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How to Fix Common Windows Update Errors

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

It is an established fact that Windows updates need to be installed as soon as they become available. And Windows Update does a great job of reminding and prompting users when updates are released.

But a lot could go wrong during the update process. Because of various factors, Windows users encounter a wide range of problems when installing security patches, feature updates, or operating system upgrades.


Why Windows Update Errors Occur

The process might look simple on the outside, but updating the OS is more complicated than we can imagine. It requires making system changes that would impact the overall running of your PC, and one wrong move could fail the entire process.

Here are some of the common reasons behind Windows Update failures:

  • Poor or unstable internet connection

  • Corrupted or incomplete installation files

  • Corrupted Windows Update services

  • Not enough storage space

  • Overactive firewall and antivirus program

  • Junk files and malware

List of Common Windows Update Errors

Whenever Windows Update encounters a problem, it usually gives out an error code, along with an error message, to let you know what went wrong. To make it easier for users, we’ve gathered here the most common Windows Update errors and ways to resolve them.


Error message:


The service cannot be started, either because it is disabled or because it has no enabled devices associated with it.

Cause: Users often encounter this when the Windows Update service is not running or when IPv6 is not disabled.

Solution: Enable Windows Update service if it is not running. You should also make sure that IPv6 is disabled.

Check out this article for the detailed description of the Windows Update error 0x80070422 and the best way to fix it.


Error message:


Operation tried to install while another installation was in progress or the system was pending a mandatory restart.

Cause: This occurs when Windows thinks that there is an ongoing update installation while Windows Update is trying to install its own updates. It can be difficult to determine whether there is actually an update being installed that prevents Windows Update from running, but it is better to err on the side of caution.

Solution: The best way to fix this issue is to reset Windows Update service.


Error message:


Operation was not performed because there are no applicable updates.

Cause: This error usually pops up when Windows is installing updates for built-in apps, such as Microsoft Store or Windows Defender. There must have been some changes in a particular built-in app, particularly the Registry entries, preventing Windows Update from accessing it. Solution: Taking ownership of File Explorer and the WindowsApps folder should quickly fix this.


Error message:


Operation did not complete because the service or system was being shut down.

Cause: This specific problem is basically triggered by missing or corrupt DLL files. There are also instances when this error occurs due to corrupt or damaged registry keys.

Solution: Repairing or replacing the corrupt DLLs and registry entries using the SFC tool should take care of this.


Error message:


Operation failed because a required user token is missing

Cause: Compatibility issues, incorrect registry entries, and misconfigured system files are some of the known culprits behind this error.

Solution: Resetting the components of the Windows Update should do the trick. Running the SFC tool should also help.


Error messages:


The attempt to connect to the server failed.


A connection with the server could not be established


A connection with the server could not be established

Cause: This means that your computer is experiencing problems with network connectivity or has encountered a server timeout.

Solution: Since this error has something to do with your internet connection, the best fix would be to switch to another network or use cable to connect to the internet.

Wrapping Up

Windows Update errors can be confusing sometimes, especially when the error message does not explain what the bug is all about or what caused it. But as long as you know the error code, you can easily look it up or refer to the list above to find out how to deal with it.

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