What do I do if my Windows 10 update is stuck?

Having your Windows 10 update get stuck mid-installation is frustrating, but it’s a common issue that can often be fixed with a few simple steps. In this guide, we’ll go over some things you can try to get your update unstuck so you can finish installing the latest Windows version.

Why does my Windows 10 update get stuck?

There are a few common reasons why your Windows 10 update might get stuck:

  • Connectivity issues – If you lose your internet connection during the update, it can cause it to hang.
  • Insufficient storage space – The update needs enough free space on your hard drive to download and install. If you’re low on disk space, it may get stuck.
  • Driver incompatibilities – Sometimes an outdated driver on your system can conflict with files the update needs to change.
  • System file errors – Corrupted system files can sometimes interfere with the update process.
  • Other software conflicts – Other programs running on your PC may cause conflicts with the Windows Update software.

So in most cases, the update getting stuck is not because of a flaw with the update itself, but rather an issue with your PC’s configuration, connections, or current state causing a hangup.

How can I tell if my update is stuck?

There are a few signs that indicate your Windows 10 update has become stuck or frozen:

  • The update progress screen is showing but hasn’t advanced for a long time.
  • Your PC appears to be stuck on the “Configuring Updates” screen.
  • You see error messages about the install being interrupted or failing.
  • Your PC restarts to install the update but then gets stuck on a black screen.
  • The update progress stays at a percentage for hours and does not continue.

Essentially, any case where the update process has stopped making forward progress without completing is a sign you have a stuck update.

How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update

If you encounter a stuck or frozen Windows 10 update, there are a number of solutions you can try to get it unstuck:

Restart your PC

The simplest thing to try first is restarting your PC. This will stop all current processes and start fresh, which may resolve any simple software hangs stalling the update.

To restart:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click the Power button.
  3. Select Restart to restart your PC.

After restarting, check if the update proceeds further.

Pause the update and restart

If restarting alone doesn’t help, try pausing the update first before restarting:

  1. Open Settings and go to Update & Security > Windows Update.
  2. Click the Pause updates button for about 7 days.
  3. Restart your PC.
  4. After restarting, go back to Windows Update and click Resume updates.

Pausing and restarting can stop an stuck update service and allow it to properly restart.

Use Update Assistant

The Windows 10 Update Assistant is a tool from Microsoft designed to help install updates when you’re having trouble. To use it:

  1. Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 using another device.
  2. Click Update Now under Update Assistant.
  3. Run the assistant tool on your PC experiencing issues.
  4. Follow the prompts to install available updates.

The Update Assistant can often install the updates your PC failed to install automatically.

Use Windows Update Troubleshooter

Windows also has a built-in troubleshooter that can diagnosis problems with the update service and attempt to fix them:

  1. Type “troubleshoot” into the Windows search bar and select Troubleshooting.
  2. Run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions. The troubleshooter will attempt to identify and repair any update issues.

The troubleshooter often helps resolve stuck update problems automatically.

Perform a clean boot

Sometimes other programs running on your PC in the background can interfere with the update process and cause it to hang. Performing a clean boot prevents all other software from running temporarily so Windows Update can work unimpeded:

  1. Open msconfig (type it into the search bar and select it).
  2. Go to the Services tab and check “Hide all Microsoft services.”
  3. Click “Disable all” below it.
  4. Go to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
  5. In Task Manager, disable all startup programs.
  6. Restart your PC. It will now boot up with the bare minimum processes and services.
  7. Try checking for Windows Updates again.

If Windows Update works now, you know some other program on your system was causing conflict. You can then re-enable things selectively to find the problematic app.

Reset Windows Update components

Resetting the update service and its associated components can help resolve stuck update issues:

  1. Open an admin Command Prompt.
  2. Enter these commands (press Enter after each one)
    net stop bits
    net stop wuauserv
    net stop appidsvc 
    net stop cryptsvc
  3. Delete everything in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  4. Enter these commands
    ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old
  5. Enter these commands
    net start bits
    net start wuauserv
    net start appidsvc
    net start cryptsvc

This will stop the update services, delete the download cache, and rename the system folders, allowing them to reset.

Delete SoftwareDistribution folder

An alternative to the previous reset step is to just delete the SoftwareDistribution folder where Windows stores update files:

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution and delete all files in that folder.
  3. Restart your PC.

With the folder deleted, Windows will need to redownload update files, potentially fixing any it had issues with before.

Use DISM command

DISM.exe is a command-line tool for repairing Windows system image files. It can be used to fix some stuck update problems:

  1. Open an admin Command Prompt or PowerShell window.
  2. Enter this command:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  3. Wait for the scan to finish and restart your PC.

DISM will scan and replace corrupt OS files that could be interfering with updating.

Reset your PC

If all else fails and you absolutely cannot get an update to install even after trying the above solutions, a last resort is to completely reset your PC.

Resetting will erase everything and restore a fresh Windows install, so you should only do it if nothing else works. Make sure to backup your data first.

To reset:

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  2. Under Reset this PC, click Get Started.
  3. Follow the prompts to reinstall Windows.

After resetting your PC, the latest Windows version should be able to install without issues. Just make sure to backup your files first!

How can I prevent Windows Update problems in the future?

While stuck updates can happen sporadically, you can take some steps to help avoid them in the future:

  • Make sure your PC meets the system requirements for updates before installing.
  • Check that you have enough storage space for updates to download and install.
  • Keep your drivers, Windows software, and other programs up-to-date.
  • Resolve any system file errors using SFC and DISM scans.
  • Don’t install major Windows updates right away – wait a week or two for bugs to be worked out.
  • Disconnect non-essential devices before updating.
  • Make sure you have a stable internet connection when downloading updates.

Following best practices for system stability and prep can go a long way in preventing stuck updates going forward.


Having to deal with a stuck or frozen Windows 10 update can certainly be troublesome. However, in most cases you can get it unstuck by trying some simple troubleshooting techniques like restarting your PC, pausing the update, or using tools like the Update Assistant. Persistence usually pays off.

In rare cases where an update absolutely will not budge no matter what, resetting your PC may be the only way forward. But try every other option first, as you don’t want to erase your system unless absolutely necessary.

With a few guided troubleshooting steps, you should hopefully be able to get that frustrating stuck update back on track and have the latest Windows version running smoothly.

Leave a Comment