The Windows Update system works flawlessly most of the time, but there are occasions when a problem arises during the update installation process. To help you troubleshoot and solve the most common types of errors that occur with a fouled update, Microsoft Support created the Fix Windows Update Errors page. It leads you through the steps needed to resolve problems that occur when installing updates in Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Of course, this solution works only in the event that you can still run Windows.
Let's take a closer look at using the Fix Windows Update Errors page in Windows 10.
Common error codes
When problems installing updates occur, the most common error codes displayed are those shown in the table below. The steps provided on the Fix Windows Update Errors page should help address these and all other types of errors that occur when installing updates.
The guided walk-through
The walk-through consists of six steps, and chances are good that you will find a solution to your problem before you get all the way to the end. However, I'll cover each of the six steps so you'll know what to expect should your troubleshooting journey last that long.
To get started, point your browser to the Fix Windows Update Errors page. There, you'll see Step 1, which prompts you to choose your Windows version, as shown in Figure A.
You'll first be prompted to choose your Windows version.
As soon as you do, you'll see Step 2, instructing you to download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter, as shown in Figure B. (I've discovered that selecting Open, rather than Save, is the easiest method.)
You are instructed to download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter.
The Windows Update Troubleshooter, shown in Figure C, is a straightforward wizard that will walk you through several steps as the tool analyzes the fouled update.
The Windows Update Troubleshooter uses a typical wizard interface.
If the Windows Update Troubleshooter finds the problems and provides a solution, you'll return to the Fix Windows Update Errors page and select the Yes option in response to the Did This Resolve The Problem? prompt. In the majority of cases, this will be as far as you need to go, as the Windows Update Troubleshooter usually locates and fixes the problem.
If your problem is a bit more complex, the Windows Update Troubleshooter may fail to find and fix it. In that case, you'll select the No option and move on to Step 3, shown in Figure D. In this part of the procedure, you are instructed to locate the problem update on the Update History page and then attempt to manually install it.
This part of the procedure involves attempting to manually install the fouled update.
If Step 3 fails to fix the problem, you'll need to escalate to Step 4, which is a bit more challenging and may not be for the faint heart to attempt alone. In this step, you are prompted to run a pair of command-line tools: DISM.exe and SFC.exe, as shown in Figure E. DISM.exe is the Deployment Imaging And Servicing Management tool, which is designed to correct Component Store corruption. SFC.exe is the System File Checker, which checks for and replaces corrupt system files.
Step 4 involves running a pair of command-line tools designed to find and replace corrupt files.
Running DISM requires a bit more in-depth work than running SFC. However, plenty of detailed information is presented in the Step 4 section.
If neither DISM nor SFC fixes the problem, you are on to Step 5, shown in Figure F, in which it is suggested that you either reset or reinstall the Windows.
You'll need to do some prep work to be able to use the suggested Recovery options.
Of course, you'll need to have done some prep work to access all the Recovery options you may need to have on hand. If you have not yet done so, you'll want to check out my series on Windows 10 Recovery options that are listed in the Windows 10 recovery resources section at the end of this article.
If none of the available Recovery options resolves the problem, Step 6, shown in Figure G, suggests that you contact the Answer Desk for assistance.
Step 6 leads you to seek assistance from Microsoft's Answer Desk.
You begin using the Answer Desk by describing your problem, as shown in Figure H.
Start by providing a brief description of your problem.
When you click Next, you'll see the Contact Us page shown in Figure I, which prompts for a bit more information and displays links to Knowledge Base articles associated with the problem you initially described. At this point, you can seek out more Knowledge Base solutions online or you can use one of the available options to contact Microsoft support personnel. (Using any of the Microsoft contact options requires a Microsoft account.)
You can choose online sources or use one of the available options to contact Microsoft.
As you can see, the Call Me Back option appears to be futile—the current wait time of 6,725 minutes comes out to a little over four and a half days. The Arrange A Call option yields a similarly outrageous wait time. However, there was only one user ahead of me for a Chat, and I got to chat with a Microsoft Answer tech pretty quickly. Chat is usually the best route to go, as you will almost always be able to connect with a tech.
Alternatively, you can connect to the Microsoft Community forum and look for solutions from other users who have encountered problems like yours.
Windows 10 recovery resources
- Be prepared: Create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive
- Get familiar with the Windows 10 Recovery Drive... before you need it
- Rescue an ailing system: Launch Windows 10 Startup Repair from the Recovery Drive
- Reset your Windows 10 system with the Keep My Files option
- Reset your Windows 10 system with the Remove Everything option
- How to revive your Windows 10 installation with System Image Recovery
- How to use Windows 10's System Restore as a recovery tool
- How to access Safe Mode in Windows 10
What's your take?
Have you ever needed to use Microsoft's Fix Windows Update Errors page? How well did it work? Share your experiences and advice with fellow TechRepublic members.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.