Are you frustrated by the frequent Windows updates that take ages to install?
Microsoft addresses security holes and bugs through its compulsory updates, which install smoothly without issues in most cases.
However, they can take longer than usual if they’re too big or your system has problems.
What should you do when the updates take forever to install?
Why Is My Computer Taking So Long To Update? (Reasons, Fixes)
1. Weak Network Connections
Operating system updates are sometimes bulky and require fast internet connections.
A slow internet connection can even pause the updates, making the update take forever to complete.
Test your internet speed and ensure it’s not lower than your purchased plan.
Close all other programs that need the internet to run and avoid bandwidth-hogging tasks on other connected devices.
If you use a wi-fi connection, switch to Ethernet to maximize the bandwidth to your computer and update and get a faster connection.
Finally, you can schedule the updates to install when you don’t use your computer or other devices to give the updates enough bandwidth.
To schedule updates, go to Windows Settings > Update & Security > Windows update > Advanced settings > Update notifications.
By turning this option on, Windows will notify you and ask you when to install the updates when they’re available.
Another network-related issue that can affect your internet speed and slow down Windows updates is the network drivers.
If they’re outdated, they can get buggy and reduce your overall internet speed.
To update these drivers, type Device Manager in the taskbar’s search box and select the first result.
Expand the menu under Network adapters and select the entries individually.
Right-click on each and select Update driver > Search automatically for drivers.
After updating the network adapters, your connection issues should resolve.
2. Corrupt Windows Update Components
If Windows update components get damaged or corrupted, you’ll experience issues downloading these updates.
The updates may get stuck on a certain percentage or take unusually long to complete.
In such cases, you can use automatic and manual troubleshooting to fix these components.
Here’s what to do:
A. Run The Troubleshooter
Windows updates generally don’t run into issues and install automatically.
Even if there’s an underlying problem, the system will identify and fix it to resume updates.
However, if it can’t, you can use the Windows built-in troubleshooter to address the underlying obstacle.
To run the troubleshooter, go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
Click Additional troubleshooters and look for Windows updates under Get up and running in the new window.
Select it and click Run the troubleshooter.
If the tool finds an issue, it may suggest a fix.
Follow the on-screen prompts to fix the issue and resume Windows updates to see if it goes smoothly.
B. Reset The Damaged Components
If the troubleshooter can’t help resolve the issue, you can take a more direct approach.
To reset the damaged Windows components, type Command Prompt in Cortana’s search box and click run as administrator under the first result.
Type in these command lines and hit Enter after each one:
net stop bits
net stop wuauserv
net stop appidsvc
net stop cryptsvc
Then, enter the following commands, pressing enter after each one:
ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
ren %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 catroot2.old
These commands open new software distribution and catroot2 folders, eliminating issues that prevent the updates from getting completed.
Now, you should start the components that you stopped in the first step.
Enter these lines and press Enter after each command:
net start bits
net start wuauserv
net start appidsvc
net start cryptsvc
C. Run DISM
Another method for fixing corrupt Windows update files is the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool.
To run the tool, open the Command Prompt as administrator and type the following command in the window:
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
After pressing Enter, the tool will look for corrupt system files but doesn’t repair them.
If it finds any corrupt files, you should instruct it to repair the files through the following command:
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
It may take a few minutes, so be patient and resume the updates after the tool finishes its job.
D. Run The SFC
The System File Checker is another tool that looks for corrupt system files and restores them.
You can use this tool if the DISM tool can’t find corrupt files.
To use the tool, open a Command Prompt window and enter the following command:
The tool will find and repair corrupt system files, which can take a while.
3. Insufficient Space For Updates
Windows updates require enough space on your hard drive.
The bigger the updates, especially feature updates, the more room you need on your hard drive.
If your hard drive is nearly full, the updates can get stuck and take forever to finish.
If your hard disk isn’t full, you should check your disk drive, typically Drive C, and make sure it’s not full.
You can make room for Windows updates by removing unnecessary files and folders.
If you don’t know which folders to delete, you can use the following solutions:
A. Run Disk Cleanup
Using this Windows built-in tool, you can remove junk files that you can’t detect by yourself.
In addition, you don’t need to remove your files and folders because it only deletes junk files.
To run the utility, type Disk Cleanup in the taskbar’s search box and select the first result.
Select your drives and press Ok to start the cleanup process.
When the tool gets ready, you should select which files to delete.
Select the files and press Ok.
Do the same for all your system drives.
B. Delete Windows Update Folders
When Windows installs a major update, it creates a folder that belongs to the previous update.
It keeps the folder for a month in case a user needs to roll back the update.
You can remove it if the disk cleanup tool hasn’t opened up enough space.
Since it contains all user data from the previous update, it’s pretty big and can free up a lot of space.
However, if you think you may need to roll back your Windows, you shouldn’t delete this folder.
Alternatively, you can get a backup of this folder in case you need it in the future.
The Windows.old folder is on the C Drive, but to access it, you need to sign in to Windows with your admin account.
Go to the Windows folder on Drive C, copy the Windows.old folder, and paste it on your backup device.
If you can’t delete the folder through Windows Explorer, you need to use the Disk Cleanup utility.
Open File Explorer and right-click Drive C.
Click Properties and select Disk Cleanup under the General tab.
You can see the temporary files you deleted in the previous step, but you need to delete something else here.
Click Clean up system files and wait for the system to calculate the files it can delete.
You can delete all the folders in this section or Previous Windows installations and Windows update cleanup.
C. Uninstall Unwanted Programs
Windows is notorious for installing bloatware, unwanted programs many users may never use.
In addition, you may have installed the program before, but it’s been a long time since you haven’t used them.
These programs can take up huge hard drive space and prevent the updates from installing.
It’s also a good idea to do an occasional cleanup to declutter your computer.
To uninstall unwanted programs, go to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features.
You can see a list of programs installed on your computer.
Go through the list, identify unwanted programs, click them, and select Uninstall.
D. Defragment Your Hard Drive
Hard drive fragmentation can slow down your storage’s read and write speeds.
However, Windows has taken care of the issue by defragmenting your hard drive frequently and automatically.
You may never need to defrag your hard drive.
Still, you can check your system partitions through Windows built-in optimization tool.
Type “Defrag” in Cortana’s search box, select Defragment and optimize drives.
The tool shows you all your system drives and their defragmentation percentages.
If the percentage is more than 20%, click Optimize for your selected drive to defrag it.
4. Software Conflict
Some third-party applications may prevent Windows updates from getting installed on the computer.
Since you may have different third-party apps on your system, you may need to disable them in different ways.
Here’s how to:
A. Startup Applications
Some applications may not be necessary to run at startup, but they change their settings or make you grant permission for them to run at startup.
While they may not usually cause any issues, they can hinder some functions.
You can temporarily disable all these startup programs and enable them after installing updates.
To disable startup programs, right-click a space on the taskbar and select Task Manager.
Go to the Startup tab to see all the programs that launch upon startup.
Right-click them one by one and click Disable.
If you’re not sure whether disabling a program will affect your system performance, only disable the third-party apps.
B. Run The System In Clean Boot
In addition to startup applications, you may have other programs that conflict with the updates and prevent them from installing properly.
Identifying these programs is difficult and can take a long time.
You can use Windows built-in features to disable them temporarily.
The best way to stop conflicting programs is the Clean Boot mode.
Open a Run box by pressing Win + R and type in msconfig.
Click Service and enable Hide All Microsoft Services by checking the box next.
Click Disable all.
Restart your computer and try updating again.
C. Disable Antivirus
Another software conflict that causes issues with Windows updates is antivirus tools, especially third-party ones.
These tools may identify Windows updates as false positives and prevent them from getting installed.
You can disable the antivirus temporarily and enable it after installing the updates.
5. Faulty Windows Update Service
The Windows Update Service is a software package that manages and installs Windows and software updates on your system.
The updates can’t install properly if it goes corrupt or develops any faults.
Sometimes you’ll get an error message that says the updates can’t install because the service isn’t running.
In other cases, you should consider it a potential cause.
How To Fix
The best fix to a faulty Windows Update service is to reset it.
To do so, open the Run box by pressing the Windows key and R.
Type in services.msc and press Enter.
Scroll down to Windows Update and right-click it.
Select Restart and wait for the service to reset.
Then reboot your computer and resume updating.
6. Wrong Date And Time Settings
Sometimes your operating system can’t install updates because you have the wrong date and time settings.
Adjust the settings by right-clicking on the Start button and going to Settings.
Select Time & Language and check if the time and date are correct.
If not, turn on Set time automatically and Set time zone automatically.