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Just like previous versions of Windows, Microsoft releases updates for Windows 10 on a regular basis. These updates provide important security patches and can improve the overall functionality of Windows.
Most of the time, you will want to use the built-in Windows Update utility in Windows 10 to apply updates or let them roll out on their own. However, even with updates being mandatory in Windows 10, sometimes they may not appear for download on your computer right away. This can be frustrating! Especially if you are eager to experience the new features of an update or are having software issues that you hope the update will fix. On top of that, there are times when updates are shown as available in the Windows Update utility but they fail to install correctly. This can also be extremely frustrating, as updates that are having a hard time completing can cause system slowdowns, lengthy boot times, and delayed shutdowns / restarts.
Good news: although Microsoft would prefer that you install updates using the built-in utility, they also provide a couple of alternative options for applying updates manually. This article will outline those options below.
It is important to note that installing updates as soon as they are available is not always the best choice, as some Microsoft updates are launched with existing, known issues still present. This could disrupt your workflow or cause your system to become unstable. It is a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of updating early, and to install updates at a time when you can afford to be without the computer for several hours should something go wrong.
If you manually install an update and find yourself regretting the choice, please see our article on recovery options for Windows 10.
Checking For Updates
Before exercising options to install updates manually, it is a good idea to check the built in Windows 10 utility to make sure the update hasn’t already installed on it’s own. It may well just be sitting there, pending a restart. These steps will help you check to see if your system is up to date, determine if there are pending updates waiting to be installed, or view your system’s update history.
- Head to the Windows 10 search box on your taskbar
- Type “Windows Update” (without the quotation marks)
- Select “Check for Updates” from the search findings
- A “Settings” window will appear
If you have pending updates to install, the window will look something like this:
If your system is already up to date, the window will look like this instead:
If your system says it is up to date, but you want to check to ensure that a specific update has been installed, just head to the View Update History section of the settings window:
The update history will show you the last major feature update, quality updates (a.k.a security updates) and any recent driver updates that have been applied to your system.
The view of that update history may look similar to this:
If you view the recent history but don’t find the specific update you were looking for, it may not have been installed on your system.
If you would like to go ahead and install the update manually, please see the instructions below.
Windows Update Assistant
On Microsoft’s website, they provide a section for Windows software downloads covering Windows 10, 8, and 7. As new cumulative updates roll out, Microsoft provides the combined packages on that site.
If you would like to manually install a bunch of recent updates at once, just head to the Windows software page linked above. Once there, select the version of Windows you have, download the update assistant, and run the executable file to install the updates.
Microsoft Update Catalog
All Windows updates are made available as they are released via the Microsoft Update Catalog website. The Microsoft Update Catalog is designed with the IT professional in mind, so it isn’t a very user-friendly website. However, it can still be a useful tool if there is a specific update or patch you are looking for.
It is important to note that this catalog does not simply list all available updates. Instead, once you arrive on the homepage for the catalog, you will need to search for the specific update you are looking for. The preferred way to do this is to search using the Knowledge Base (KB, for short) number that is associated with the update. However, finding the KB number for certain updates can be tricky since Windows updates are often publicly referred to via their version number or nickname. For example: the most recent Windows update is referred to publicly via the following names: Redstone 4, Spring 2018 Cumulative Update, Version 1803, Build 17134… and the list goes on. That being said, the Microsoft Update Catalog can still provide results when searching using these other key names as well. If you know the relevant KB number certainly start with that, but if not then try other terms and you should be able to find the update you want.
Hopefully this article helps alleviate any Windows 10 update issues you may be having.
If you have attempted to install a Windows update manually, but are still having Windows update issues, Microsoft Support can be contacted here.
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