Fix: Windows 10 Won’t Update

Have you tried everything but Windows 10 won't update for some reason? In this guide, we show you why this is happening and how to fix it.

Your personal computer would be completely unusable without an operating system. Luckily, there are quite a few options available nowadays users can choose.

Some examples are Linux, Mac OS, Ubuntu, Fedora, and of course, the world’s most widely-used OS, Microsoft’s Windows.

Operating systems are complex, therefore experiencing a few bugs and problems while using them is not uncommon.

In this guide, we’ll help you solve the problem with Windows 10 not updating.

Table of ContentsShow

The Problem Explained

Operating system updates are of great importance, as they improve the software’s security, optimization, and performance. Some update releases include interface changes as well, which means a better overall user experience.

Windows 10 automatic updates enabled
The Windows 10 Updates Feature explained.

For the curious: You can find the Windows 10 update history on Microsoft’s official website, along with all the changelogs and development release notes.  

All those improvements sound great, and they get released often enough to keep the OS modern and in touch with the latest trends. But what if the updates fail to download and install on your system?

Windows 10 wont update problem
A Reddit user addressing the Windows 10 won’t update problem.

Well, that means you’re now left with an older version of Windows, which may not be as secure and pleasant to use as the latest one. In that case, finding a solution for the problem and updating to the latest version should be a priority.

The Windows 10 won’t update problem is concerning a lot of users, and the complications have been addressed on multiple forums and websites, including this Reddit thread.

However, you shouldn’t expect to get an accurate answer that solves all problems related to Windows 10 updates failing because there are many different reasons the problem occurs.

The best advice is to troubleshoot and search up the error code provided in the logs. However, this can take a lot of time.    

Luckily, we’ve done all the homework so you don’t have to. In the section below, you can find working methods to overcome the Windows won’t update issue.

Fix 1: Restart Your PC

Sometimes this issue can be solved by restarting your PC, which seems to be the easiest solution that won’t take more than a few minutes of your time.

Windows 10 restart

Chances are that the Windows update will automatically begin installing again upon restarting your PC. When your system boots up, you may have the latest version of Windows 10 installed.

If not, there are other things you can try. Check the next sections down below.

Fix 2: Make Storage Space For The Updates

The Windows 10 update may be failing because you don’t have enough storage space on your main disk. In fact, this is one of the more common reasons people report Windows updates failing.

Note that Windows updates can only be installed on the same partition where your OS is installed.

making storage space for Windows 10 updates

For example, if you have Windows installed on your C drive, and that drive is currently full, it makes no difference if you have a lot of free space on your E drive because Windows is not installed there.

You can free up space by moving apps, images, and games to your other disk(s), or uninstalling something you don’t need from your main partition. Some users prefer to do this by opening the list of installed apps & features on Windows 10, while others prefer using third-party storage-analyzing programs such as Wiztree.

If you don’t have a lot of apps installed, yet your main partition is cluttered, it may be because of a few reasons:

  • There’s a pileup of cache data on your disk.
  • You have multiple older versions of Windows on your disk.

You can take care of this problem by using the built-in Disk Cleanup function on Windows 10. If you are not sure how, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Windows File Explorer and locate the disk you wish to perform the cleanup on.
  2. Right-click it and select Properties from the list of options.
    right clicking and selecting Properties for disk to clean up
  3. Once the properties menu opens, select Disk Cleanup. It is located under the General tab.
    selecting Disk Cleanup
  4. Select the items you wish to remove and click OK to initiate the setup.
    performing Disk Cleanup
  5. When Windows finishes cleaning up the files, click Clean Up System Files and then More Options. Here you have the option to delete old restore points.
    Windows 10 Clean Up System Files
    Windows 10 Disk Cleanup restore points

Note: If you already have enough space (the storage bar indicator is not red anymore), we recommend keeping your restore points. If there’s nothing considered unimportant to delete from the drive, you can remove the restoration points and shadow copies to free up a few more gigabytes of space on your disk.

It’s always better to free up storage space by moving images or apps to a different drive than to delete system files.

Upon ensuring you have enough space for the update, restart your PC and see if the setup completes. If storage space was the issue, the update should now install successfully.  

Fix 3: Ensure Your Internet Connection Is Not The Problem

Sometimes the Windows 10 updates are unable to download because your internet connection keeps failing. This is rarely the case but it can happen, so make sure to check if your internet is performing as it should.

You can use websites such as Speedtest by Ookla to run a quick benchmark. If your internet shows signs of absurd download speeds or you frequently lose connection, then the update most likely can’t download because of that.

A solution for this problem is to contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and address the issue or try using open Wi-Fi in your area to download the update.

Fix 4: Use System Restore To Revert To A Different Version

If you haven’t deleted your system restore points, you can use the restoration function to “roll back” to a previous version. Then, you can attempt to download and install the latest Windows update again.

This method worked for many users, and it might help you as well. To revert to a previous Windows version, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Windows Search Bar and type in Control Panel, then press Enter on your keyboard.
  2. The Control Panel window will now open. Select System and Security from the list of options.
    System and Security in Windows 10 Control Panel
  3. In the panel that opened, click on File History. Then, in the bottom left corner click on Recovery.
    clicking Recovery in Windows 10 File History
  4. Click Open System Restore from the list of options. For this to work, you must have the feature previously enabled.
  5. Go through the setup by clicking Next, and choose a restore point when asked. Confirm it and click Finish to begin the process.

Wait until Windows restores and then proceed using your operating system normally. Now, you should be able to update to the latest version without any issues.

If it doesn’t work, try “rolling back” to an even earlier restoration point and then attempt the update again.  

Fix 5: Boot Windows In Safe Mode To Clear The Update’s Cache Files

If a Windows update failed, the cache files left behind, as well as the other partly-installed ones, are most likely unusable. Some users call these files corrupt.

This happens when a computer shuts down unexpectedly due to a power outage or a system crash in the middle of a Windows update.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix for this problem. Follow the steps below:

Open File Explorer and find your C drive. If Windows is installed on that drive, there should be a folder named Windows. Inside it, there’s a folder named Software Distribution that you need to open and delete all the files from it.

Note:These are just the temporary files that Windows creates when starting the update procedure, so you won’t break anything by removing them from your PC. Windows will create them once again when you re-initiate the update.

Then, follow the step-by-step guide below.

  1. Open the Windows search bar and type in Command Prompt. Right-click the app’s icon and select Run as Administrator.
    right clicking Windows 10 Command Prompt and selecting Run as Administrator
  2. Once the command prompt opens, type in net stop wuauservand press enter on your keyboard. Then, type in net stop bits and press Enter once more.

Now the update should be “unstuck” and proceed normally without failing the next time you start it. If that doesn’t work, there’s one more method you can try, so feel free to check the section below.

Fix 6: Do A Windows Reset

Performing a Windows Reset on a modern OS such as Windows 10 is much easier than it was a few years ago on older operating systems.

However, this should be your last resort if nothing else works as the process lasts long and is considered the most “radical” measure.

To reset your Windows, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Windows search bar and type in Settings. Inside the settings panel, click on Update and Security.
  2. On the left-bar menu, you’ll see a list of different sections. Click on Recovery to access the panel where you’ll be initiating the reset setup.
  3. Click on Get Started which is the first option in the Recovery panel. Follow the setup which is straightforward and you should get the reset done quickly, depending on your system’s performance.

Doing this won’t get rid of your personal files unless you want everything gone from your disks for a clean reinstall. In most cases, you won’t need to delete a single personal file to get a Windows update unstuck.   

Conclusion

It’s considered a security threat to run an outdated version of Windows, which is why an update failing can be such a frustrating thing to experience.

Luckily, you now know how to overcome the problem by using the methods listed in the guide above.

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Bojan Veselinovikj
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Bojan Veselinovikj

Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.