The Windows Update service is an essential feature in all Windows versions, because it is needed to provide all the available important and optional updates needed for the proper Windows operation and security.
In many cases, even in fresh Windows installations, Windows Update is not working as expected, or it stucks when checking for updates or it displays several errors whenever you try to search for the available updates. In such cases your system may become slow or unresponsive, because the Windows Update service (svchost.exe) causes high CPU usage.
The Windows Update problems often occur on Windows 7 or Vista based computers and in most cases, the errors are caused without any obvious reason and without a permanent solution to fix them from Microsoft. For all these reasons, I decided to write this troubleshooting guide, with the most efficient methods to resolve Windows Update problems on Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7 OS.
Problems-Symptoms that are solved with this guide:
Windows Update is checking for updates forever.
Windows Update stuck/freezes.
Windows Update cannot find new updates.
Windows Update cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running.
Windows Update occurred an Unknown error: Code 8007000E
How to Solve Windows Update Issues. (Windows 10/8.1/8/7)
1. Before proceeding to apply the methods below, in order to troubleshoot Window Update problems, make sure that the Date and Time settings are correct on your system.
2. Try the following trick: Change the Windows Update settings from "Install updates automatically" to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them". Click OK to apply settings and then Check for updates.
3. If you have performed a fresh Windows 7 or Server 2008 installation, install Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, before you continue.
4. 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.
Method 1. Force Windows to re-create the Windows Update Store folder (Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7)
The Windows Update Store folder (commonly known as "SoftwareDistribution" folder), is the location where Windows stores the downloaded updates.
-If the SoftwareDistribution folder becomes corrupted then it causes problems with Windows Update. So, one of the most efficient solutions to resolve problems with Windows Update, is to recreate the SoftwareDistribution folder. 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 2. Install the KB3102810 (KB3102812) security Update. (Windows 7 & 8.1).
I have seen many times, that Windows Update is checking for updates forever (stuck) without finding updates, even in fresh Windows 8, 7 or Vista installations. Thankfully, Microsoft has released a security update to resolve the "Installing and searching for updates is slow and CPU utilization is high" issue. To apply the fix:
Step 1. Install Internet Explorer 11. *
* Note: This step is applied only to a fresh Windows 7 or Windows 2008 installation. If Internet Explorer 11 is already installed on your system, then skip this step and continue to step 2 below.
1. Download and install Internet Explorer 11 according to your OS version.
2. Restart your computer.
Step 2. Install the KB3102810 Update.
1. Download – but do not install it yet – the following security update according to your OS version, to your computer:
2. After the download, restart your computer.
3. After the restart, immediately install the security update, otherwise the installation hangs.
4. After the installation, restart your computer.
Step 3. Delete the SoftwareDistribution folder.
1. Follow the steps in Method-1 and delete the "SoftwareDistribution" folder.
2. Restart your computer.
2. Navigate to Windows Update and check for updates. Then, let it run at-least half to one hour. If you 're lucky, Windows will find all available updates.
Method 3. Install the latest Update Rollup to fix Windows Update issues.
The Windows Update Rollups, in most cases can fix issues with Windows Update. But before installing the latest Windows update rollup, first change the way that Windows install updates to "Never check for updates (not recommended". To do that:
3. Select Change settings on the left.
4. Set Never check for updates (not recommended).
6. Proceed and download the latest Windows Update rollup for your system, but don't install it (yet).
7. After the download, restart your computer.
8. After restart, then proceed and install the downloaded rollup.
9. Check for updates.
Method 4. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter (Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7).
Microsoft offered the Windows Update Troubleshooter tool, in order to fix problems with Windows Update.
1. Download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter, according to your Windows Version in order to reset the Windows Update components.
- Windows Update Troubleshooter for Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7
- Windows Update Troubleshooter for Windows 10
2. Restart your computer.
3. Check for updates.
Method 5. FIX Corrupted System Files and Services (SFC). (Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7)
The next method to solve Windows Update problems is to run the System File Checker (SFC) tool in order to fix Windows' corrupted files and services. To do that:
1. Open an elevated command prompt:
2. In the command window, type the following command and press Enter.
- SFC /SCANNOW
3. Wait and do not use your computer until SFC tool checks and fixes the corrupted system files or services.
4. When SFC tool finishes, reboot your computer and check for Updates.
Method 6: FIX Windows corruption errors with the System Update Readiness tool (DISM).
The System Update Readiness tool is a Microsoft tool that can fix Windows corruption errors.
Windows 7, Vista & Server 2008:
1. Download and save to your desktop the System Update Readiness tool according to your Windows version.
2. Double click to install the downloaded file (e.g. Windows6.1-KB947821-v34-x86.msu).
3. When the installation is completed, restart your computer and try to install Windows Updates.
Windows 10, 8, 8.1 & Server 2012:
- Dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth
3. Be patient until DISM repairs component store.
4. When the operation is completed, you should be informed that the component store corruption was repaired.
5. Close command prompt window and restart your computer.
6. Check for updates.
Method 7: 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) and double click at "UpdateInstaller.exe" application.
8. Place a check at "Automatic reboot and recall" checkbox.
9. Finally press the Start button and be patient until the WSUS Offline Update installer, installs the downloaded updates to your system.
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.