You were in the middle of some important thing or were about to get a head start on something when your windows got stuck because it is getting updated. Sounds familiar? Well, I guess you are here because you have been unfortunate enough to encounter this little glitch. Worry not, for we have some solutions that should work for you coming right up.
That being said, the Windows update usually doesn’t make such troublesome appearances. It usually doesn’t make any appearances at all. It runs in the background and does it’s own thing while you do yours. This is because most Windows 10 computers are set to automatically install the updates without our interference. We may install and check for some updates time to time but that’s really rare. In Windows 7 and 8, the updates and fixes are applied on the second Tuesday of every month, which is the day Microsoft releases them. These Tuesdays are called Patch Tuesdays or Update Tuesdays which is a recent nickname.
Now, to the problem at hand. You might find that the windows is stuck after downloading, maybe 75% of the updates. Maybe it has just cut connection with the server. Or it might have slowed to such a slow pace that it is virtually non-existent. So the updates get frozen or stuck.
If you see any of the following error messages for a long time, it means that the installation has most probably hit a wall.
- Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer.
- Please do not power off or unplug your machine.
- Keep your PC on until this is done. Installing update x of x.
- Configuring Windows updates x% complete. Do not turn off your computer.
These are the common messages with minor changes in how they are worded depending on the version that you are using. Sometimes all you will see is a ‘Restarting’ message.
Note: Make sure that the Windows is actually stuck before you proceed with any of the methods specified here. It is advisable to wait some period of time, say 3 hours or so as Windows updates do not take more than that to get completely installed in the system. Trying to fix a problem that does not exist can create further problems.
Also Check: Antimalware Service Executable
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck on Windows 10, 8.1, 8 & 7
- 1.1 1. Run Windows Update troubleshooter
- 1.2 2. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del
- 1.3 3. Restart your computer
- 1.4 4. Start Windows in Safe Mode
- 1.5 5. Complete a System Restore
- 1.6 6. Start your computer’s “automatic” repair process
- 1.7 7. Update BIOS
- 1.8 8. Delete Files In The Software Distribution
- 1.9 9. Test your computer’s memory
- 1.10 10. Clean install Windows
Why is my Windows Update stuck?
There are a lot of reasons for a frozen Windows updates. It might be due to an issue that was already there in the system which was brought out by the updating of Windows or it might be due to some software conflicts.
Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 Windows Vista and Windows XP can all experience this issue during updating Windows.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s get into how to solve this issue on your computer.
How to Fix Windows Update When It Gets Stuck on Windows 10, 8.1, 8 & 7
1. Run Windows Update troubleshooter
Microsoft’s windows include a built-in troubleshooter which may be actually helpful to fix windows update when it is stuck. This is one of the easiest steps in the process so go ahead and try your luck. Troubleshooter will perform the following actions.
- It shuts down Windows Update Services.
- It renames the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old , So that the next time Windows Update will run, it will recreate all of them from scratch with less probability to get an error.
- It restarts the Windows Update Services.
This is a very simple basic step. To run the troubleshooter, hit Start, search for “troubleshooting,” and then run the selection that search comes up with.
Now it will open the control panel with a list of option for troubleshooting. Locate the option “Fix problems with Windows Update” and click on it.
Now in the Windows Update Troubleshooting Windows, Click on Advanced.
In the advanced settings, make sure that the “Apply repairs automatically” check box is enabled, click “Run as administrator” and then click Next. Administrator privileges will make sure that the tool can delete the cache files.
Most of the time Troubleshooter will fix windows update stuck issues. So after troubleshooter is done you can go and try running windows update again. Even if the troubleshooter says it couldn’t identify the problem, it’s possible that the actions of starting and stopping the service and clearing out the cache did the trick.
2. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del
This is for those situations when the updates gets frozen at a particular bit of the installation. Pressing the combination of Ctrl+Alt+Delete may take you to the login screen. If it does, log in as you would normally and let the install complete as it is.
It is possible that your system might restart after pressing this combination. If that does happen, you will be taken to the Advanced Boot option or Startup Settings menu. Here, select the Safe Mode. If the Windows Update installs successfully when you are still in safe mode, just restart your computer from there and you will be able to enter Windows normally as you always do.
3. Restart your computer
You can do this either by using the powering it OFF and back ON using the main power button or you can use the restart button for the same. This might allow the Windows to start normally and run the installation to success without any more glitches.
Though the message on the screen explicitly tells you not to restart your computer, but if the windows update taking forever then you actually have no other option then to restart your computer.
4. Start Windows in Safe Mode
Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode of Windows, which loads the minimum required drivers and services that are absolutely required by the Windows operating system. So if the update is stuck because of some conflicts with some software or drivers, this mode might allow the installation to finish up normally as it will not load software that are not super essential.
Note: If the windows update do install successfully then you can restart to start windows normally.
5. Complete a System Restore
Running system restores in your PC will revert it back to its contents at an earlier point in time specified as the restore point. Since you can’t access Windows normally, try doing this from Safe Mode. From there, pick a point that you want to revert to as you perform the restore. Once you have returned to an earlier restore point, try installing the updates again.
Note: During the System Restore, be sure to choose the restore point created by Windows just prior to the update installation.
6. Start your computer’s “automatic” repair process
This is like an indirect way of undoing changes. In Windows 10, do a Startup Repair. If this doesn’t work, do the Reset this PC process (make sure you do the non-destructive option). This method can be applied to Windows 8 as well.
7. Update BIOS
Though it is rare that an outdated BIOS causes Windows Update to freeze, it is still worth a try as a close to final resort as it is a possible cause. Especially, if one or some of the updates is involved with how the Windows and motherboard or other built-in hardware interact, updating the BIOS could solve the problem.
8. Delete Files In The Software Distribution
This is a bit more complex method and requires more interaction with the system’s settings. It shouldn’t cause any problems to your computer but it is always good to set up a restore point before going further.
The first thing you are going to do is stopping the Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service. To do that, press ‘Windows+x’ to bring up the Winx menu and select the command prompt here. Make sure you are the admin.
In the prompt type in the following commands pressing Enter after each command.
- Net stop wuauserv
- Net stop bits
These commands will turn off the Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
Now delete the files in the ‘C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution’. Go to the folder, select all the files and press Delete.
If any of them cannot be deleted because they are in use, you should restart your PC. Turn OFF the two services after you restart and try deleting the files again. Once you have deleted the files, restart the computer or manually turn On the Windows Update services. To do that, type in the following commands in the command prompt.
- net start wuauserv
- net start bits
Run the Windows Updates now and it will take up to a few hours depending on the connection and the system, as the PC will have to download a number of updates. After they are all installed, the Windows will schedule a restart time. But you can always opt to update then and there.
9. Test your computer’s memory
Make sure it is not a failed RAM that is causing the problem.
10. Clean install Windows
As the very last resort, you can try clean installing Windows which is the process of completely erasing the hard drive that Windows is installed in and installing the Windows again from the start on the same hard drive. This may seem like taking it too far and it actually is taking it too far. So obviously, we do not want to do this unless we are in the worst case scenario/ But this will likely solve the issue if none of the previous methods worked for you.
Conclusion – What To Do When Windows Update Gets Stuck?
It is observed that Windows 10 gets stuck most often than the other versions as more updates for this version of Windows operating system are being released more frequently. Hopefully, the article has helped you solve the problem and has helped you in successfully overcoming the frozen Windows Updates.