Windows 10 is an operating system that updates itself almost every single day
Because Microsoft is trying to send us all security and major updates as soon as they get released.
If you want to know more about the latest Windows update and what it contains, make sure to take a look at this article, which we update with every new big release of Windows 10.
Frequent updates are great but installing them so frequently may lead some users sometimes to get stuck during the update. The progress freezes and they have nothing to do to make it resume.
Well, if this just happened to you, follow this guide to help you:
- leave the update and get back to normal Windows, and…
- resume the update without getting stuck again.
So let’s get right to it and fix our Windows update!
Update – June 12th 2018:
If you’re currently getting your update stuck at 81%, the issue might be compatibility of the newest Windows versions (1803 / 1709) with an old wifi card you have on your computer.
Try the solutions below first, but if all else fails, you might have to physically remove your wifi card from the computer.
The update might then simply go through, but if it doesn’t – that could be because your computer needs to be connected to the internet to download a part of the update.
You will need to connect to the internet either via an ethernet cable to the modem/router, or simply by putting a new wifi card in your computer.
How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update
Situation 1: You’re stuck with the Windows update progress bar
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
- Now, jump to the next step by clicking here.
Situation 2: You’re stuck with Windows 10 Update (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.
- 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!
1. 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.
2. 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 by clicking 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 the 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):
- 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):
- 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 Basic Input/Output System (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.
Situation 3: Re-install Windows 10 – Your PC will Restart Several Times
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.
Situation 4 (Bonus!): Windows Update Stuck Upon Restart
Is your update not stuck anymore, but every time you restart and let it run it gets stuck?
If none of these is your problem and your Windows update refuses to work at all because of a metered connection, then you may like to check out this article to tell you everything about it and how to turn that on/off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if my computer freezes while updating?
When your entire computer freezes, be it during an update or on regular runs, most of the times the only solution left is to restart it. Sadly, this can sometimes cause fatal errors that can only be solved by restoring an older clone of your OS or by reinstalling your Windows 10 or 11 from scratch.
Otherwise, if no fatal errors occur during the next restart, then you might just be good to go. Once unfrozen, you can try any of the above fixes for your computer’s update problems to see if they work.
What happens if you turn your computer off during an update?
Because old files are being modified or replaced during an update, it is highly important not to turn your computer off during this process. Of course, sometimes you might experience a blackout or maybe your kid presses the power button while you’re not paying attention. In these cases, sadly, your files might become corrupted.
If this happens, you’ll also be unfortunately stuck with the daunting task of restoring an older version of your Windows build by yourself. Or, if you don’t have a system restore point ready, you might have to reinstall your OS if certain files become corrupted.
How do I cancel Windows 10 update?
Normally, you can’t cancel a Windows 10 update when it’s already in progress, you can only pause it. Fortauntely, this being Windows, there’s a workaround to that as well. Here’s how to do just that:
- Press Windows key+R, then type gpedit.msc, then select OK.
- Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.
- Search for and select an entry called Configure Automatic Updates.
- Using the toggle options on the left-hand side, select Disabled.
- Select OK.
There you have it! Hopefully, these methods were able to help you fix your Windows update.
Do you have another method that you use when your Windows 10 update gets stuck? Share it with us in the comments below!