How to Fix Windows Update Stuck at 0%

How to Fix Windows Update Stuck at 0%

/ Shayne Sherman

Windows update is at the very center of your Windows system’s security. But it’s often overlooked. If you follow the script correctly, windows can be a very robust system, courtesy of regular security patches, hotfixes, and software updates.

Without this security feature, your system becomes vulnerable to security holes and bugs. Windows continuously improves its features, and with Windows 10, the update process is much more streamlined.

Windows updates install silently in the background, but sometimes, it just needs that push to complete due to a few issues related to patching and compatibility.

Maybe it disconnected from the server, or perhaps it just slows down to a snail’s pace. It’s not always clear what causes these issues, but it could be anything from Malware or lingering effects of Malware that had previously been removed.

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Whatever case it is, the next time encounter the Windows update stuck at 0% issue midway, refer to this guide for help.

Fix #1: Wait it out

This is a simple fix, yet very difficult for many people. Nobody likes to wait. But sometimes, an update might just be stuck at 0% for a long time (like for an hour or two), then suddenly jump to a higher percentage by itself.

downloading Windows Update

The issue might resolve itself if a little patience is exercised. Windows updates tend to be large sometimes, thus taking longer to install.

WIndows Update

However, if the progress does not change over a day, there could be an issue that needs checking out.

Fix #2: Running Windows Update Troubleshooter

The fact that Microsoft created Windows Update Troubleshooter shows they acknowledge that update problems do exist.

Usually, when you run Windows Update Troubleshooter, it would take a few minutes to go through the operating system parameters. At that time, it will detect lingering problems in your system and automatically apply repairs. This is one of the easiest solutions available.


Go to Microsoft’s support page.


Download the Troubleshooter tool for Windows 10.

Troubleshoot Windows Update


Click the “Apply repairs automatically” option on the troubleshooter popup


Run the Troubleshooter.

This is an excellent place to start if you’re stuck at 0% when downloading Windows updates, and even if the tool doesn’t solve the issue, it will inform you what it is or point you in the right direction.

Windows Update problem found fixed

Fix #3: Restart the Windows Update Service

Everybody’s favorite one-size-fits-all PC fix. Restarting the Windows update service wouldn’t be so popular if it didn’t work, but so far, it has proven to be a great solution to a host of PC issues. Even recommendations on Windows’ pop-up error messages tell you to restart.

In this case, you need to restart Windows Update service, primarily if you’ve not run updates in a long time.


Hold Windows + R keys to open the run dialog box.


Type “Services.msc” on the search space and press Enter.

services.msc on run dialog box


Find the “Windows Update” service by navigating to the very bottom of the services list.


Right-click “Windows Update” and select Stop. Windows Updates will stop.

WIndows Update stop


Now press Windows + E to open explorer.


Navigate to the following directory: “C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution.”

SoftwareDistribution folder


Copy the address and paste it on the address bar of Windows Explorer to open the Window.


Select all files by pressing CTRL + A, and press the DELETE key.

delete all files


Restart your computer.

restart computer


Open the “Services” window once more and find “Windows Update” service.


Right-click on “Windows Update” and click on Start.

start WIndows Update


Check its “Status” column to see if it reads “Running.” This should restart Windows update service.


Once you are able to restart Windows update service, launch the Windows update once again to see if it was able to fix the Windows updates issue.

Fix #4: Check the disk space

If the system has run out of space, Windows Updates will not proceed and may cause the Windows update stuck at 0 issue. Check that you have at least 10GB of disk space before you start updating.

Windows needs more space

If you don’t have space, do the following:


Open “Settings” and click on “System.”


Click on “Storage.” You have two options:

Storage settings


One is to click on “Free up space now” and check all the items you want to delete.


The second is to check the “Delete temporary files that my apps aren’t using” option.


Under “Storage Sense,” click on “Change how we free up space automatically.”

Storage sense


On the drop-down menu, select the option on how often to delete. It ranges from “1 day” to “60 days”.


You can also use third-party software to free up more space. An example is CCleaner. By clearing up space for new updates, it should get to fix Windows updates stuck issues.

Fix #5: Turn-off Windows firewall temporarily

Windows Firewall might sometimes view windows updates as foreign agents and block their downloads. In this case, please turn off the Windows Defender Firewall feature temporarily, but make sure that you turn it back on once the update is successful. Follow these steps to turn the Windows Firewall off;


While holding the Windows key, press R. This opens up the run dialog box.


Type “firewall.cpl” and press Enter. Or you can open the “Control Panel” and click on “Windows Firewall.”

windows firewall


You will now see the Windows Defender Firewall window. Navigate to the left-hand panel and click the “Turn Windows Firewall on or off” option in the Windows Firewall wizard.

Navigate windows firewall wizard


In both Public and Private Network settings sections, check the “Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended) option and click OK.

Public and Private Network settings


Now go back to “Windows Update” and click “Check for updates.”

Fix #6: Disable Background Services

Many processes run in a Windows system’s background, which can easily cause conflicts and problems in the update process. Disabling these processes might be a helpful step to enable the Windows Update process to complete. To disable non-essential processes, follow these steps;


Open the Run dialog by holding the Windows key and pressing R.


Type “msconfig” and press Enter.



The “System Configuration” window will open up.


Click on the “Services” tab in the window.

System configuration


Scroll to the bottom of the list and check the “Hide all Microsoft Services” option.


At the bottom-right of the list, click “Disable All” and click OK.

Disable Microsoft services


Restart the PC for the changes to take effect.


After it restarts, re-launch Windows Update by heading on to “Update & Security” in “Settings” and click “check for updates.”


Wait for Windows to check and download updates.

Windows Update check and download


After the updates are complete, Enable the disabled background services by heading back to “Hide all Microsoft Services” and click “Enable All.”

System configuration services tab.jpg

Fix #7: Run the Windows System File Checker (SFC)

One of the easiest and effective methods that Windows users can perform to fix the Windows 10 update stuck issue is to run the Windows SFC. It can detect corrupt system files, drivers and downloaded installation files that may cause the Windows update stuck downloading at 0%.

Step #1

Hold down the “windows” logo key and press “R” and type “cmd” in the run command line. Hold down both the “ctrl and shift” keys together and press enter. Click “OK” on the next window to grant administrator permissions to the command prompt.

image 202

Step #2

In the command prompt window, type “sfc /scannow” and press enter. Wait for the SFC to complete the scan, close the command prompt and restart the computer by clicking on the Windows logo key and clicking restart.

image 203

Step #3

Once you get your computer back on, check and see if this was able to fix Windows updates stuck at 0%.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert at all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie as well as entertaining at his home theater.