How To - Troubleshoot Issues with Windows Update on Windows 10

How To - Troubleshoot Issues with Windows Update on Windows 10

For me Windows 10 has been running pretty smooth in the stable Current Branch (CB) release, aka Windows 10 Version 1511 (Build, and yesterday when the June cumulative update arrived I went ahead and started that install on all of my CB devices.

That is exactly what I do each month without issue however, for some reason one of my desktops decided it did not like this months cumulative update and this update kept failing. So after a few attempts last night and then again this morning I decided to jump into the troubleshooting process.

That sent me on a search for how to reset Windows Update and get a clean start. I suspected that I might have a corrupted download and so I wanted to clear the Windows Update cache and found there are two ways to do this.

Manually Clear Windows Update Cache

  1. Open a Command Prompt by searching for from the Start Menu and then Right-Click on the result and select Run as adminstrator
  2. Next type this in the Command Prompt window - net stop wuauserv - this will stop the Windows Update service on your device
  3. Open File Explorer and in the ribbon, on the far left, click on Options to open the Folder Options dialog box. Click on the View tab and in the middle of the dialog look for Show hidden files, folders, and drives and click the radio button to its left. You can now close that dialog box.
  4. In File Explorer click on your main OS drive, usually C:\, and go the the following location: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download and delete all of the files in that directory. Easiest way to do this is to select all of the files with CTRL + A and then hit the delete button.
  5. Go back to Folder Options like you did in Step 3 and click Don't show hidden files, folders, or drives on the View to once again hide hidden files. You can now close File Explorer.
  6. Return to your open Command Prompt from Step 1 and type in net start wuauserv - this starts your Windows Update service back up on your device.
  7. Go to Settings >Update & security > Windows Update and recheck for your updates.

Windows Update Troubleshooter

The manual process above addresses one possible area that Windows Update might be having issues but how about checking other aspects of Windows Update to make sure there is not another problem in the background?

This is where the Windows Update Troubleshooter comes in and can check for common areas that Windows Update can experience problems.

Just visit the Windows Update Troubleshooter download page for the Windows 10 version and grab the troubleshooter. When your browser prompts you to either open or save the file I recommend selecting open that way the process of getting the tool up and running is much more straight forward.

Here is what the initial screen will look like:

WIndows Update Troubleshooter Main Screen

Select the Windows Update entry and click/tap Next. If you are prompted to check more ion-depth as an Administrator then select that option when prompted.

The troubleshooter will no go through the process of checking multiple settings on your system to make sure everything is correct. Once it is done you will get a report on what issues it did find and whether it was able to resolve them.

If everything is resolved then try Windows Update again and see if your pending updates install. If for some reason the troubleshooter finds an issue and there is no remedy or you still can not download updates after fixes are applied by the troubleshooter you may need to consider resetting your Windows 10 system to recover.

For me that is where I ultimately ended up on my secondary system, with a reset, and that has remedied my update issues. At the same time it has given me a nice clean system to start back up from so that is not all that bad either.

Since I started running Windows 10 Current Branch this is the first time I have experienced an update issue that could not be resolved and personally I find that to be a pretty good track record for nearly 12 months.

But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.