Windows Update not working

This is a bit technical, but if you can follow it, I think it will work for you.  I work on a lot of computers and this works for me.

I emphasize that for this to work, you must follow exactly as this describes.

There are two main types of Windows 7 installations: 32 bit or 64 bit.  You need to know what is installed in your computer.  Click the Start globe, type system in the box. Choose System information in the list.  The techie shorthand for 32 bit is x86 and for 64 bit is x64

  1. Start Windows Update and change the Setting to Never check for updates.  Restart.  When you do leave the setting at NEVER, Windows Update will no longer be automatic.  From this point onwards, you are responsible for starting and installing updates.  We recommend you do that a few days following the 2nd Tuesday each month.
  2. The process starts by ensuring that there is nothing running that will prevent the update from working properly.  Click on the Start globe and type services into the text box.  Click on Services in the list that pops up.  In the window that then pops up (its alphabetic), find Windows Update.  Right-click on it (left-click if your mouse is set for left-handers) and choose Stop.

Now, you are going to reset Windows Update components:

Start, All Programs, Accessories, Right-click on Command prompt, Choose Run as administrator, OK.  Type the following in the black box:

  1. net stop wuauserv
  2. net stop cryptSvc
  3. net stop bits
  4. net stop msiserver
  5. ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
  6. ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old
  7. net start wuauserv
  8. net start cryptSvc
  9. net start bits
  10. net start msiserver
  11. pause
  12. Exit

Tip: Instead of typing each line, you can select the text in the line above by high-lighting it, right-click, choose Copy from the pop-up menu.  In the black window, Right-click anywhere, choose Paste from the pop-up menu, Enter.

You are now going to download and install either one or two updates manually.  In most cases only the first (KB3172605) of these is needed.  If that produces a result that says the update is not appropriate for you computer, you need to first install the 2nd of these (KB3020369), then install the first (KB3172605).  Choose the one that is for your machine — 32 bit (X86) or 64 bit (X64).


32 bit

64 bit


32 bit

64 bit

After restarting your computer, wait about 10 minutes until Windows Update completes its tasks.  Do not use the computer for any other purpose during this wait period.

Start Windows Update.  It will take only a few minutes to come up with a list and download the updates you select.  The process is quite normal as it always was from this point onward.

If your computer has not been updated for a long time, it may take longer.