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General Windows 10 Update Troubleshooting Guide

Written on April 14, 2020 by Chad Warmenhoven
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Why you need this article

Windows 10. Windows Updates. Two terms that go hand in hand but aren't always viewed in a positive light. There's a reason for that.

Most users will experience an update issue at some point in their systems lifecycle but thankfully there is usually a simple solution. Nonetheless it can be frustrating especially when it directly impacts your work by preventing software from being installed or crashing applications. This article covers the most common fixes and how to perform them and is our first line of defense when you reach out to us. After completing each step make sure you restart your system, if your Puget computer is still having problems updating we may recommend reaching out to Microsoft as they are best equipped to service their software/product.

Windows 10 Update Troubleshooter

The built-In Windows 10 Update Troubleshooter is a powerful tool with a lot of functionality. It will often resolve update issues and if it doesn't will regularly identify the culprit preventing the update from coming through. It’s the easiest method to try, so go ahead and run it first. The troubleshooter performs three actions:

  • It shuts down Windows Update Services.

  • It renames the C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution folder to C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution.old , essentially clearing the Windows Update download cache so that it can start over.

  • It restarts the Windows Update Services.

This troubleshooter is available on Windows 7, 8, and 10. You’ll find it in the same place on all modern versions of Windows.

1. To run the troubleshooter, select Start, search for 'troubleshooting' and then select the first option.

2. In the Control Panel list of troubleshooters, in the 'System and Security' section, click 'Fix problems with Windows Update.'

3. In the Windows Update troubleshooting window, click 'Advanced.'

4. In the advanced settings, make sure that the 'Apply repairs automatically' check box is enabled, click 'Run as administrator' and then click Next. Giving the tool administrative privileges helps ensure that it can delete files in the download cache.

The troubleshooter works through its process and then lets you know whether it could identify and fix the problem. Most of the time, the troubleshooter can successfully remove a stuck update from the queue. Go ahead and try running Windows Update again and if it doesn't work Microsoft offers some resources for possible solutions, see below:

Microsoft Windows 10 Update Assistant

The Windows 10 Update Assistant downloads and installs feature updates on your device and is a downloadable application that frequently solves update woes. Navigate to the following link then select 'Update Now'. Download and run the tool, follow through each prompt and Windows should update successfully. Restart the system and if it doesn't solve the problem, move on to the next step.

Microsoft Windows Update Assistant


Manually Restart Update Service

1. Select the Start button and type 'Services' and select the first option

2. In the new window, locate 'Background Intelligent Transfer Service', right click and select 'Stop'

3. Locate the 'Windows Update' service, right click and select 'Stop'

4. Select the Start button and type 'CMD', right click the first option and select 'Run as Administrator'

5. In the new window type the following command and hit enter:

start %windir%/SoftwareDistribution

6. Delete everything in the folder that opens. Press Ctrl+A to select all of the files in the folder, then press Shift+Delete and click Yes to permanently delete the files.

7. Now restart the services previously stopped. In the Services window, right click Background Intelligent Transfer Service and click Start, then right click Windows Update and click Start.

8. Try downloading your updates again before restarting.

DISM

We will use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool. Then, attempt to install the Windows update or service pack again.

  1. Point to the lower-left corner of the screen, and then click Start. Type 'CMD' in the Search box
  2. Right-click Command Prompt, and then click 'Run as administrator'. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.
  3. Type the following command, and then press Enter.
    It may take several minutes for the command operation to be completed.
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Clearing update cache

In order to do this correctly, you will want to boot the system into Safe Mode. While it's a little more challenging to get into Safe Mode with current Windows versions, it's worth it to make sure the Cache is emptied successfully.

Check out THIS link to get into Safe Mode.

Once in Safe Mode

  1. Select the 'Start' button and type 'CMD'
  2. Right click the first option and select 'Run as Administrator'

Copy the following command into CMD prompt then hit enter

rd /S /Q C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution

Once that one finishes processing you will be presented with the option to input a command again, type in the following and hit enter

rd /S /Q C:$WINDOWS.~BT

Flush network

In a last ditch effort to troubleshoot, you should flush your DNS settings along with resetting the WinSock protocol for your Windows 10 PC.

Open an administrator-elevated Command Prompt and copy and paste the following commands.

ipconfig /flushdns

netsh winsock reset

netsh winsock reset proxyling

Conclusion

As always, Puget Systems Support is here to help if you run into any issues and feel free to reach out to see if we have any other solutions. This article is here to bridge the gap between the support we can offer and you having to reach out to Microsoft as that can be painful at times. We have heard success stories when using the following phone number to contact Microsoft and they offer free technical support for their Windows 10 operating system if you have legally purchased the OS. If you purchased a system from us, your system came with a legal copy of Microsoft Windows 10.

Need help with your Puget Systems PC?

If something is wrong with your Puget Systems PC. We are readily accessible, and our support team comes from a wide range of technological backgrounds to better assist you!

Contact Puget Systems Support

Looking for more support guides?

If you are looking for a solution to a problem you are having with your PC, we also have a number of other support guides that may be able to assist you with other issues.

Puget Systems Online Help Guides

Tags: 10, Windows Updates, Windows 10, Windows, update, Troubleshooting
bdot

I've found that the only thing that can get the large updates to go through is a format C:.
If you call Microsoft, they will remote into your machine and start the update process. it will fail. You will have to call back in as they don't want to wait on the phone while it happens. You will call back in and they will tell you the only way to do updates is to reformat the hard drive. If you ask them anything else, they will start the update process twice at the same time and mess up your hard drive. If you escalate to a manager, they will tell you the same thing.

There is a really giant log that gets saved to the computer and it shows everything that happens all the way up to the point it fails and then it shows the process in reverse as it fixes things back. If you ask Microsoft about the log in assistance to figure out why updates do not work, they will tell you they don't use logs. They only know that people have to reformat their hard drives.

Posted on 2020-04-15 15:44:32
Chad Warmenhoven

That is precisely why we wrote this article. Microsoft support can occasionally be VERY helpful but there are plenty of experiences similar to yours so we understand that sometimes they skip right to the end (reformat/reinstall) rather than troubleshooting. Sometimes that is the correct move as well though.

Posted on 2020-07-22 20:25:08