So your Microsoft Windows Update won’t start? Here’s what you can do.

by | Nov 24, 2015 | Infrastructure | 6 comments

When Windows Update Doesn’t Work 
It happens more often than you’d think. As a responsible Microsoft Windows user, you go to Windows Update to check for the latest important updates.

But this time, for whatever reason, something’s gone awry, and Windows Update won’t run. In fact, you might get a message that looks a lot like this:

picture one WindowsUpda1

“Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer.”

Keep in mind, Windows Update isn’t only good for getting the latest Windows features and bug fixes. Its most important use is patching your PC with security fixes, making this an issue you absolutely should NOT ignore.

What causes this isn’t always clear, but in some cases it’s malware. Even if you’ve had an infection that has since been cleared up, Windows Update not running can be one of the lingering effects of the malware. So you’ll want to run a malware scan for good measure.

Following are few things you can try to fix your Windows Update issue. I can’t guarantee they’ll fix your problem, but they’re worth a shot.

The old trusty computer restart; everybody’s favorite PC fix. Even the error message above tells you to reboot to fix your Windows Update. But if you’re still reading this, it probably didn’t work.

Update Service
Next, make sure the Windows Update service is running. Go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management.

Then in the left pane, expand ‘Services and Applications’ and click ‘Services’.

Now in the main pane, find and click ‘Background Intelligent Transfer Service’. Under the ‘Statuscolumn, make sure it reads ‘Running’. If not, right-click ‘Background Intelligent Transfer Service’ and click ‘Start’.

picture two

Scroll down and find ‘Windows Update’ in the main pane. Under the ‘Startup Type’ column, make sure it reads ‘Automatic’ or ‘Automatic (Trigger Start)’. If not, right-click ‘Windows Update’ and click ‘Properties’. Under ‘Startup type’, select ‘Automatic’.

If Windows Update Still Won’t Run
If you’re still not able to get Windows Update to work, try going to the ‘Start’ menu and typing ‘cmd’ in the search bar. Right-click ‘cmd’ or ‘Command Promp’t and select ‘Run’ as administrator.

In Command Prompt:
• Type net stop wuauserv and hit Enter.
• Type ren c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution softwaredistribution.old and hit Enter.
• Type net start wuauserv and hit Enter.
• Exit Command Prompt and try to run Windows Update.

Reset Microsoft Windows Update Components

The above strategies have typically worked for me, but once in a while, it might be time to reset Windows Update. You can go through a long list of Command Line prompts, or you can run an automatic Microsoft Fix It found here: (Note: this link also includes the aforementioned lengthy manual Command Line method, if you prefer).

 …and if you Happen See Error 0x8007277a
I recently had an issue in which I ran through all of the above steps, and received the error 0x8007277a. In this case, you’ll want to do the following:

Go to the Start menu and type ‘cmd’ in the search bar. Right-click ‘cmd’ or Command Prompt and select ‘Run’ as administrator.

In Command Prompt:
• Type netsh winsock reset and hit Enter.
• Type netsh int ipv4 reset if you’re using ipv4, and hit Enter.
• Type nets hint ipv6 reset if you’re using ipv6, and hit Enter.
• Attempt running Windows Update.

Hopefully these (mostly) common fixes for updating Microsoft Windows worked for you. If not, don’t give up! Find a solution that works for you because, as I’ve said before and I’ll say again, this is IMPORTANT.

Did this fix work for you? Leave us a comment and let us know.  If it didn’t and you have questions, contact our IT Support Services group at or 630.832.0075.

For more help, check out these related articles: