Windows Update stuck? Here is what you may do to fix it

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 7, 2020
Windows, Windows Updates

Over the years, I ran into several issues regarding updates on Windows devices. A common issue that I experienced regularly was that updates appeared stuck after the initial reboot. Windows would display a percentage, e.g. 0%, 100% or any figure in between, and would seemingly not move that number or complete the process.

Common messages that you may receive:

  • Configuring update for Windows 10. 0% complete. Do not turn off your computer.
  • Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes. Do not turn off your computer.

While I never experienced hour-long wait times like others have, I asked myself more than once whether the update was still ongoing.

Since I ran into the issue recently again when I updated one Windows 10 device to the new Windows 10 version 2004, I thought it would be a good idea to provide some guidance on how to deal with the situation.


paragon backup recovery free

Unless you are experiencing the situation right now, you may want to prepare for the issue and others that you may experience.

The most important step is to create a backup before you install updates. Windows comes with its own recovery options but these may fail, and if they do, you may be in for a lengthy repair session or a re-installation of Windows if you have install media at hand.

A backup solves this right away as you can restore the original state of the system prior to the update installation attempt. Make sure that you have bootable media at hand that boots the backup software if Windows does not boot anymore.

You can use free tools like Paragon Backup & Recovery, Macrium Reflect, or others.

Date and time when the update is installed is of importance as well. It is usually not a good idea to run updates at the beginning of a work day or when you need to use the computer for important tasks.

It is best to install updates at times when access to the device is not needed, e.g. in the evening or on the weekend. That way, if the installation takes longer, you may be less anxious and more relaxed.

Last but not least, it is advised to check the list of known issues before you install updates. Not all potential issues are listed by Microsoft, but you may find issues listed that apply to your device, e.g. its hardware or software.

Analyzing stuck Windows Updates

If the installation of the update takes a long time, you may wonder whether it is stuck or not; you may have the impression of the percentage value does not move, e.g. seems stuck at a specific value, or if the update takes a very long time to complete.

Watch and Listen!

You may want to check for hard disk activity first. Not all PCs or laptops show hard disk activity but if yours does, e.g. a blinking light, you may determine whether the hard disk is used. If it is used, chance is good that the update is still underway.

Sometimes, you may be able to hear if the hard drive is being used; this won't work with SSD storage devices but it may work with platter-based drives. Similarly, you may see or hear if the CPU is being used.

Wait or reboot?

You need to figure out whether it is best to wait or to reboot the system. If you conclude that the update is stuck, you may want to reboot to -- hopefully -- kick of the recovery process. Otherwise, you may want to wait and see if the update installation continues.

If you reboot, you may see a message stating that Windows is reverted back to the previous state. Note that this may also take some time to complete and that you may run into stuck issues here as well.

Usually though, you will end up with a restored system. If you are unlucky, Windows may enter into a loop that you cannot get out anymore. A backup, system restore, or other means of restoring a previous Windows state need to be used in that case. A reboot may also result in the continuation of the update installation, but there is no guarantee that it will not appear to be stuck again if that happens.

General advice

  1. Make sure you create backups before you install updates on Windows.
  2. Waiting is usually better than rebooting or powering the computer down if the update appears stuck; unless, you waited a long time already, say one or two hours, and nothing seems to have happened (no apparent computer activity).
  3. If you manage to boot a previous state, e.g. after the restoration of a backup, you may want to check the system before you re-run the update. Options that you may want to consider include:
    1. Checking free disk storage. If there is little, updates may take a lot longer.
    2. Checking known issues or Internet sites for potential reports of the issue that you encountered.
    3. Uninstalling software that you don't require and that may interfere with updates, e.g. antivirus software.

Now You: how do you deal with seemingly stuck Windows updates?

Windows Update stuck? Here is what you may do to fix it
Article Name
Windows Update stuck? Here is what you may do to fix it
Here is what you may do when the update installation process on your Windows device appears to be stuck.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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