Here’s how to fix a stuck Windows update
Updating Windows regularly is one of the most important things you can do to keep your PC running smoothly. The process should be performed at least every couple of weeks, if not more frequently.
Occasionally, you may run into a problem with a stuck Windows 10 update while updating. Don’t panic, it’s not as uncommon as you might think. Windows runs every aspect of your desktop, so it’s not surprising that unexpected problems can occur during updates.
Microsoft has done an admirable job making updating Windows 10 as painless as possible, but there is always a chance that it might not run as smoothly as hoped. If an issue occurs during an update, you should know how to fix a stuck Windows update.
Below you’ll find a guide on how to fix a stuck Windows update with a number of fixes that should get your progress bar moving again.
Check the update is really stuck
You might think this is an obvious step, but some updates require several hours, not minutes. It is strongly recommended that you give your PC some time to complete any updates on its own before taking any action.
Especially on older computers or laptops, updates can take a very long time. Steps below should be considered a last resort and should not be taken lightly. Hold fire and let the update complete itself if you have only given your device a couple minutes to update.
If your device doesn’t make any progress after waiting a sufficient amount of time, then follow the steps below.
Restart your device
If your update is stuck, then you should try the old tech support favorite of “turning it off and on again”. It’s a favorite for a reason, it works so well.
This should be a pretty easy process if you are downloading your update in the background, and you can restart as normal from the Start Menu, as you should still have access to Windows.
If, however, your update was stuck before the OS had actually loaded, you will need to perform a hard reset by pressing and holding the power button on your device. Taking this step could cause problems itself, which is why you should ensure the update is definitely stuck before doing so.
Check Windows Update settings
Windows will inform you if an issue is detected during the update installation. In some cases, you may receive a message telling you to try the update again later, or you may receive something more specific.
- Launch Settings. You can locate the Settings menu by typing its name into the bottom left search bar.
- Click Update & Security. Select Update & Security from the Settings menu. If you have trouble finding it, use the search bar at the top of the window.
- Check for any issues. Windows will flag any issues it detects during an update installation in the Update & Security submenu.
- Click Advanced options (optional). At the bottom of the Update & Security submenu, click Advanced options to get more information and to view your update history, which displays recently installed updates that were successful and allows you to uninstall them if necessary.
Run Microsoft’s troubleshooting program
It is no secret that Windows 10 devices can have issues from time to time, which is why Microsoft has created a troubleshooting program to make finding out what is causing the problem a little bit easier. Here’s how it works:
- Open the Control Panel. The Control Panel is located in the Start Menu, or you can use the search bar at the bottom left to find it.
- Click Troubleshooting. Navigate to the Troubleshooting option in the Control Panel.
- Click on Fix problem with Windows update. You can select the option Fix problems with Windows updates in the Troubleshooting submenu. Your device will then attempt to solve any problems itself.
Launch into Safe Mode
Basically, Safe Mode is a state in which your device is loaded with only the most basic features and all background programs are turned off. There is little chance of rogue files causing update issues when you run an update in safe mode, so doing so is a great way of avoiding any issues.
Restore Windows 10 to a previous state
Reverting your phone back to before you attempted the update is one of the most effective ways to fix a stuck update. As soon as you’ve done this, you can try installing the update again and hopefully this time it will go smoothly.
- Open Control Panel. The Control Panel can be accessed either from the Start Menu or by using the search box at the bottom left.
- Click on the System button. Select the System option from the Control Panel or simply type System Restore in the top right search bar.
- Click Create a restore point. If you choose Create a restore point, from here you can choose a time and date and go back to how Windows was configured at that time, hopefully fixing your update issues. During this process, you will not lose your personal files or programs, it will simply rewind the clock on the operating system itself.
Scan for viruses
If your Windows 10 update is stuck, there may be a virus or malware causing havoc on your device.
It is common for malicious viruses to be patched out of Windows by the latest updates, so frequently they will prevent you from updating your device in order to continue to exist on your drive and perform nefarious actions.
You can run a complete virus scan with the security software you have installed on your device (and if you don’t have any, read our guide to the best antivirus software, and then get some) and this should identify any malware that is causing issues.
Fully reset your device
You can also completely reset your device if none of the methods outlined above have worked.
You can reset your device without losing any personal files (though you can wipe it if you wish), but a full reset will remove any third-party apps or programs that you have installed.