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 your windows update freezes 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, Windows Update Troubleshooter takes a few minutes to run 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.

Step#1

Go to Microsoft’s support page.

Step#2

Download the Troubleshooter tool for Windows 10.

Troubleshoot Windows Update

Step#1

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

Step#2

Run the Troubleshooter.

This is an excellent place to start, 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. It 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 the Windows Update service, primarily if you’ve not run updates in a long time.

Step#1

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

Step#2

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

services.msc on run dialog box

Step#3

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

Step#4

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

WIndows Update stop

Step#5

Now press Windows + E to open explorer.

Step#6

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

SoftwareDistribution folder

Step#7

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

Step#8

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

delete all files

Step#9

Restart your computer.

restart computer

Step#10

Open the “Services” window once more and navigate to “Windows Update.”

Step#11

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

start WIndows Update

Step#12

Check its “Status” column to see if it reads “Running.”

Step#13

This simple fix should solve the issue for the majority of users. For the few unlucky ones, though, keep reading.

Fix #4: Check the disk space

If the system has run out of space, Windows Update will not proceed. 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:

Step#1

Open “Settings” and click on “System.”

Step#2

Click on “Storage.” You have two options:

Storage settings

Step#3

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

Step#4

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

Step#5

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

Storage sense

Step#6

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

Step#7

You can also use third-party software to free up more space. An example is CCleaner.

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 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;

Step#1

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

Step#2

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

windows firewall

Step#3

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

Step#4

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

Step#5

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;

Step#1

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

Step#2

Type “msconfig” and press Enter.

msconfig

Step#3

The “System Configuration” window will open up.

Step#4                          

Click on the “Services” tab in the window.

System configuration

Step#5

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

Step#6

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

Disable Microsoft services

Step#7

Restart the PC for the changes to take effect.

Step#8

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

Step#9

Wait for Windows to check and download updates.

Windows Update check and download

Step#10

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
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.