Windows updates are important for both security and performance, and the best way to install them is by allowing the automated, built-in OS services to complete that task for us.
Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t always perform as it should, which is why some users reported a problem with the Standalone Update Installer getting “stuck” on the “Searching For Updates” step.
If you’re currently facing this problem, there are ways to fix it.
Let’s take a look how.
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A Sign That The Windows Update Standalone Installer Is “Stuck”
Before we get into the fixes, it’s important to ensure that your Windows Update Standalone Installer is indeed “Stuck” on the “Searching For Updates” phase of the update process.
The easiest way to do this is by locating and monitoring the process in Task Manager. If you haven’t already done that, here are the steps:
- Right-click an empty area on your taskbar and choose Task Manager from the list.
- When the Task Manager panel launches, if it’s in compact mode, choose More Details in the bottom-left corner. Then, navigate to the Services section.
- Find the “wuauserv” service on the list, then right-click it and choose Go To Details (the option could also be named “Go To Process” depending on your OS version). This will take you to the Processes section.
- Observe if the selected process takes unusually high resources for itself. If it does, you’re likely experiencing the problem causing the process to be endlessly stuck.
Close the Task Manager and proceed with the methods listed below if the process was taking up an unusual number of resources.
Fix 1: Run The Windows Update Troubleshoot Feature
Often, the Windows troubleshooting feature can help fix basic problems saving the user a lot of time and frustration. It does not always work as intended, specifically when the problem is slightly more complicated, but in this case, it’s worth trying.
Many users managed to fix the problem “automatically” by running the Windows Update troubleshooter, so here’s how to do that:
- Simultaneously press Windows + I on your keyboard to open the Settings panel.
- Click Update & Security to access the panel dedicated to everything update-related.
- Choose Troubleshoot from the menu on the left.
- Click Additional Troubleshooters.
- Choose Windows Update from the list and click Run The Troubleshooter.
Now you should wait until the process is complete. In some cases, Windows will find the problem and fix it automatically for you. However, that may not always work.
If the problem persists, move on to the next method below.
Fix 2: Manually Restart The Windows Update Installer Service
The process responsible for Windows updates can be manually restarted through the Services panel within your OS.
Sometimes, this “unstucks” the process and fixes the issue.
Though it sounds like a more technical and daunting method at first, if you follow the steps below you’ll get it done with ease.
Here’s how to find and manually restart the process responsible for Windows updates:
- Simultaneously press the Windows + R buttons on your keyboard to launch the Run panel.
- Type in services.msc and press Enter on your keyboard to initiate the command.
- Find Windows Installer on the list of processes, right-click it, and choose Properties.
- Click Stop to disable the service, then wait for about ten seconds. The wait time is to allow your computer to properly and fully disable the service, which may not happen instantly on some computers.
- Once it becomes available, click the Start button.
- Ensure to set the Startup Type of this process to Automatic. This will ensure the service starts when your computer boots.
- Restart your PC.
Hopefully, this will make things run smoothly again regarding Windows updates. For most users, it helped solve the problem immediately.
Fix 3: Run The System File Checker Tool In Command Prompt
This method is used for many Windows errors, not only the one you’re currently trying to fix. If some of the files on your PC related to Windows updates are missing or become corrupt, it’s likely the reason you’re seeing the Windows Update Standalone Installer stuck at the “Searching For Updates” phase.
The System File Checker tool, also known as the “sfc /scannow” command, checks your drive for any irregularities and fixes them for you.
Here’s how to run it:
- Simultaneously press Windows + S to open the Windows Search Box. In it, type in Command Prompt, then right-click the first result and choose Run as Administrator.
- Once the panel opens, input the sfc /scannow command and press Enter on your keyboard to initiate it.
- Wait until the process is complete.
This may take some time, but you’ll be able to track the progress within the Command Prompt panel. If Windows finds any missing, corrupt, or broken files on your system, it will automatically fix those issues for you, and you’ll see the confirmation message as shown in the image below.
Now, the final thing left to do is to restart your PC and see if the problem persists. For most users, this solved the problem right away.
Fix 4: Reset Your Windows (Last Resort Solution)
Windows 10 is a complex operating system, and sometimes, one problem can lead to a chain of other problems, resulting in a “mess” that’s difficult to fix.
In such situations, resorting to the Windows reset feature as a last resort option is what we usually recommend.
Windows 10 has an option that allows you to fully reset the operating system while keeping your personal files. So unlike a “true” format, this method can help you fix any problems by resetting the operating system settings to their “factory” defaults, without losing anything precious.
If none of the methods listed in this guide helped you overcome the issue, resetting the Windows should. However, once again, only resort to this as the last possible solution, as it will take up most of your time compared to other methods listed in this guide.
To reset Windows 10 while keeping your files, access the Windows Settings panel, choose Update & Security, navigate to the Recovery section, then select Reset this PC. Choose to keep your files and modify some of the other settings left before starting the process.
That covers everything you should know about fixing the Windows Update Standalone Installer issue causing it to be “stuck” at the Searching For Updates phase.
The methods listed in this guide helped many users overcome the problem, and hopefully, they’ll work for your specific case too.
Remember that you can always contact the Microsoft support team for any persistent or unsolvable errors you face while using their product.