How to Troubleshoot Windows Update Stuck Downloading

Maintaining the currency of your Windows 11 operating system is critical for both security and functionality. Updates frequently include vital security patches, enhancements to system stability, and occasionally new features that enhance your computing experience. However, users occasionally encounter issues where Windows Update fails to download or install these updates properly. This guide provides a structured approach to troubleshooting and resolving such issues, ensuring your system remains up-to-date and secure.

Steps to Troubleshoot Windows Update Issues

Restart Your Computer

Often, a simple system restart can resolve many temporary glitches, including update downloading problems. This step also ensures that any pending updates requiring a restart are completed.

Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

Built into Windows, this troubleshooter can identify and fix issues with Windows Update:

  1. Access the Settings app by pressing Windows Key + I.
  2. Navigate to System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters.
  3. Locate the Windows Update troubleshooter and click Run.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.
Windows update troubleshooter

Reset Windows Update Components

If updates are still stuck, resetting the update components might help.

  1. Press Windows + X on your keyboard (or right-click the Start menu icon) and choose Terminal (Admin).
  2. Enter the following four commands one by one, pressing Enter on your keyboard after each one:
    • net stop wauserv
    • net stop cryptSvc
    • net stop bits
    • net stop msiserver
  3. Rename the C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution folder with the following command: ren C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
  4. Rename the C:WindowsCatroot2 folder with this command: ren C:WindowsCatroot2 Catroot2.old
  5. Enter the following commands, pressing Enter after each one:
    • net start wauserv
    • net start cryptSvc
    • net start bits
    • net start msiserver
  6. Close the Terminal window and check if the Windows update is working as expected.

Free Up Disk Space

Lack of sufficient disk space can hinder update downloads. Use the Settings app to remove temporary files and free up space. Learn how here

Scan and Fix Corrupted Files

Corrupted system files can prevent updates from downloading. Run the DISM and SFC tools to scan for and repair corrupted files. The “How to Repair Windows 11 and 10 Image with DISM Command Tool” article will show you how.

Reset Your PC or Perform a Clean Installation

As a last resort, if updates still fail to download, consider resetting your PC to its factory settings or performing a clean installation of Windows. This step should guarantee that updates can be downloaded and installed, but it’s time-consuming and should only be undertaken if all other solutions fail.

Conclusion

While encountering issues with Windows updates can be disruptive, the solutions provided here cover a range of troubleshooting methods, from simple restarts to more involved processes like system resets. By following these steps, users can resolve most update downloading issues, ensuring their system remains secure and up-to-date. If problems persist, contacting Microsoft Support for further assistance is recommended. Keeping your system updated is vital for optimal performance and security, so addressing update issues promptly is essential.

author avatar
Derick Payne
My name is Derick Payne. With a deep-seated passion for programming and an unwavering commitment to innovation, I've spent the past 23 years pushing the envelope of what's possible. As the founder of Rizonetech and Rizonesoft, I've had the unique opportunity to channel my love for technology into creating solutions that make a difference.

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