Windows Update is underestimated as the cornerstone of the integrity and security of your system. Microsoft is also delivering featured operating system updates from Windows Update. The update process is significantly optimized for Windows 10. However, that doesn't mean it will always work without a problem, especially when it comes to compatibility and patching.
Here we are going to show you how to get Windows Update working again if it fails, and what to do if an update is causing problems.
Manage when automatic updates restart your computer
You can't permanently turn off automatic updates in Windows 10, but you can manage when your computer restarts after installing an update. That way, you can at least make sure that your computer won't restart during your work day or at an inopportune time. Here's how:
Step 1: Go to or search for settings. Then select Update & Security Options.
Step 2: Select the Windows Update tab at the top of the list on the left. Then click on Change active hours in the middle part of the window.
Step 3: This will open a window called Active Hours where you can set a start and end time for reboots. Note that this does not change when you install updates, only when your computer automatically restarts. This only happens when you are not actively using it. Select your preferred times and click Save.
Step 4: If an update is already scheduled, you can select Restart Options from the Windows Update Settings main page to choose a custom restart time. Just toggle the setting on and then choose your preferred time and day.
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Step 5: Finally, you can temporarily pause system upgrades for up to seven days. Note that there are separate settings for critical updates and quality updates such as security updates.
To defer upgrades, select Advanced Options on the Windows Update main page. Use the drop-down lists to decide how many days to delay it.
You can also use this menu to make other adjustments to the way updates are applied, including whether they are triggered automatically or manually. You even have the option to pause them completely.
Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
Microsoft knows that sometimes things (like the infamous Windows Update May 10, 2019) can bring some unwanted issues, which is why the company created the Windows Update Troubleshooter. This tool iterates through your primary operating system parameters and looks for any obvious problems that might be causing Windows Update to not work properly. If possible, the troubleshooting will fix them automatically. At the very least, it will let you know what the problem is.
Try this analysis early if you experience update problems. Go to Microsoft's support page and click "Download Windows 10 Troubleshooter". The tool should take care of the rest. You may be asked for administrator rights to do a more detailed check. Aside from letting it do so, there is nothing else you need to do.
It won't solve every problem, but it is a good starting point and usually provides useful information even if it cannot provide a solution.
Check your installation error code
Often times, if your general update or featured update fails or causes problems, you will receive an installation error code. The codes don't tell you much, but they do contain a lot of useful information if you hop online and consult Microsoft's guide on the matter. Below is a table of some of the most common errors.
|0x80073712||A file that Windows Update needs is likely damaged or missing.|
|0x800F0923||This error might indicate that a driver or other software on your PC is incompatible with upgrading to Windows 10. Contact Microsoft support to resolve this issue.|
|0x80200056||This error could mean that the update process was interrupted because you accidentally restarted your PC or signed out of your PC. Try upgrading again and make sure your PC stays connected and turned on.|
This error could mean that your PC was unable to connect to the Windows Update servers. If you're using a VPN connection to connect to a work network, disconnect the VPN, turn off the software (if applicable), and try to upgrade again. The error can also mean that there is not enough free space in the "System Reserved" partition. You may be able to fix this problem by using third-party software to increase the size of the System Reserved partition.
|0xC1900208 – 0x4000C||This error means that there are problems with an incompatible app preventing your PC from completing a Windows upgrade. To fix this error, you need to check that all apps are updated to the latest versions and try again. If you continue to have problems, you should delete the malfunctioning app and complete the update before downloading it again.|
0xC1900200 – 0x20008
0xC1900202 – 0x20008
|This could mean that your PC does not meet the minimum requirements to download or install the upgrade to Windows 10.|
0x80070070 – 0x50011
0x80070070 – 0x50012
0x80070070 – 0x60000
|This likely indicates that there is not enough free space on your PC to install the upgrade. Free some space on the drive and try again.|
Note that this guide is specifically designed for Windows 10 and newer versions such as the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. Error codes may not mean the same thing in other versions of Windows.
When all else fails, these quick fixes can do it
Did you fail all of the automatic checks and codes? It's time to get back to the best practices, the tricks that have been used to fix update bugs since the update was invented. Here are a few options that may work for you.
Restart your computer
This is a surprisingly effective method that solves a wide variety of computer problems – and often works for Windows Update. If you get an error message, restart your computer and try the updates again. If you haven't run Windows Update for a while, you might need to repeat this process several times before all of the updates are installed.
Do you have enough storage space?
One scenario in which updates can fail is that there is insufficient space on your system drive. Make sure you have at least 10 GB of free space. If you don't, then run a disk clean up to remove files. To do this, type Disk Cleanup in Cortana's search box, click Disk Cleanup to launch the utility, and if necessary, select your system drive (usually C :). Next, specify the type of file you want to remove and select OK. Try to stay away from important system files.
Alternatively, third-party software like CCleaner can be great if you're looking for a little extra storage space. For more information on this topic, check out our more in-depth guide on how to manage Windows 10's storage space.
Is malware causing the problem?
Malware can modify critical core system files and damage Windows services. So it's best to run a scanner to make sure you don't have a compromised system at hand. If you don't have antivirus software on your computer, we've shared some of our personal favorites for Windows-based computers. After all, sifting through piles and piles of software is never fun – and it doesn't pay.
Contact Microsoft support
After you've exhausted all of your options, you may contact Microsoft's support team to see if the problem can be diagnosed. Visit the company's contact page, where you can start a chat, request a callback, or schedule a call. There is also the option to ask the community. While this is a little more time consuming, it can be helpful if others have already identified and fixed the update problem.