How to fix a Windows update error?

Windows update is an essential service in Windows 10 as you get the latest feature updates and security vulnerability updates through this service only. And as Microsoft has announced that it is the last version of the Windows, so Windows updates is your only option to keep your operating system updated.

But every user at least once already have faced some kind of issue related to Windows update. And when users face issue it does not just limited to updates but also create other issues like slow computer performance, unable to boot the computer or displaying error codes like 0x80070020, 0x80240438, 0xC19001E2, 0x80070424, 0x80242006, 0x8007000E, 0x80D02002, 0x80070070, 0x80096004, 0x80080005, 0x8007000D, or 0x80240034.

Things to check before starting Windows Update

So if you are facing issues I will here help you to get rid of the issue. Lets start from preliminary checks before we dig in the problem. Though I assume you have been already performed these steps. Just check and confirm.




  1. Try restarting computer for 2-3 times.
  2. Check your internet connection & its speed.
  3. Confirm that updates are not paused.
  4. Find out if there is enough space, if not then free up some space by deleting junk files from the system.

Now lets come to the steps which actually fix Windows updates errors.

1. Run Windows Update Assistant

This is the best and easy method to fix any Windows update issue. So you should first try this. It will automatically check for any error and and update the Windows to the latest updates.

  • Go to the url : https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/software-download/windows10.
  • Click on the ‘Update Now’ button.
  • Run the assistant and it will automatically check for the latest updates. During installation it may restart the system for 1 or 2 times.
Fix windows update errors using Windows update assistant
Windows Update Assistant

2. Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

In Windows 10, go to SettingsUpdate & SecurityTroubleshootWindows UpdateTroubleshootAdditional troubleshooter and click on the Windows update troubleshooter from the list then click on the button ‘Run the troubleshooter’. It will automatically detect the problem and fix it for you.

Windows update troubleshooter
Windows update troubleshooter
Windows 10 update troubleshooting

For Windows 7

Download the Windows update troubleshooter file and double-click on it after download and follow its on-screen instructions to apply the troubleshooter fix.

3. Install Windows Updates Manually

If the above steps don’t work for you then try installing Windows updates manually. this method will help you to quickly install the latest updates and hopefully it will fix the automatic update issue for the future updates.

And if it doesn’t work then you can continue to try further steps mentioned here or go to the online troubleshooter provided by Microsoft.

More steps to fix Windows Update Error for Advanced users

These steps are only for the advanced users who are comfortable to use DOS or command window.

1. Re-configure / Reset Windows Update Components

While following the steps, you’ll also learn how to re-register all the “.dll” files that are related to Windows update and its services.

  • Open the Command prompt.
    Click on start → go to Accessories → and then go to Command Prompt. Then right-click on it and click on ‘Run as Administrator‘.
  • In the command prompt window, type the following commands one-by-one (which is in the box below) press enter key from your keyboard after running the following commands one-by-one. For more detail please see the following graphical animation.
net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

net stop cryptsvc

net stop msiserver

ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistributionDownload.old

ren %systemroot%\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old

regsvr32 %windir%\system32\wups2.dll

net start wuauserv

net start bits

net start cryptsvc

net start msiserver

SC QUERYEX BITS

SC QUERYEX WUAUSERV

SC QUERYEX cryptsvc

SC QUERYEX msiserver

  • Finally, restart your computer now.
run cmd commands

These command will work for all windows versions Windows 10, 8, 7.

2. Run DISM and SFC Command to fix Windows Update issue

It could be possible that some Windows system file has corrupted and due to which Windows update is unable to run properly. So in this case you can try to repair the system files in order to resolve the Windows Update issue.

  • Run the Command Prompt as an Administrator (How).
  • Type the command dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and press Enter key.
  • Now type the command sfc /scannow to repair the installation files and press Enter.

Know more about DISM command.

If the above steps not working in your case your can try other methods for failed or unfinished Windows 10 updates. Or Restore windows to an earlier date.

Re-activate Windows Update in Windows 7

  • Go to the Control Panel
  • Click on System & Security
  • Select on Windows Update
  • Click on Change setting from the left side pane.
  • Look at the right-side pane and select the option “Never Check for Updates (Not Recommended)” from the drop-down.
  • Then click on OK.
  • After that reboot your computer once.
  • Now, go to the same settings again (Windows update change setting) and then set it “Install Update automatically (Recommended)” Settings. For more detail please see the following graphical animation.
  • After that, restart the computer once more.
    re-activate Windows update

FAQs

126 thoughts on “How to Fix Windows Update Error”

  1. Windows 7 32 and 64 bit seems to have a problem updating once anyone has made a clean install. This just as Microsoft are trying to get everybody to upgrade to Windows 10, could be a coincidence but personally I don’t think so.

    I have tried two different versions of 32bit Win7 Pro and a 64 bit Win7 pro, the result is the same in all cases, the checking for updates just goes on and on. Even with 200 plus security updates since SP1 it should not take more than about fifteen minutes to compute which patches and updates are missing.

    After the debacle that was Windows 8, I am not surprised that there is some hesitance and resistance to upgrading when 7 is working perfectly fine, if this is a ploy by Microsoft then it will be the final straw for me and I will be moving fully to Linux.

    1. Windows updates are very sensitive part of Microsoft. We recommend to users don’t update windows unnecessary updates. It maybe occurs compatibility issues while or after updating windows. It usually happens with the driver or software compatibility.
      As of my view in your case, in fresh installation windows update should not occurred this type of problem, if anyhow you are getting this problem in fresh installation then I have to say, this seems be a problem with Microsoft server. Yes, some time Microsoft update patches have some technical bugs, that’s why the problem occurs.

  2. Hey, looks like you have pretty helpful for a lot of people, so thanks!
    So I cannot check for updates. I get this error code: 80244017, and if I click on it, it takes me to “WindowsUpdate_dt000 OR 80244017” and this forum. I already ran the troubleshoot links at the top, they said they fixed issues but it still doesn’t work. Any advice?

  3. In Windowsupdate.log it says on the end that : WARNING: Failed to enable WU service (wuauserv) or BITS service; hr=80070005

    Please help

      1. after running combo fix tool, it actually start downloading for real as it download 4GB. once I download everything I try to install it all, but error 0x8024000c come up in the Windowsupdate.log and on the screen it shows as 0x80243004 error.

        1. Maybe some downloaded updates have get corrupted. So, stop it and rename the downloading folder windows update and the reboot your computer and try again.

  4. Already did CIR check,fix win, hitman pro, still nothing,

    CIR check-all ok, rebooted pc – no changes
    fix win – all ok, rebooted pc – no changes

    It always download some txt forms, microsoft software license term into C:/windows/softwaredistribution/download
    I also have the same folder but named download.old – same txt forms

    I do have fast internet so would not expect to be more that 10-15 minutes to find out what updates need to be installed.

  5. Hello, I format, and reinstall my windows 7 home premium. I can’t update my windows, it always stuck when I try to update, I already tried all above with no success. Please help

  6. I have tried everything I can find on this subject, but keep getting a different error when trying to start the BITS service:
    Error 13: The data is invalid.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Make sure the following file is fully allowed all the permissions to current user: C:\Windows\System32\qmgr.dll. And after that follow our following article which is dedicated to BITS service repair manually. Click here to get the article of BITS service repair

      Contact us again if doesn’t fix the issue.
      Thanks

  7. Predrag Bogdanovic

    Hello everyone, hope you all doing well!

    I have successfully implemented all the mentioned steps above, as well as those from additional suggestions in the comments’ section, but nothing helped in solving the problem with “windows update” errors (to be more detailed, I don’t get any specific error messages popped up, but actually the update process simply stuck/freezes while it’s checking or installing the updates). I also tried to search for a solution on the other tech related forums and have performed numeruos of the suggested actions (for example, performing disc cleanup and deleting old unusable “windows update” files, even trying to wait for couple of days in order to to see if the process will continue to operate normally, tried few different internet connection, etc.), but again it all went unsuccessfull. As a final solution, I have installed and processed “combofix” app, as suggested by the creator of this tutorial in one of the comments, but again without success. I use Windows 7 Professional edition, on Acer Aspire One D270 machine for 3 years so far and never experienced such an issue like this earlier (windows update suddenly stopped working about a month or two ago).

    Here’s the copied text from a report created after applying “ComboFix” (i am not able to attach the file):

    “ComboFix 16-01-07.01 – Djape&Joja 16.01.2016 14:34:45.1.4 – x86
    Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 6.1.7601.1.1251.381.1033.18.2036.1164 [GMT 1:00]
    Running from: c:\users\Djape&Joja\Desktop\ComboFix.exe
    AV: Microsoft Security Essentials *Disabled/Updated* {B7ECF8CD-0188-6703-DBA4-AA65C6ACFB0A}
    SP: Microsoft Security Essentials *Disabled/Updated* {0C8D1929-27B2-688D-E114-9117BD2BB1B7}
    SP: Windows Defender *Disabled/Updated* {D68DDC3A-831F-4fae-9E44-DA132C1ACF46}
    ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( Other Deletions )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    C:\END
    c:\programdata\Roaming
    c:\windows\system32\roboot.exe
    ((((((((((((((((((((((((( Files Created from 2015-12-16 to 2016-01-16 )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    2016-01-16 13:48 . 2016-01-16 13:49 ——– d—–w- c:\users\Djape&Joja\AppData\Local\temp………………”

    If there’s any further action, or anyone have advice what to try to do next, please reply.
    Have a great day and thanks in advance.

    1. Method1: Rename the SoftwareDistibution to SoftwareDistibution.old

      1: Click Start > Run > type services.msc then press Enter button or click on OK – A services page will be opened, find Windows Update there.

      2: Stop Windows Update Service

      3: You can now Rename Software Distribution from following location c:\windows\SoftwareDistibution to SoftwareDistibution.old

      Rename c:\windows\SoftwareDistibution to SoftwareDistibution.old

      Method2:

      Run this MS fixit for windows update once. Click here to download MS FIXIT

      Method3: Run some following tools from our tools page. wwwtechsupportall.com/tools.

      1. CIR – complete Internet Repair Tool
      2. Trojan remover tool
      3. Hitmanpro
      4. Fix win 1.2

      If it doesn’t fix after that then check your event viewer logs and let us know if you get any error there.

  8. Guys, this solved it for me on windows 8.1 if the problem was to do with the Bits service not starting after trying almost all the available solutions:
    1- Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2- Locate the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToBackup
    3- If the registry subkey exists, go to step 4. If the registry subkey does not exist, create the registry subkey. To do this, follow these steps:
    Right-click Backup Restore, point to New, and then click Key.
    Type FilesNotToBackup, and then press ENTER.
    4- Quit Registry Editor.
    5- Click Start, click Run, type services.msc, and then click OK.
    Double-click Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
    In the General tab, click Start.

  9. when i give the last command i.e SC QUERYEX WUAUSRV, it shows ”The specified service does not exist as an installed service” pls tell me what to do,what i need to install??..

  10. Cannot run updates. When tried Sept.21st fix discovered that in regedit , going to local_machine\software\policies\microsoft\windows\ I can get that far but I do not have windows update. Might be the reason I cannot run updates. What do I have to do to build the files?

  11. Hi,
    I followed very carefully your instructions but still got problem “Windows could not search for new updates”
    Error Code C80003F3 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.
    I applied all possible resolutions from internet, but was unable to fix this.
    So disappointed. The user in my company screwed up everything on his PC and now I have to find the way to fix for him. Please give me an idea before rebuilding his PC to fix this issue!!!
    Thanks.

    1. Do disable all the 3rd parties applications and services from startup (msconfig) temporarily and then reboot your computer and try to update windows. Also scan your computer with Malwarebytes and Hitmanpro. Let us know after that if doesn’t fix.

      1. Hello Techexpert
        My windiws showed me an option to update and after I did my laptop keeps crashing!! It does not even stay on ling enough so can follow your steps. Help plsss

  12. Tried your latest post. The AU does not show UseWUServer (only Default” – with value not set – and NoAutoUpdate). tried to run the proxy restart and that responded “Direct Access .

  13. do u know why it took too long to instal sql server 2012? especially in scanning for product updates, it keep scanning and never finish. i wonder does it related to the windows security updates? since my security updates is error

    1. Maybe the sql server 2012 update was not downloaded properly, that’s why it is creating this type of issue. Do one thing, cancel this update and delete the downloaded sql server 2012. And reboot the computer once and then try to update the windows again. Let us know if doesn’t work.

  14. Tried everything on this page.. I’ve lost sleep trying to fix this update failure shit. No joy.. couldn’t even download one 47kb sized update from the 78 pending updates that are backed up. All I’ve seen all over the ‘net with this problem is useless MS fixit’s followed by suggested lines & lines of mesmerizing head-f*ck code into command prompt, as if we’re expected to fix this? If I was as bad at my job as these MS ‘techs’ are at theirs I’d be fired?

    1. I had to restore the whole Windows 7 from restore DVD to my Fujitsu laptop and I ran into this problem. I don’t understand how this cxan happen. Seems so common problem and Microsoft will not find the fix.
      If anybody can find solution for this I would appreaciate.
      Done all steps here, Registry hack was strange as I didn’t even had entry …/WindowsUpdate/AU at all. I added it (as binary value), but didn’t help.

  15. Hiiiii…. i did all these steps… but still my window is showing same error.. the error code is 8024402C. and shows “window update encountered an unknown error”
    Plzz help me asap

    1. Try following steps:

      – Open registry editor through regedit – click on Start menu –> Run -–> regedit
      – Navigate the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU
      – Click on “AU” key and look on the right side pane, you’ll see value named as “UseWUServer”.
      – Change the value data of “UseWUServer” from 1 to 0 (To do, double-click on “UseWUServer”, change the value data to 0 and click on OK)
      – Run an one more command in command prompt, start command prompt with (run as administrator) and run this command on it once: “netsh winhttp reset proxy”
      – Now, Reboot your computer ones or restart the update service.

      Thanks

      1. sorry but i dont see any UseWUServer on that path i only see this
        (Default) REG_SZ (value not set) and then
        NoAutoUpdate REG_DWORD 0x00000000 (1)

        1. There must be something wrong because this value (NoAutoUpdate)doesn’t exist normally in windows 7 computer. You may delete that. Your windows service registry look like that as per the image given below as of windows 7 32bit computer. Let us know if need more help. Windows Update Default Registry View

      2. There is no windows update file in it and in the services it says stopping not in task manager but in services.msc please help

  16. I just cloned an old ssd to a new Samsung 850 evo (250gb) and had this problem.
    This worked !! Thanks a lot!
    (FYI for other people who may have also this problem -and I dont know if that was a problem too- but I also had to update my intel chipset and sata drivers -which I did before doing this and it didnt do anything. It seems though that people think it contributes to the problem, so I thought I should say it.)

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