How to Fix When Windows Update Won't Download

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Matthew M. White
@matthewmwhite
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To keep devices running smoothly and bug-free, Windows regularly provides users with their operating system updates that fix issues related to security, operation, and more. It is recommended that you install updates as soon as you receive them.

But what happens when, one day, a Windows update doesn't download, you can't install it, and you don't know why?


You might be tempted to continue using your device without the latest updates, but you shouldn't. Your best bet is to find the reason why a Windows update is failing to download. Rather than giving up, read this article to find possible solutions to your dilemma and make sure your computer system is up to date.


Steps to Fix Windows Update Not Downloading

Some updates require administrator access to install. An administrator has access to everything on the device system. To create an administrator account on Windows (if you don't already have one). Here are the steps:

  1. Select "Start" and go to "Settings".
  2. Choose “Accounts”.
  3. Select “Family and other users”.
    • Some Windows users will simply see "Other users".
  4. Choose "Add Account".
  5. Select "I don't have this person's login information".
  6. On the next page, choose "Add a user without a Microsoft account".
  7. Choose a username, password and security questions.

Choosing a secure password and keeping it safe is essential. Administrator account passwords cannot be recovered.


The amount of disk space on your devices is also crucial. You need enough free disk space for the new update to install and work. If you're not sure how much disk space you have, don't lose hope. Try these suggestions to find out how much space you have and how to create more:


First, check how much disk space you have. To see how much space you have:

  1. Select File Explorer from the taskbar. You can also press Windows logo + E.
  2. Choose “Computer” or “This PC”.
  3. Go to “Devices and drives”. (Some devices show hard drives for this step.) You'll see how much free space you have under the drive (and if there's enough for the update). If there is more than one drive listed, your system drive will be indicated by a Microsoft Windows logo.

There are several ways to free up space on your disk if you are running out of space. First, you can run “Disk Cleanup”. This is a Microsoft utility used to securely delete files you don't need. Follow these steps:

  1. Type “disk cleanup” in the search box on the taskbar.
  2. Choose "Disk Cleanup", then select the drive you want to clean.
  3. Select "OK" and choose the file types you want to delete. Press "OK" to confirm.

Disk Cleanup can be used to remove temporary and system files. Select the file to get the description. If you can't update Windows after running Disk Cleanup, try these steps:


  1. Uninstall the apps you don't use.
  2. Delete files you don't need.
  3. Move OneDrive files to online only.
  4. Move OneDrive files to a removable drive.
  5. Add more storage to your device.

Many updates require restarting the device. Save your work and close all open applications. Then restart the device:


  1. Select "Start".
  2. Go to “Power”.
  3. Choose "Update and restart" or "Update and stop".

Run Windows Update again when the device restarts.

There may be more than one update that needs to be installed. To run Windows Update:

  1. Select "Start".
  2. Go to settings. »
  3. Choose “Windows Update”.
  4. Select "Check for updates".
  5. Download and install new updates.

Sometimes external devices (printers, scanners, headphones or speakers) can interfere with the download. Remove and unplug any non-essential hardware and disconnect external hard drives and USB drives. Also, check if you need to update any third-party drivers from the hardware you have installed.

To see if there is a conflict, look for errors in Device Manager. Follow these steps:

  1. Type "Device Manager" in the search box on the taskbar.
  2. Choose "Device Manager".
  3. Look for any device in the pop-up window with a yellow exclamation mark next to it.
  4. Select the action. »
  5. Select "Update Driver" or "Uninstall" to fix the errors.

The time it takes to update Windows depends on your device's connection speed. Network settings and update size also affect update time. The problem can also be as simple as a dropped internet connection. Run the Windows Update troubleshooter if your update stops installing in the middle of the process.



Windows Update not downloading Windows 10

If you're having trouble downloading an update on Windows 10, you may need an administrator account to install it. Create an administrator account in Windows 10 if you don't have one.

To create an administrator account:

  1. Select Start > Settings.
  2. Go to “Accounts”.
  3. Choose "Family and other users" or "Other users".
  4. Go to “Add Account”.
  5. Select "I don't have this person's login information".
  6. On the next page, choose "Add a user without a Microsoft account".
  7. Choose a username, secure password, and security questions.

You can also give a local user administrative permissions. To change your local user account to an administrator account:

  1. Select “Start > Settings”.
  2. Go to “Accounts”.
  3. Select the local account owner under "Family and other users".
  4. Choose "Luck account type".
  5. Select "Administrator", then "OK".

Some of your Windows 10 updates may not download because they require administrative permissions. Updates can install once you have an administrator in place. Once done, you can take further steps to fix the problem.

To download Windows 10 updates:

Check if you have enough storage space. You need a minimum of 16 GB of free space. To see how much space you have:

  1. Select "File Explorer" from the taskbar or press Windows logo + E.
  2. Choose “Computer” or “This PC”.
  3. Go to “Devices and drives”. Some devices show hard drives for this step. If multiple drives are listed, select the system drive with the Microsoft Windows logo.

Here are several ways to free up space on your drive if you're running out of space:

  1. Run Disk Cleanup. Type "disk cleanup" in the taskbar to find and run the utility.
  2. Uninstall unused apps.
  3. Delete unnecessary files.
  4. Move OneDrive files to a removable drive.
  5. Add more storage to your device.
  6. Download the update to a USB stick with at least 4 GB of free space. Once done, navigate to the USB drive. Select "setup.exe" to download the update to your device.

Many updates allow you to restart the device before they can be applied:

  1. Choose "Start".
  2. Go to “Power”.
  3. Choose "Update and restart" or "Update and stop".

Run Windows Update again when the device restarts. Note that there may still be other updates available. To run Windows Update:

  1. Select "Start".
  2. Go to settings. »
  3. Select "Update & Security".
  4. Go to “Windows Update”.
  5. Download and install all new updates.

Disconnect external hardware not required for basic functionality. Unplug non-essential items like printers, scanners, headphones, and speakers. Try running the updates again.

Next, check if any third-party driver updates are needed. Update the drivers for the hardware you have installed.

Finally, check Device Manager for errors. Follow these steps:

  1. Type Device Manager in the taskbar search box.
  2. Choose "Device Manager".
  3. Look for any device in the pop-up window with a yellow exclamation mark next to it.
  4. Select the action. »
  5. Select "Update Driver" or "Uninstall" to fix the errors.

You may get error messages with a specific code when trying to perform updates. You may be able to resolve them by running the Windows Update troubleshooter. You can also visit the Microsoft support website. There you will find a list of common error codes and their meanings. The site provides instructions on how to fix them.

windows of opportunity

Each of the nine major versions of Microsoft Windows has update reminders built into the system. Reminders can seem annoying because they don't stop until updates are complete. Try the steps in this article if you're having trouble downloading Windows updates. A secure and fast device leaves Windows open for endless possibilities.

Share with us your success with downloading Windows updates. Do you make your updates as soon as you are reminded of them or delay them? Let us know in the comment section below.

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