Windows 10 is an operating system that updates almost every single day

Windows 10 updates itself very frequently. That’s because Microsoft is trying to send you security and major updates as soon as they get released. That may be a good idea but sometimes you find yourself stuck in an update: the progress freezes and you have nothing to do to make it resume. Well, if this just happened to you then this guide will help you to:

  1. leave the update and get back to normal Windows, and…
  2. resume the update without getting stuck again.

So, let’s get right to it: fixing our Windows Update!

Situation 1: If Your Windows Looks Something Like The Photo Below Right Now (The Progress Bar Is Stuck) – Click Here.

Situation 2: If Your Windows Looks Something Like THIS Photo Below Right Now (The Blue Screen Is Stuck) – Click Here.Situation 3: If Your Update Is Not Stuck Anymore, But Every Time You Restart And Let It Run It Gets Stuck – Click Here.

Situation 1: You’re stuck with the the Windows update progress bar (frozen while downloading or installing).

In this case, your download or installation progress bar is frozen at some point and it’s not moving forward. Follow these steps to fix it:

I- Make sure it’s really stuck

Sometimes, you may feel like it’s stuck, but in fact, the update is fixing a few things and you’ll find yourself jumping from 23% to 47% instantly after 30 minutes of waiting. That’s why you have to wait around 2 to 3 hours before you know that you’re really stuck. If nothing changes on your screen for 3 hours then you can now safely assume that your update froze and you have to get out of it.

Another way to tell if the update is stuck or not is to check if there’s activity in your CPU usage, RAM and network. To do so:

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+ESC buttons and the task manager will show up.
  • Click More details if you’re not seeing the big panel (see picture).
  • Go to the performance tab and check the activity of CPU, Memory, Disk and Internet connection too. If there’s a lot of activity that may mean you’re not stuck and some invisible progress is taking place.

II- Found that you’re stuck? Restart your computer

  • Try the normal restart.
  • If your computer is frozen and you can’t click on the start button, press Ctrl+Alt+Del and then choose the restart from the power option in the bottom right corner.Image result for ctrl alt delete windows 10
  • Now, jump to the next step by clicking here.

Situation 2: You’re stuck with the blue screen.

In this case, you will have to force your computer to shut down and then start it again. Make sure to be patient before doing this: only if it has been frozen for more than 3 hours, then you are safe to do this and it won’t damage your computer.

  • Press and hold the power button until the computer / laptop is completely shut and then power it on manually.Image result for hold power button
  • Press the power button one more time to start your computer normally. It may take sometime after being forced to shut down, don’t worry and wait until it’s completely up.

Now that you’ve restarted your computer, let’s go through some checks and fixes to make sure the update works next time!

Step I: Use the update troubleshooter to fix your update settings.

  • Type Troubleshoot in start menu and then choose Troubleshoot.
  • Choose Windows Update and click Run the troubleshooter. 
  • If needed, choose Try troubleshooting as an administrator.
  • Choose Apply this fix.
  • Close the troubleshooter.

Step II: Now let’s clear your Update cache manually in safe mode!

The troubleshooter actually should do this automatically, but for some reason it fails sometimes… This is how you make sure the cache is really cleared. The best way to do this is in safe mode:

Restart your computer in safe mode from System Configuration

  • Type system configuration and then choose System Configuration.
  • Open the Boot tab and check the Safe mode checkbox, minimal and click OK.
  • Choose Restart to restart you computer now.
  • Jump to the next step from here.

Is your computer completely frozen and you can’t access the system configuration menu?

If it is, follow this method to enter safe mode:

  • You will have to interrupt the boot process three times in a row. To do so, hold the power button as soon as you see the Windows logo, right after the computer manufacturer logo. This will turn off your computer. Turn it on again and interrupt the boot process again in the same way. Do this 3 times in total.
  • After the third interruption, power your computer up without interrupting, and you’ll see a message under the Windows logo saying “Preparing Automatic Repair”.
  • Now, you will see another message saying “Diagnosing your PC”, keep waiting for a little while.
  • Now that you see this screen, choose Advanced options.
  • Go for Troubleshoot.
  • Pick Advanced options.
  • We are about to finish, choose Startup Settings.
  • Now, click Restart.
  • After this, press F4 or F5 when you see a list of options for restart. F4 will make you restart your computer in safe mode. You can also press F5 to launch safe mode with networking if you’ll need to use internet to follow this post while fixing in safe mode.

Now that you have successfully launched safe mode, let’s continue our fixing mission:

  • Type cmd in start menu, right click on Command Prompt and then choose Run as administrator
  • Click Yes to give it permission .
  • Type the following commands to stop the Windows Update service (Press Enter after each command):
net stop wuauserv
net stop bits
  • Navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and delete all the files and folders there. Don’t worry, the next time Windows Update will run, it will recreate all of them from scratch with less probability to get an error.

Now let’s restart the Windows Update service using the Command Prompt as administrator.

  • Type the following commands to Start the Windows Update service (Press Enter after each command):
net start wuauserv
net start bits
  • Restart your computer once again and check for Windows Updates from Settings. Check if things go smoothly this time! We hope they do. If not, read on.

Step III: Updates still getting stuck? Try System Restore

This will bring back your computer to a previous state, this may help avoid any error that happened recently and run the update again cleanly:

  • Open Control Panel and search for recovery.
  • Open System restore.
  • Click Next.
  • Choose a previous restore point and click Next.
  • Click Finish.
  • After the system restore is finished, try checking for updates again.

Step IV: Update still getting stuck?? Restart/recover your PC

If you run out of options then you should recover your system. Fortunately, there’s an option to recover your system without deleting any files but it’s safest to have a backup of your important files before you do this.

  • Type recovery in start menu and then choose Recovery Options.
  • Click Get Started.
  • Choose either Keep my files or Remove everything.
  • Check for updates again.

A note before the last solution:

You may be facing some problems because of some BIOS bugs, but trying to solve them may lead to a complete breakdown in which your computer won’t be able to boot up. This has happened to us and that’s why we don’t recommend playing with your BIOS and we didn’t put that option into the guide.

If you do choose to mess with your BIOS, make sure you use the correct tools that:

  • you downloaded from your computer manufacturer’s website, and…
  • fit the exact model number of your computer.

A full backup is also recommended if you intend to make any changes to the BIOS.

Last Solution: Re-install Windows 10

If none of the previous steps works, you should re-install your Windows 10. A fresh copy is always a good last solution and it’s important for Windows Update to be working smoothly.

Note: We have another guide that explains how to stop Windows’ automatic updates completely. If you just got your computer unstuck but the updates still aren’t working well and you want to just stop them from downloading and installing themselves automatically, go here: https://win10faq.com/windows-modules-installer-worker-using-high-cpu-fix/

Still stuck? Ask your question in our forum!

About Author

Mina studies communications and electronics engineering and works as a technical support. He keeps himself up to date with the latest developments and news in technology. He loves helping people with their daily tech issues, so he's always ready to go the extra mile.

6 Comments

  1. Well IDK, …I must be attempting to upgrade a system that is several dozen builds newer than when this post was written, and sadly Microsoft hasn’t eased up with their updates and freezing software any. I don’t have access to anything other than a simple blue screen which says “Working on updates 74% complete Don’t turn off your computer”, so I don’t have any of these recovery options, and since the computer was frozen I did hazard an attempt at pressing the power button and initiating a hard reboot. When rebooted, I get no options of entering the safe mode, or initiating a system restore, the system goes directly back into attempting to work on the updates….and gets caught up and frozen at the exact same spot as what it did before the reboot. 🙁

    • Hello Tara,
      I believe the build is not the problem but I’ll help you launch safe mode without waiting Windows to startup, please follow these steps:
      When you power up your computer/laptop, just after the logo of your device manufacturer the Windows logo will appear. You will have to interrupt the boot process three times in a row, to do so, hold the power button as soon as you see the Windows logo. Repeat this for 3 times. Now power it up, you’ll see a message under the Windows logo saying “Preparing Automatic Repair”, then another message saying “Diagnosing your PC”, then choose Advanced options, then Troubleshoot, follow this path: Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart. After this, press F4 when you see a list of options for restart, F4 will make you restart your computer in safe mode. You can also press F5 to start safe mode with networking. Once you restart and get into safe mode, follow the steps found in the guide to help you remove any old damaged updates and then you’ll be able to start your computer normally and update from scratch. If you have any questions or need any further help, please visit our forum and create a new thread and we’ll be happy to reply: https://win10faq.com/forums
      Good luck!

  2. Hi, Mina, I have faced this issue lots of times. But, after reading your answer I follow these steps using safe mode, now my problems are being solved. Thanks, for sharing an informative article. Keep updating.

    • Hello, Ross! We’re very glad it helped you and thanks for sharing your experience with us. Follow our website for more guides and feel free to post in our forums for any issued that you might face in the future with regards to Windows 10.
      https://win10faq.com/forums

  3. Sebastian Nienajadlo on

    I have an issue where my computer wont boot anymore. I tried the troubleshoot but there’s no option called startup settings. All I have is ‘System Restore’ ‘Command Prompt’ ‘System Image Recovery’ ‘Go back to the previous version’ and ‘Startup Repair’. I want to point out that I cant avoid this screen even when I try to restart my pc. Also startup repair and go to previous version both dont work. Please help.

    • Hello Sebastian,
      have you tried to start your computer in safe mode? Sometimes it an fix this problem. I’m talking about this part of the guide:
      You will have to interrupt the boot process three times in a row. To do so, hold the power button as soon as you see the Windows logo, right after the computer manufacturer logo. This will turn off your computer. Turn it on again and interrupt the boot process again in the same way. Do this 3 times in total.
      After the third interruption, power your computer up without interrupting, and you’ll see a message under the Windows logo saying “Preparing Automatic Repair”.
      Try to follow all the steps at this part and if it’s still stuck please head to our forums, send us your computer model number and a photo of the screen you ant to avoid:
      https://win10faq.com/forums
      Good luck!

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