You’ve seen it happen before – Windows Update is updating…and it freezes. Nothing is happening! Windows Update freezes most commonly on Windows 7, but Windows 8 and 10 both share this problem as well.
Whatever you do, do NOT switch off automated updating. Instead, read on and you’ll learn how to fix this problem the next time it comes up.
Method 1: Using a Troubleshooter for Windows Update
A built-in feature of Windows, the Troubleshooter will first shut down the update services when you click on it. Next, it will rename the folder called C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution into C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old that way you will have a clear download cache for the updater. Finally, the Troubleshooter resets the updater.
These are the steps you have to take to start the troubleshooter:
- Click Start and search for the term “troubleshooting”
- Enter the Control Panel and click on System and Security pick the option Fix Problems with Windows Update
- Click on Advanced and check Apply Repairs Automatically;
- Click the option to run the program as an administrator, and then click Next;
- Wait for the Troubleshooter to finish; once it does, run the updater again to check if it works.
After doing all of these steps, Windows Update should work properly.
Method 2: Manually Delete the Cache
Do this method if the Troubleshooter didn’t help you with your problem.
- Boot your PC in Safe Mode
- Enter Start and search for the term Command Prompt once it pops up, launch it.
- In Command Prompt, type in the term ‘net stop wuauserv’ and click Enter, but don’t close the Command Prompt window yet;
- Open File Explorer and find C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution delete everything you see in that folder
- In Command Prompt, type ‘net start wuauserv’ to restart Windows Update and hit Enter;
- Close Command Prompt and restart Windows in normal mode.
After doing all of these steps, restart your Windows Update to check if it’s working normally again.
Method 3: Update the Update Service (Windows 7)
Normally when you install Windows 7, the Updater will take a long time to work. This is because the updater itself needs an update. It might sound like a paradox, but it’s true.
Microsoft themselves have provided a solution to this problem. These are the steps you should undertake:
- Enter Control Panel and click System and Security; this is where Windows Update is
- In the sidebar, click on Change Settings, then choose the option Never Check for Updates (Not Recommended)
- Reboot your PC
- Manually download two Windows 7 updates and install them.
Before moving further, you should pay attention to one detail. If your Windows is a 32-bit edition, you’ll need 32-bit versions of these updates. This also goes for 64-bit Windows and its updates.
These two updates are needed for the 64-bit Windows:
- KB3020369, April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7 (64-bit version)
- KB3172605, July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 (64-bit version)
In case you’re using 32-bit Windows, you will need these updates:
- KB3020369, April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7 (32-bit version)
- KB3172605, July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 (32-bit version)
With both Windows versions, the “KB3020369” update comes first. These are the following steps to manually install these updates:
- Double-click the “KB3020369” update first and let it install
- Double-click the other update and let it install as well after the first one is done
- Restart your PC; allow it some 10 to 12 minutes to finish up the installation process
- After waiting, open Control Panel again, then System and Security, and finally Windows Update, like in the first step
- Set the Windows Update back to Automatic and click OK
- Click on the Check for Updates option and allow the program to install what it needs to.
With some luck, that should be enough to get the Updates to work properly again.
Method 4: Convenience Rollup (Windows 7)
A convenience rollup is a bundle where you get many updates which you can install quickly. If you don’t want to wait for Windows Update to finish its stuff, download the rollup and install it.
Naturally, Microsoft does not provide these rollups officially via the Update. You will have to find a convenience rollup yourself using other means. However, once you find it, you can install it easily right after you get Windows 7 on your PC.
To install the convenience rollup, you can either do it yourself or ask a professional. Once you install it, you will deal with fewer updates that come in regularly through the Windows Update. This will speed up the process a lot.
Method 5: Manually Download Updates – Using WSUS Offline Update (Windows 7, 8, and 10)
Most of the time, the solutions in previous paragraphs would be enough. However, there are situations when none of the above helps. But don’t panic, as there is one more solution that can help, though it involves a third-party tool not associated with Windows. This tool is called WSUS Offline Update.
When active, WSUS downloads any Windows Update package that’s on Microsoft and installs it on your PC. All you have to do is run it and let it do its thing. The moment it installs the updates, you should run Windows Update, and it should work properly. Remember, this is the last solution, and is one that rarely fails.
These are the steps you must take to install and use WSUS Offline Update:
- Download and install the tool by extracting the .zip file
- If you have a 64-bit Windows, pick the “x64 Global” version of WSUS; For 32-bit Windows go with “x86 Global”
- Click on Start and allow WSUS to download all the needed updates.
If you’ve just installed Windows 7, expect lots of updates, so you might have to wait a bit for them all to download. Naturally, how fast they’ll download will depend on how fast your internet connection is, as well as how fast the Microsoft’s download servers are at that moment. When WSUS downloads them, click on the “client” folder and run the application called UpdateInstaller.exe. Clicking on “Start” will install each update. The minute it finishes, your Windows Update ought to work properly.
The Future of Windows Update
Microsoft had noted the problems users had with Windows Update. Since 2016, they were working on providing their community bundles of bigger updates alongside smaller, sparser regular updates. On top of that, older updates will get regular, monthly rollups. As such, they will be easier to download and update Windows manually. In short, you will no longer have to rely on texts like these to repair your Windows Update. You will instead get faster, quicker and more reliable updates directly from Microsoft.