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How to Fix Windows 10 Update If It Freezes or Becomes Stuck

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For the most part, Windows updates happen silently in the background, only installing after a prompt or when you shut down your PC. However, there are occasions when the update system needs a helping hand. If your Windows update runs into an error, you aren’t alone. This setback has been a widespread issue for the OS since Microsoft dropped their quality assurance team and relied on users through preview builds, feedback, and more.

How to Fix Windows 10 Update If It Freezes or Becomes Stuck

Perhaps your Windows 10 downloaded half of the update before deciding it doesn’t want to stay connected to the server. Other times, the OS fancies doing its own thing for a while, slowing your eagerly awaited update to a crawl. Other than those two situations, the OS may run into an installation bug or data problem that stops it in its tracks.

If Windows Update freezes or gets stuck, there are several steps to try. Here’s the process—in order of importance.


Step 1: Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

The first step is the safest way to resolve Windows 10 Update issues. The process will automatically scan for and detect problems within your system, which can take a few minutes to complete.

  1. Open the Start menu and click on Settings. Windows Settings widget

  2. Next, click on Update & Security. Windows 10 Settings Menu - 3

  3. Then, click on Troubleshoot and then Additional troubleshooters. Windows 10 Troubleshoot Menu

  4. From there, choose Windows Update and then Run the troubleshooter.

The troubleshooter should hopefully clear up the problems causing Windows Update to get stuck.

Step 2: Delete Files in Software Distribution

If the troubleshooter does not resolve the update problem, it’s time to interact with your computer’s system settings. It shouldn’t cause any damage to your PC. You’ll only delete temporary Windows Update files, but it is recommended that you set up a System Restore point before going any further.

  1. Open the Start menu, type cmd into the Search box, then Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator. Windows 10 Start Menu - 2

  2. Next, stop Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service. There are two commands you’ll need to type into the command prompt:

net stop wuauserv net stop bits

Press Enter after you type each one. This will turn off the Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service.

Winx Windows

3. Next, you’ll need to delete the files in the C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution folder. Select all files, then press Delete. If the files can’t be deleted because they’re in use, you’ll need to restart your PC. Turn off the two Windows Update services and then try to delete the files again.

Windows software distribution

4. Once the folder has been emptied, either restart your computer or manually turn on the Windows Update services. To do this, bring up the command prompt (admin) and type:

net start wuauserv net start bits

5. Now, run Windows Update and you’ll find that your PC needs to download a number of updates, which can take up to a few hours, depending on your system and connection.

windows updating

Once the updates have all been installed, Windows will schedule a restart time, although you can always restart immediately.

Step 3: Make a Quick-Fix Batch File

The following fix is a convenient way to execute several commands in one swoop. The script’s success level is subject to Windows changes through previous updates and the current condition of your OS. It may or may not work for you. Use it at your own risk!

The batch file (shown below) does the following, in exact order:

  1. Change the attributes of “system 32catroot” folder and the files within it

  2. Stops the Windows Update Service (wuauserv), Cryptographic services (CryptServ), and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)

  3. Rename the “system 32catroot” folder to “system32catroot.old”

  4. Rename the temporary Windows Update files folder “WindowsSoftwareDistribution” to “WindowsSoftwareDistribution.old”

  5. Rename the “All UsersApplication DataMicrosoftNetworkDownloader” folder to “All UsersApplication DataMicrosoftNetworkDownloader.old”

  6. Restart BITS.

  7. Restart CryptSvc.

  8. Restart wuauserv.

To run the batch file, copy the following script into notepad and save it to the Desktop as “UpdateFix.bat” to make it easy to find and to delete it when done. Right-click the batch file and select Run as Administrator. Restart Windows after the script completes successfully.

@ECHO OFF echo This script is intended to stop Windows Update being COMPLETELY and UTTERLY rubbish echo. PAUSE echo. attrib -h -r -s %windir%system32catroot2 attrib -h -r -s %windir%system32catroot2*.* net stop wuauserv net stop CryptSvc net stop BITS ren %windir%system32catroot2 catroot2.old ren %windir%SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old ren "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%application dataMicrosoftNetworkdownloader" downloader.old net Start BITS net start CryptSvc net start wuauserv echo. echo Windows Update should now work properly. Thanks Microsoft. echo. PAUSE

The script above allows Windows to create fresh update folders and data within them to eliminate any file corruption or incompatibilities.

Step 4: Identify Windows 10 Update Error Codes and Fix The Reported Issues

If none of the above options fixed your Windows Update problem, it is time to decipher the codes to discover the cause of failure—hopefully! Most update issues return an error code that identifies what caused the update to fail. The following table below provides the most common Windows 10 Update error codes and the possible solutions to fix them.

0x80073712A file is damaged or missing that Windows 10 Update requires. Type “DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth” without quotes to repair system files, then try to update the OS again.
0x800F0923A driver or program isn’t compatible with the upgrade (NOT update) to Windows 10 from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. Backup your drivers and programs to preserve them, then uninstall the current graphics driver and let Windows switch to its default one. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling other drivers. Also, ensure you have enough drive space for the upgrade.
0x80200056The upgrade process was interrupted from a manual restart, accidental shutoff, or user sign out. Simply try updating again.

Scenario #1: The PC couldn’t connect to Windows Update servers. Disable the VPN (if applicable) and attempt to reinstall. Otherwise, try updating again when your internet connection is stable and reliable.

Scenario #2: There is a lack of free space in the System Reserved partition. Increase the partition’s size and try updating Windows again.

Error: We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer.

Error: Failure configuring Windows Updates. Reverting changes.

The PC failed to update for uncategorized or unknown issues. Any reasons not listed in specific error categories will produce one of these generic error messages. Review the update history to find the failed update and specific error code that triggered the problem. Resolve the issue, then try updating again.

Error: The update isn’t applicable to your computer.The Windows system does not have all the required updates installed to perform the OS upgrade. Run Windows Update to ensure all applicable updates are installed, then try upgrading again.
0xC1900208 – 0x4000CAn incompatible app blocked or interfered with the update process. Remove the app or program and try updating Windows 10 again.

0xC1900200 – 0x20008

0xC1900202 – 0x20008

The PC does not meet the minimum requirements to upgrade to Windows 10. Upgrade the PC hardware (if possible) or replace it.

0x80070070 – 0x50011

0x80070070 – 0x50012

0x80070070 – 0x60000

The PC does not have enough space to install Windows 10 update. Free up space on the OS partition and try again.
0xc1900223There is a problem with the download or installation files in the update. No action needed; the system will try again later.
0xC1900107A previous update is still in the cleanup process, usually awaiting a restart. Try restarting Windows and then attempt to install the new update again. If it fails, try using the Disk Cleanup utility, restart, and then attempt to update.
0x80300024A specific disk operation is not supported by the current drive. See detailed Windows 10 requirements to ensure the disk (partition or volume) is capable of any applicable requirements. If not, replace the drive.
0x80070002 0x20009Windows 10 Update cannot find a specific file, whether it is due to access rights, conflicting applications, or other plugged-in drives. Turn off any firewalls and close running applications. If that doesn’t work, try disconnecting all non-OS drives, rebooting the device, and trying to update again.
0xC1900101 0x20017
0xC1900101 0x30017
A driver issue caused a problem during the installation of the update. Disconnect all unnecessary devices such as USB drives, cameras, etc. and disable any anti-malware and anti-virus services.
0x8007042B 0x4000DWindows Update terminated unexpectedly due to an existing running process that interfered with operations. Perform a clean boot to eliminate any questionable processes and try to update again.
0x800700B7 0x2000aA security service, application, or process caused Windows Update to terminate unexpectedly. Disable all security applications and services, and then try updating again.
0xC1900101 – 0x20004Upgrading from Windows 7 or 8/8.1 has failed with an issue stating “The installation failed in the safe_OS phase with an error during INSTALL_RECOVERY_ENVIRONMENT operation.” The error is usually caused by a bios incompatibility or SATA configuration. Try updating your bios, removing all unnecessary SATA drives, unplugging all external USB drives, and disabling network devices in Windows 10 Device Manager (NOT by right-clicking elsewhere).

Step 5: Use System Restore

If your computer still isn’t responding when installing updates, you can run a System Restore. This will revert your PC to an earlier point in time.

  1. To access System Restore, type “System Restore” into the Search bar and select Create a restore point. Windows 10 Start Menu

  2. From System Restore you can pick an appropriate point to revert to.

Windows system restore

Once you’ve returned to an earlier restore point, try installing the updates again as normal.

Step 6: Use the Windows 10 Recovery Tool

If your Windows 10 device still isn’t updating or is still frozen on updating, then you’ll want to boot into the Windows 10 Recovery Tool and fix the drive or roll back to a previous restore point. If your device isn’t responding, then you’ll need to download this using another.

  1. If you haven’t already, start by downloading Windows Media Creation Tool, it’s also used for restoring/fixing your existing Windows OS.

  2. Next, plug in the USB with the recovery tool on it.

  3. Now, restart your device and then click either F8, F10, F12, or Del to enter the BIOS/UEFI, it varies based on the manufacturer.

  4. Next, look for Boot or Boot Order and click on it. Some BIOS keep it under System.

  5. Then, change the boot order so the Windows Media Creation Tool boots up first, you can usually just use the arrow keys to change the boot order.

  6. When the tool loads, select your language/preferences and click on Next.

  7. Now, select Repair your computer from the options.

  8. Then, start by trying to repair your disk with the sfc command, enter “sfc /scannow” without quotes and hit Enter in the command prompt.

  9. If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to use a previous restore point and roll back to it. Windows creates them by default when you download new programs, so you should have several to choose from

Take Away

Sometimes Windows 10 can run into problems when updating, luckily, you know what to do now if that happens. Start with the least complicated and permanent issue before resorting to previous restore points and more drastic solutions.

Do you know of any other ways to fix a Windows 10 update that’s stuck or frozen? Feel free to share it in the comments below.

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