Microsoft is announcing a new Windows 10 build and everyone but you will be getting their devices updated. When you check the Windows Update section in the Settings app, Windows says your device is up to date. Sure, there’s a new Windows version, but you’re stuck with an older version. We explain why this happens and how to force a Windows 10 update.
Microsoft is rolling out Windows 10 updates one by one – not everyone receives an update at the same time. When a Windows Update is available to the public, you may receive the update immediately, or it may take days. However, if the delay is weeks or longer than usual, the troubleshooting techniques in this guide can help you force-install a Windows 10 update on your device.
Do you have the latest version of Windows 10?
Before you try to force install an update, confirm that your device is really not up to date. Go to Settings † System † About and scroll to the Windows Specifications section and note the build and version of the operating system.
Now go to the official Windows 10 release information pageand compare the details of your PC’s operating system with the latest version of Windows 10 and the build number in the list. If you don’t have the latest version, skip to the next section to learn how to manually trigger a Windows update.
Force Windows 10 to Update
There are several factors that slow down a Windows 10 update. This could be due to low storage space, failure of critical system processes, and so on. If storage is the problem, the Windows Update agent will display an error message informing you to free up additional storage space. Other factors, on the other hand, can be difficult to pinpoint.
We have collected some possible ways to force install a Windows Update by eliminating issues that cause the delay.
1. Restart the Windows Update service
This service ensures the delivery of software updates for Windows devices. Your PC may not be able to automatically download or install a new update if the service is not working properly or is inactive. Restarting the Windows Update Service may force Windows 10 to install an update. Follow the steps below to get it done.
1. Type Services in the Windows search bar and select Services at the results.
2. Right click Windows Update and select Restarting†
Return to the Windows Updates section in the Settings app and check if a new update is available for your computer.
2. Restart the Background Intelligent Transfer Service
The Windows Update Service relies on the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to download updates from the Microsoft servers. If BITS stops working, your PC may not be able to download and install updates. Restart the service and check if that resolves the issue.
1. Type Services in the Windows search bar and select Services†
2. Right click Intelligent transfer service in the background and select Restarting†
If the service does not start, try other troubleshooting techniques in this troubleshooting guide for the Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
3. Delete the Windows Update folder
The Software Distribution folder contains the necessary files to install Windows on your computer. If you have not yet received an update available globally, deleting the contents of the folder may force Windows to purchase and install the latest OS build. Windows will automatically recreate the folder and redownload the files needed to update your PC.
Before going any further, there is something important to note. The Software Distribution folder also contains files containing your PC’s Windows Update history. Therefore, deleting the folder means you cannot roll back to an earlier Windows version†
In addition, updating your computer may take longer than usual. That’s because the Windows Update Service must first repopulate the Software Distribution folder before installing an available update.
To delete the Software Distribution folder or its contents, you must first stop the Windows Update Service and Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
1. Right click on the Start menu and select Command Prompt (Admin)†
2. Paste the command below into the console and press Enter to stop the Windows Update service
just stop wuauserv
3. Paste the following command and press Enter† That terminates the Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
net stop bits
4. Start the Explorer and go to Local Disk (C:) † Windows † software distribution and delete all items in the folder.
If you cannot delete the files or if you get an error message, restart your computer and try again. After deleting the Software Distribution files or folder, continue to the next step to restart the previously stopped background services.
5. Open Command Prompt as an administrator and paste the below command into the console to restart the Windows Update Service.
just start wauser
6. Then paste this following command and press Enter to restart the Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
net start bits
Windows will automatically download the files needed to update your computer to the latest OS build. Now check if the latest Windows build is available.
4. Run Windows Update Cleanup
When you install newer versions of Windows 10, Windows stores the system files of older updates on your device. Allows you to uninstall an update or roll back the operating system to a previous version. However, these system files often take up storage space and cause problems with future Windows Updates.
Use the Disk Cleanup tool to perform a Windows Update cleanup and try installing the update again.
1. Type disk cleanup in the Windows search bar and select Disk Cleanup at the result.
Wait for the tool to calculate how much free space you have on your PC. This may take a few seconds or minutes, depending on the storage size and configuration of your PC.
2. Click on the Clean up system files knob.
The Disk Cleanup utility recalculates the available storage space on your local disk, this time taking system files into account.
3. Check Clean up Windows Updateuncheck other options and select Okay continue.
5. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
If you still can’t install Windows Update after deleting all associated files, you can use the built-in troubleshooting tool to find and fix issues that are slowing down the update. Go to Settings † Update & Security † Resolving problems † Windows Update and click on the Run the troubleshooter knob.
The Windows Update troubleshooter scans for issues that are preventing your computer from installing an update.
When the diagnosis is complete, go to the Windows Update menu and see if you can now install an update. If nothing changes, restart your computer and try again.
6. Use the Windows Update Assistant
Not only can the Windows Update Assistant force an update, but it also performs a compatibility scan to ensure that your computer meets the requirements for the latest version of Windows 10.
Go to the Windows 10 Download Page in your browser and select the Update now to download the Windows Update Assistant installation file.
Double-click the installation file to install and launch the Windows Update Assistant. Select Update now continue.
The tool will check if your device is compatible with the latest version of Windows 10. Select Next one and the Update Assistant will download and install the update on your PC. This may take a while depending on the size of the update, your internet speed, and other factors.
Sometimes you can’t force Windows updates
You may not be able to force a Windows Update if Microsoft has a safeguard watch on your computer. A “safeguard hold” is a technique used to temporarily prevent users from installing an unstable or potentially malicious update.
So, how do you recognize a hold? Go to Settings † Updates and Security † Windows Update† If your computer has a security on it, you’ll find this error message on the page: “The Windows 10 update is on its way. Once it’s ready for your device, you’ll see the update available on this page.”
Microsoft strongly advises against opting out of a security block, ie manually installing an update when there are known performance issues with the update. Wait for the update issues to be resolved or for security to be lifted.