This article will describe the steps involved in running updates on Windows 10.
- Open the start menu or look for the search bar at the bottom left of the Windows screen.
- Type the word "updates" in the search field. You should notice "Check for updates" appear as a search result. This is the option that you will select.
- You will see the system updates area appear in a window.
- Verify that your system is set to receive updates for Microsoft products other than Windows. A large number of updates are released for products such as Office as well. You will select "Advanced Options" to do this.
- The first selection under "Update options" is "Receive updates for other Microsoft products when you update Windows." Make sure this option is turned on, as shown.
- Go back to the "Check for updates" area.
- Select "Check for updates" on this screen.
- This page will display for a few moments while necessary updates are found.
- Once the search for updates completes, you may notice a few different things.
- A notice saying "You're up to date" displayed, as in the image above. This means that your computer is all up to date and you're done!
- A list of updates and in indication that they are downloading or installing. This means that you should let the updates process run and check back in a little while for further prompts.
- A list of updates and an "Install now" button at the bottom of them. Select "Install now" and let the updates run. Check back in a little while for further prompts.
- Once you are prompted to restart your computer, please do so either by using the restart prompt on the updates window or the start menu.
- You may need to repeat this process several times before you see the "You're up to date" message. Some of the updates are prerequisites for others. Try checking for updates until you see that message twice in a row.
Other Known Issues and Tips
"Restart now" doesn't seem to work.
You may see this error message or something similar when trying to restart with the "Restart now" option. Use the restart option from the start menu to get around this error message.
Other updates may be available and listed separately.
You may see some special (and larger) updates listed on a separate line below the "Check for updates" button. Pay attention to these and install them when you have a little extra time, like when you're between projects or over lunch. These updates are going to require a restart that may take a lot longer than you're used to. The version number that you see may be different than in the picture below, but the same concept applies.
Clean up potentially corrupted installers.
Occasionally issues occur with the update installers themselves. This can be caused by a number of things, but the resolution should be the same. Here is an example of an error you may see if the installer is corrupted.
Even if you don't see this error but you are having trouble installing some updates, you can still use this cleanup method.
You can do this easily through the command prompt using the following series of commands from an elevated command prompt (right click and "Run as Administrator"):
net stop wuauserv
move SoftwareDistribution sdold
net start wuauserv
The method is demonstrated in the elevated command prompt window below.
It is recommended that you clean up the "sdold" folder when you're done as it may contain several GBs of corrupted, useless installers that will simply be taking up space on your hard drive. Additionally, if you chose to use this method again you may notice an error on the move folder line caused by a pre-existing sdold folder from a previous attempt.
Clean up installation files that are no longer needed.
At some point it's good to go back and clean up installation files for previous Windows revisions that are no longer being used. This can save you dozens of GBs of disk space. To look at cleaning up your primary drive, open a file explorer window, right click on your hard drive, and select "Properties." You should see a window like this appear:
You'll want to select the "Disk Cleanup" option there.
Take the additional step of "Clean up system files" to see more options for areas to clean up. Give the system a few moments to check for items that can be removed.
You will notice a lot of different categories of files that can be cleaned up. It's up to you what you want to clean at this point. In our case, we'd be looking for anything related to Windows updates. For example, "Windows Update Cleanup," "Temporary Windows installation files", or even "Previous Windows versions" depending on what's been installed.
Once you've done this and accepted the prompt to continue, it may take a little while for the process to complete. This is especially true if you have previous Windows versions that need to be cleaned up.