Microsoft explains why Windows Update did not work on January 29, 2019
Windows users and administrators reported that Windows Update was broken for them on January 29, 2019. Affected systems received an "error encountered" error message when Windows Update was used to search for updates.
The full error message read:
Error encountered. We couldnâ€™t connect to the update service. Weâ€™ll try again later, or you can check now. If it still doesnâ€™t work, make sure that youâ€˜re connected to the Internet.
The message revealed that connection issues prevented the operating system from connecting to the update service. The message implied that it was an issue on the user's end; turns out, it was not.
Users discovered quickly that the issue was somehow related to the DNS service provider configured on the device. A workaround suggested to change the DNS server to a public one, e.g. from Cloudflare or Google, and doing so did resolve the issue on affected devices.
Microsoft responded quickly. The company stated that it was aware of the issue and that it affected some customers.
We are aware of a service-side issue where some customers are still unable to connect or download updates from the Windows Update service. We are actively investigating this issue. Thank you for your patience.
The company updated the windows update history document of Windows 10 version 1809 and Windows Server 2019 on February 4. The update explains what happened on January 29, 2019.
The Windows Update service was impacted by a data corruption issue in an external DNS service provider global outage on January 29, 2019. The issue was resolved on the same day and Windows Update is now operating normally, but a few customers have continued to report issues connecting to the Windows Update service. We expect these issues will go away as downstream DNS servers are updated with the corrected Windows Update DNS entries.
According to the published information, the Windows Update connection issue was caused by a third-party DNS service provider who experienced an outage.
Windows Update should work on most Windows devices again; some systems may still report connection errors. Microsoft notes that these errors should go away eventually as DNS information is updated.
Administrators may switch to different DNS providers on affected systems if possible to resolve the issue immediately. Flushing the DNS cache may also help.
So, what is the takeaway?
Windows Update, just like any other service that requires an Internet connection, may break and there may be little that users can do to resolve issues that are caused by external factors. It is easy enough to change DNS service providers but it is probably something that only advanced users would feel comfortable doing (let alone know about). Some programs, e.g. DNS Switch or DNS JumperÂ may make this easier.
It is often a good idea to wait when issues like these are encountered as they may be external and may be resolved automatically.
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