Last updated on April 1st, 2021
This troubleshooting guide contains several methods to help users to fix Windows 10 Update problems such as errors during downloading or installing updates or other issues that may occur while upgrading Windows 10 to a most recent version (build).
Many Windows 10 PC owners face several problems during the installation of a new critical Windows 10 update and in most cases, the update installation error message, such as the "Something Happened – Windows 10 Installation Has Failed" or the "Feature update to Windows 10 Failed to install", does not help solve the problem. (I never understood why updating a system that works normally should be so time-consuming and often unsuccessful).
Unfortunately, there is not only one method to solve all the different problems that may occur during updating or upgrading Windows 10, so I decided to write this guide which includes all the methods that I have used from time to time to solve similar problems.
Windows 10 update or upgrade issues that were fixed with this troubleshooting guide:
Windows 10 Update Installation is stuck/freezes
Windows 10 Upgrade Installation is stuck/freezes
Windows 10 Installation Error: Something Happened – Windows 10 Installation Has Failed.
Feature update to Windows 10 Failed to install.
Windows 10 Update fails to install.
Windows 10 could not complete the installation of an update.
Windows 10 cannot find or download updates.
How to Solve Windows 10 Update or Upgrade Problems
Important: Before applying the methods mentioned below to troubleshoot Windows 10 Update/Upgrade issues, proceed and apply the following steps and then try to update Windows 10 again.
Step 1. Ensure that you have signed in with an account with administrative privileges.
Step 2. Make sure that the Date, Time & Regional settings are correct.
Step 4. Open Windows Services and set the following services to start Automatically at Windows Startup (Startup type=Automatic).
- App Readiness
- Background Intelligent Transfer Service
- Cryptographic Services
- Windows Modules Installer
- Windows Update
Step 5. Disconnect all the peripheral devices that you don't need (e.g. USB Drives, SD Cards, USB Wireless Mouse or Keyboard Receiver, USB Wireless Network Card, Printer etc.).
Step 6. Turn off the Developer Mode:
- Go to Settings -> Update and Security -> For developers -> Select Sideload apps and then click Yes to confirm.
- Then, navigate to Settings –> Apps -> Manage optional features -> Windows Developer Mode –> click Uninstall.
- Restart your PC and try to update.
Step 7. Make sure that your computer is clean from viruses and malware. To accomplish this task you can use this Malware Scan and Removal Guide to check and remove viruses or/and malicious programs that may be running on your computer.
Step 8. At Power Options (in Control Panel), set Put the computer to Sleep to Never & also disable the Fast Startup.
Step 9. Make sure that you have enough free space on your disk (at least 30GB).
Step 10. Delete the useless files with Disk Cleanup. by using the instructions in this tutorial: How to Free Up Disk Space with Disk Cleanup.
Step 11. Download and install the latest Servicing stack update, for the installed Windows 10 version and architecture (32/64-bit). (To view the installed Windows 10 version/architecture, go to: Start -> Settings –> System –> About.)
Step 12. Update essential device drivers. Navigate to your hardware's vendor support site and download and install the latest drivers for the Chipset and the Graphics adapter (VGA). Additionally, sometimes there is the need to uninstall the VGA driver or to update the system BIOS in order to install an update.
Step 13. Disable -or better- temporarily uninstall all non-Microsoft security software (antivirus, antimalware, firewall, etc.), to avoid compatibility issues with the latest Windows updates.
Step 14. Disable the Secure Boot from BIOS settings.
Method 1. Run the Windows 10 Update Troubleshooter.
The first method to fix Windows 10 update problems is to run the Microsoft's Windows 10 Update Troubleshooter tool in Administrator mode. To do that:
1. Navigate to Control Panel –> Troubleshooting –> Fix problems with Windows Update.
2. When the troubleshooting process is complete, restart your computer.
3. Try to install the update.
Method 2. Force Windows to re-create the Windows Update Store folder
The second method to fix problems with the updates in Windows 10, is to recreate the Windows Update Store folder ("C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution"), which is the location where Windows stores the downloaded updates. To do that:
3. Right click on Windows Update service and select Stop.
4. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows folder.
5. Select and Delete the “SoftwareDistribution” folder.*
(Click Continue at "Folder Access Denied" window).
* Note: The next time that the Windows Update will run, a new empty SoftwareDistribution folder will be automatically created by Windows to store updates.
Method 3. Download and install the Windows 10 Update Manually.
The next method, to resolve the Windows 10 update issues is to download and install the failed update manually. To do that follow the instructions below according your case:
Case A: If you want to upgrade your Windows 10 version (e.g. from 1703 o 1709):
1. Navigate to Windows 10 download site and click the Update now button.
2. When asked, click to Run the downloaded file in order to start the installation immediately, or click the Save button to run the installer later.
3. Finally click the Update Now button and follow the on screen prompts to install the Update.
Case B: If you have problems when installing a standalone update:
1. Go to Settings –> Update & Security and open the Update History
2. Find out the KB number of the failed update. (e.g. "KB4025339")
3. Navigate to Microsoft Update Catalog.
4. Type the KB number of the failed update and click search.
5. Download and then install the update.
Method 4. Install Windows 10 Update in Selective Startup Mode (Clean Boot Mode).
3. At Services tab, check the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.
4. Then press the Disable all button, to disable all non Windows services that start with Windows.
5. Then select the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
6. Select one by one all startup items and click Disable.
7. Finally click OK and restart your computer.
8. Try to install the update. If the update installed without problems, then run "msonfig" again, check the "Normal Startup" at General tab, click OK and restart your computer normally.
Method 5. FIX Windows corruption errors with DISM & SFC tools.
1. Open command prompt as administrator. To do that:
1. In the Search box type: cmd or command prompt
2. Right click on the command prompt (result) and select Run as Administrator.
2. At the command prompt window, type the following command & press Enter:
- Dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth
3. Be patient until DISM repairs component store. When the operation is completed, (you should be informed that the component store corruption was repaired), give this command and press Enter:
- SFC /SCANNOW
4. When SFC scan is completed, restart your computer.
5. Try to update your system again.
Method 6. Check and Repair Hard Disk Errors.
If the hard disk contains errors, Windows 10 update will not be successful. So, proceed to check and repair the hard drive and then try to install the update again. To check and repair errors on your hard drive:
1. Open command prompt as administrator.
2. At command prompt, give the following command and press Enter: *
- chkdsk /F
1. You will be required to reboot the computer if run the CHKDSK command on the system drive.
2. By default the CHKDSK command, will check your main C: drive for errors. If after checking the drive C:, you want to repair errors on another drive (e.g. the drive "E:" ), then switch to that drive (e.g. by typing E: & pressing Enter) and give the same command.
Method 7. Identify the Cause of the Problem with SetupDiag.
Method 8. Repair Windows 10 with an in-place Upgrade.
Another method that usually works, to fix Windows 10 update problems, is to perform a Windows 10 Repair-Upgrade, by using the Media Creation tool to create an ISO or USB Windows 10 install media. For that task follow the detailed instructions on this article: How to repair Windows 10.
Method 9. Update Windows by using the WSUS Offline Update tool. (Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7).
1. Download the latest version of WSUS Offline Update utility.
2. After the download, extract the "wsusoffline.zip" file.
3. From the "wususoffline" folder, double click at UpdateGenerator.exe application.
4. At Windows tab, select the Windows Edition, that you are using.
5. Press the Start button.
6. Be patient until the WSUS Offline Update utility downloads all the available updates.
7. When the download is completed, open the client folder (wsusoffline\client), right click at "UpdateInstaller.exe" application and select Run as Administrator.
8. Finally press the Start button and be patient until the WSUS Offline Update installer, installs the downloaded updates to your system.
9. When the installation is completed, reboot your PC.
Method 10. Perform a Clean Windows 10 installation.
Many times, especially in computers with oldest Chipset and CPU, it is better and less time consuming to backup your files and to RESET your PC or to perform a clean Windows 10 installation, than to try to resolve update problems in Windows 10.
That's it! Which method worked for you?
Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.