Sometimes, Windows Update mysteriously fails; it freezes, refuses to install patches, or runs endlessly — even on well-maintained systems.
Fortunately, Microsoft has offered new tools and methods for fixing Windows Update troubles, including some specifically designed for Win10. Used singly or in combination with manual steps, these tools and procedures can clear up most updating problems.
‘Windows Update’ is actually many functions
We typically refer to “Windows Update” (WU) as a single operation. But it’s not; it’s a complex mix of critical Windows components.
These components include local system-level databases such as catroot and softwaredistribution. They also include internal software such as the WU service itself (wuauserv), cryptographic services (cryptsvc), Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), and the MS Windows Installer Service (msiserver). Working in concert, these parts link to MS Update servers to identify, download, and install the correct updates for each PC.
As with any complex system, WU can run into problems with the local components, connections to MS servers, and/or server failures. Moreover, issues with the updates themselves can cause WU to fail.
Windows 10 adds another wrinkle to OS updating. Instead of dribbling out fixes and patches piecemeal, Microsoft gives Win10 regular cumulative updates that bundle all current patches into one download. Each copy of Win10 then extracts the components needed to keep the system current. That makes keeping Windows fully updated easier; you automatically receive all necessary patches and updates in one step.