C:\ Windows\ SoftwareDistribution folder, and delete everything from there. These are just temporary files that Windows creates so there will be no problem in deleting them and Windows Update will create them again from scratch.

Thereafter, move back to command prompt window and type ‘net start wuauserv’ press Enter then enter ‘net start bits’ to get Windows Update and the related services running again.

Method-7 Do a Deep Virus Scan

Windows updates can also get stuck if your system has been affected by any virus or spyware. They stop the latest updates from getting installed on your device.

So whatever antivirus you have, try running a virus scan and then retry to install the latest updates for Windows 10 that were stuck before. 

Method-8 Perform a Full Windows Reset

Resetting Windows 10 means putting all the system files to their original state without moving the personal files. To get this option, go to the ‘Settings’ section and under the Update and Security page, go to the Recovery Tab.

Khushboo Chhibber

Senior Web Writer and Video Creator

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