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How to Use Windows Update Troubleshooter (FULL GUIDE)

Windows 10 delivers updates, big and small, via Windows Updates. Windows Updates is a stock Windows 10 service and it can check for, download, and install updates on a Windows 10 system from the Settings app.

The Windows Update service is great in theory but it has had a lot of problems since day. Windows updates don’t have the best record either; they sometimes fail to install or they cause problems once they’ve been installed and have to be rolled back.

Windows Update Troubleshooter

Windows Update troubleshooter

Microsoft isn’t oblivious to problems with its updates or its update service. It acknowledges when an update has broken something and either releases an update to fix it or provides instructions to roll it back. 

If you have problems with the Windows update service though, it means you won’t be able to check for a service or download or install it. The process may break at any point but it leaves you with an outdated system.

Run Windows Update troubleshooter

If you’re unable to get updates via Windows update, you should run the built-in troubleshooter for the service.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to the Update & security tab.
  3. Select the Troubleshoot tab.
  4. Click Additional troubleshooters.
  5. Select the Windows Update troubleshooter.
  6. Run it and apply all fixes that it recommends.
  7. Restart the system and check for updates.

windows update troubleshooter

Manually install updates

If you’re still unable to get an update, you can manually install it from the Microsoft Update Catalog. It is an online repository of all the updates that Microsoft releases. 

To determine which update it is you need to install, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to Update & Security.
  3. Select Windows Update.
  4. Click Check for updates. 
  5. Note down the number for the update.
  6. Visit the Microsoft Update Catalog.
  7. Search for the update.
  8. Select the correct one for your system and download it.
  9. Run the CAB file like you would an EXE file.
  10. The update will be installed.

General troubleshooting steps

In addition to running the Windows Update troubleshooter, you should also try the following.

  • Make sure you have enough free space on your system to download the update. Normally, keeping 20GB empty on the Windows drive is a good idea.
  • Restart your system if you have pending updates to install. 
  • Remove external hardware e.g., USB disks, external drives, SD cards, phones, etc.
  • Make sure your internet connection is stable. If it disconnects at random, the update will fail to download or it may download with errors. 
  • Delete the downloaded updates from C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download and download them again.
  • Open Command Prompt with admin rights and run these two commands, one-by-one to fix problems with system files: scf/scannow and DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.

Conclusion

Windows updates as a service has stabilized a great deal over the years. If you’re trying to install updates on an exceptionally outdated version of Windows 10, it may be better to perform a clean install of the newest version instead.

Older Windows 10 versions have problems that were resolved via updates to the OS and there isn’t any way around it.

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