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What to do if Windows 7 Won’t Install Updates- 8 Quick Fixes

Since Windows 7 is the older OS from Microsoft, it often faces glitches or errors when downloading new updates. The update stays at 0% no matter how long you keep the computer system running. In this case, your system screen will be stuck with the message “Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer”.

This is actually a bug in Windows 7. Luckily, you can fix Windows 7 won’t install updates issue using multiple methods. But before we get into that, you need to understand why this error occurs first and then go for the solutions. So, let’s understand the cause and apply the relevant fixes to get your Windows 7 updated.

Why Windows 7 Won’t Install Updates? -6 Possible Reasons

Windows 7 updates won’t install due to corrupt update files, software conflicts, limited disk space, outdated drivers, or conflicting hardware. There is a chance that your computer may not meet the minimum requirements for this OS. Also, in some rare cases, these updates don’t install due to some technical problem on Microsoft’s part.

Windows updates can get stuck on Windows 7, 8, 10, or 11. But it is more common on Windows 7, as it is the oldest OS. Here are the potential causes why Windows 7 won’t install updates on your PC.

1. Corrupt/Missing Update Files

Updated system files are important to run Windows OS smoothly on your PC. So, if your PC has corrupt, missing, or deleted files of Windows OS, the update won’t install. In this case, you may need to find the corrupt files, delete them, and install the updates for your Windows 7.

2. Limited Drive Space

Windows updates may keep failing if your drive lacks sufficient free space. As a rule of thumb, 16 GB of storage space is required for the 32-bit OS version and 20 GB for the 64-bit OS version. If your system doesn’t have enough free space, you need to free up some HDD space. After making enough space, you can rerun the update, and it won’t fail.

3. Hardware Conflicts

External hardware sometimes prevents Windows 7 from installing updates on your PC. This happens because the background services running for the external hardware cause conflicts with the Windows 7 updates process. As a result, your Windows 7 won’t install updates as long as the external hardware is connected to the system.

4. Outdated Drivers

Outdated drivers on your Windows 7 OS can also cause problems with installing updates. This is because up-to-date drivers are less likely to have bugs or glitches that could interfere with the update installation process.

5. Conflicting Apps

Many third-party apps, especially antivirus, conflict with the different processes of Windows 7. This could also lead to the issue of not letting this OS install updates. At times, your Windows 7 may even get stuck while installing the already downloaded updates.

5. Critical Services Failed

Critical Service Failed is a blue screen error that occurs if your system processes encounter unrecoverable failure. It is also called the Blue Screen of Death because your system may stop working due to this error. When installing Windows 7 updates, this issue occurs if your internet connection suddenly drops. It can also occur if the update process interrupts abruptly.

6. Computer Doesn’t Meet the Requirements

Lastly, Windows 7 won’t install updates if your system doesn’t meet the minimum requirements. Check system requirements for installing a particular update on Microsoft’s website.

How to Fix Windows 7 Won’t Install Updates Error? -8 Effective Ways

To fix the Windows 7 won’t install updates error, restart the Windows update service, run the Windows troubleshooter, turn off the Windows firewall, or perform a clean boot. Modifying security permissions of the SoftwareDistribution folder also helps. If none of these methods help, restart the BITS service, perform a registry tweak, or install the updates manually.

It is common for Windows 7 to experience issues when installing its updates due to some glitch, error, or one of the potential reasons mentioned above. To fix Windows 7 updates issue, use the following methods to resolve them quickly.

1. Restart Windows Update Service

Windows Update Service controls all software update-related activities on your computer. Sometimes it needs a manual restart if the files are corrupted. You can restart the Windows Update service by following these steps:

  1. To launch the Run command box, tap the Windows key + R on your keyboard.
windows 7 wont install updates run command box
  1. Type services.msc in the Run dialog box and tap OK.
type services msc windows feature window
  1. When you tap OK, the Services window will open. Here, locate Windows Update in the list of local services.
operating system windows update troubleshooter
  1. Click Windows Update, and the service description will appear on the left. You’ll also see Start the service written above the description.
windows update service description
  1. Tap Start the service and right click Windows Update in the list, and select Restart from the menu.
latest servicing stack update log file located
  1. Now, try updating your Windows 7 to check if the issue is resolved.

2. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

You can use the Windows Update Troubleshooter to detect and fix issues with Windows 7 updates. This troubleshooter is available in all Windows versions, including 7, 8, 10, and 11. Here’s how you can run Windows Update Troubleshooter:

  1. Press Windows key + I to open system settings and tap Update & security.
windows advanced security settings
  1. Click Troubleshoot in the left navigation pane and tap Additional troubleshooters on the right.
windows update troubleshooter detects
  1. Tap Windows Update and then, Run the troubleshooter button.
windows updates click turn windows features
  1. The troubleshooter will run, taking a few minutes to identify the problem. If an issue is detected, follow the on-screen instructions to fix it. Otherwise, click Close.
windows update settings command prompt

3. Turn off Windows Firewall

Disable your Windows firewall temporarily to update your Windows 7. Here’s how you can turn off the Windows firewall:

  1. Tap the Start button and search Control Panel.
windows updates open control panel
  1. Open the Control Panel app, and a new window will open.
open control panel windows update troubleshooter 1
  1. Click the Category button next to View by: Select Small icons from the dropdown menu.
open file explorer control panel
  1. Click Small icons and open Windows Defender Firewall.
windows updates windows firewall
  1. Next, click Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off in the left navigation panel.
windows update troubleshooter detects 1
  1. Here, check the Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended) under both Private and Public network settings. Then,click OK to turn off the firewall.
operating system windows defender firewall
  1. Now, your Windows firewall is disabled, and you should be able to install updates successfully. Once you are done with the Windows updates, you can follow the same steps but choose the Turn on options to activate the Windows firewall again.

4. Run Windows Updates in a Clean Boot

You can also update your Windows 7 during a clean boot. This can help stop unnecessary system services from disrupting the Windows update process. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Tap the Windows key + R to open the Run command box.
launch the run command box
  1. Type msconfig in the text field and tap OK.
windows update service command prompt
  1. The System Configuration window will open.
windows update settings command prompt 1
  1. Switch to the Services tab in the System Configurationwindow. Check the box next to Hide all Microsoft services under the list of services. Then, click the Disable all button.
windows microsoft support command prompt
  1. Now, switch to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
click open task manager
  1. A new dialog box will open. Here, select enabled items from the list and click the Disable button one by one to disable them all.
fix windows 7 service status
  1. Close this window after all items have been disabled. Then, click OK on the Startup window and restart your computer.
local computer clean boot then startup type
  1. Your computer will be in clean boot mode after the restart. Now, you can run the Windows 7 update process. Later, you can restart again to exit the clean boot mode.

5. Download and Install New Updates Manually

If automatic downloads don’t work on your Windows 7, you can try manually downloading and installing updates. Here’s how you can download and install new updates on your system manually:

  1. Tap the Start button and type information in the search bar.
operating systems information
  1. Click the System Information app in the menu, and a new window will open. Here, locate the System value and note the value written next to it.
system value in the system information app
  1. Now, tap Windows key + I to open system settings and select Update & security.
advanced security settings
  1. In the Windows Update section, find and click View update history.
windows update settings
  1. Note the codes of the updates that failed to install.
windows manual updates
  1. Go to the Microsoft Update Catalog, type the failed update code into the search bar, and tap the Search button.
windows 7 latest servicing stack update
  1. In the search results, click the Download button next to the update that matches your system type. You can find these details by clicking the update title.
microsoft support windows 7 downloading updates
  1. Another window will open with links to the available updates. Click a link,and it will start downloading the update to your computer.
install updates automatically
  1. Open your Downloads folder to find the file when the download is complete. Double-click the file to start the installation process and follow the on-screen instructions.
windows updates on screen instructions

6. Modify Security Permissions of the SoftwareDistribution Folder

Sometimes, the Windows Update service fails to write information from the .log file at C:\WINDOWS\WindowsUpdate.log to the SoftwareDistribution folder. You must enable full control of the SoftwareDistribution folder to rectify this issue. Here’s how you can modify the security permissions of the SoftwareDistribution folder:

  1. Tap Windows key + E to open Windows File Explorer.
open file explorer
  1. Type C:\Windows in the search bar at the top of the page.
search c drive file explorer
  1. In the next window, locate the SoftwareDistribution folder. A quick way to find the folder is to press S on your keyboard. It will show all folders starting with the letter S.
locate the software distribution folder
  1. Right-click the SoftwareDistribution folder and select Properties from the context menu.
right click the software distribution
  1. A new window will appear. Navigate to the Security tab in this window and click Advanced at the bottom.
advanced security settings 1
  1. In the new window that appears, click Change written next to Owner: SYSTEM.
operating system user account
  1. Click the Advanced button to choose your username to add to the Enter the object name to select textbox.
tap advanced to choose username
  1. When you click the Advanced button, a new window will open. Here, tap the Find Now button, and multiple search results will appear at the bottom.
user account windows update service
  1. Locate and select your desired username in the list and click OK.
user account windows 7
  1. The username will appear in the Enter the object name to select textbox. Click the Check Names button to verify your username, and tap OK when it’s done.
verify your username
  1. Close all windows, right-click the SoftwareDistribution folder again, and select Properties.
software distribution properties
  1. Switch to the Security tab and tap the Edit button under the Group or user names list.
security settings windows upgrades
  1. In the next window, select the username for which you want to modify access. Then, check the box under Allow in front of Full control in the Permissions for Users section. Lastly, tap the OK button.
gain access operating system

7. Restart the BITS Service

The Background Intelligent Transfer Service or BITS can help if your Windows 7 won’t install updates. This service allows the transfer, download, and upload of files between servers and clients. So, running the BITS service can prove helpful for installing Windows updates.

Here’s how you can run the BITS troubleshooter:

  1. Tap the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
run dialog window
  1. Type services.msc in the Run command box and click OK.
microsoft services run box
  1. The Services window will open. Here, locate the Background Intelligent Transfer Service in the list.
background intelligent transfer service
  1. Right-click the Background Intelligent Transfer Service and select Properties from the context menu.
service status properties
  1. Under the General tab, choose Automatic from the dropdown menu in front of the Startup type option.
select automatic from the dropdown menu 1
  1. Click the Start button under the Service status option. Then, click OK to save changes.
start button under the service status 1
  1. Finally, restart your computer to reflect the changes.

8. Perform a Windows Registry Tweak

If nothing else works, you may need to edit Windows registry entries. It allows you to make changes to your computer that are not possible via Control Panel. Here’s how you can perform a registry tweak to enable Windows 7 to install updates:

  1. Tap the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
windows registry run box
  1. Type regedit in the text field and tap OK.
type regedit run box
  1. Tap Yes on the User Account Control prompt.
  2. Copy the following path and paste it into the address bar of the window that appears. Then, hit Enter key on your keyboard.Computer\HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
hkey users windows 7
  1. Double-click the AppData entry in the list on the right.
app data entry list
  1. A dialog box will appear where you can make edits. Make sure the Value data is set to %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming. If not, copy this value, paste it into the field, and click OK.
  1. After this process is complete, close all windows and retry the Windows 7 update.

5 Tips to Prevent Windows 7 Won’t Install Updates Error

To prevent the Windows 7 won’t install updates error, you should set it to install updates automatically, perform a disk cleanup regularly, check update settings, turn off security settings, and disconnect external hardware. At times, you may also need to download the required OS files for the Windows update.

Here are some tips to help prevent the Windows 7 update error on your PC:

1. Download the Prerequisites Needed for the Install

To successfully install a Windows update on your Windows 7 system, make sure that you have Internet Explorer 11 and the latest .NET framework installed. These programs can be downloaded from Microsoft’s official website.

Although it is possible to install updates without these prerequisites, it is recommended to have them in place to avoid potential issues during the update process.

2. Check Your Internet Metered Settings

To check if your system prevents installation updates, go to Windows Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi and select the Wi-Fi you’re using. If Set As Metered Connection is On, turn it Off. This is because Windows updates are typically not downloaded over metered connections. So, you should turn it off to allow Windows updates to download.

3. Add Disk Space

If your computer doesn’t have enough disk space, you’ll keep facing Windows issues to install updates. For instance, new operating systems require about 20 GB of free space for a 64-bit version. You can perform a disk cleanup to make more space on your hard drive. But if you require excessive space, you may have to add more disk space using an external drive.

4. Check for Malware

Sometimes, malware or malicious software may cause the Windows update not to install on your PC. You should run your antivirus software to check if this is the case. If the software detects a malware, quarantine it to prevent further damage.

5. Run Installation Media with Administrative Privileges

To ensure the Windows update process runs smoothly, run the installation media with administrative privileges. This will allow the system to access internal files and optimize the installation process to fix any problems.

You can manually run the installation media if you do not see a User Account Control (UAC) prompt. Right-click on the file and select Run as administrator.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if Windows 7 won’t install updates?

If Windows 7 won’t install updates, you can try doing the following:


Why can’t I check or download Windows 7 updates?

You may be unable to check or download Windows 7 updates because your RST driver is outdated. Windows 7 also fails to check or download updates if you have a third-party antivirus.

From where can I download Windows 7 update fix tool?

You can download Windows 7 System Update Readiness tool from the Microsoft Update Catalog. In the catalog, download the tool corresponding to the Windows version running on your computer. Then, install and run the tool.

Can I download and install all Windows 7 updates offline?

You can install Windows 7 updates without the internet if you have already downloaded them on your computer. However, downloading the updates requires an internet connection.

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