Failed Windows Updates Causing Slowdowns?
Does your Windows system seem to run slower than it should, even after running maintenance programs such as Advanced System Care or Privazer? Does it take “forever” to shut down or restart? Does it stall during a restart, forcing you to shut off power and restart manually? If so, read on for a non-obvious possible cause of these problems and an equally obscure but simple solution…
Deleting Failed Windows Updates Cures System Sluggishness
Windows Update has the job of keeping your computer up to date with the latest security patches and fixes from Microsoft. But for reasons that remain shrouded in mystery, sometimes those updates fail. Do you have failed updates clogging your PC pipes?
The first step is to open Windows Update and check the update history of your computer. Click Start, type Windows Update and press Enter. (On XP systems, click Start, then All Programs then Windows Update.) Next, click "View Update History." (On Windows 10, you need to click "Advanced Options" to see the "View History" option.)
If you see several “failed” updates, that may well be your problem. Update files have been downloaded to your hard drive, but for some reason Windows Update could not install them. In some cases, the patch file may be corrupted during download. I've also heard that overzealous antivirus tools may try to block the installation of certain fixes. Or it could be the phase of the moon, cosmic rays, or even the Fibonacci Sequence. Like I said, shrouded in mystery.
The problem is, Windows Update keeps trying to install these corrupted updates every time you shut down or restart your computer, and at other times when it thinks you won’t be using the machine. That vain struggle consumes system resources and delays shutdowns and restarts.
It’s not just you who has this problem; a Google search on “removing failed Windows updates” yields over 13 million hits. Solutions recommended by self-proclaimed experts and others who have no idea what they’re talking about are equally numerous. They range from “wipe the drive and do a clean installation of Windows” to a set of over a dozen complex commands that must be entered in a cmd window, with multiple reboots in between. I wouldn’t blame anyone who decided to just live with the issues described above.
A Simple Solution
But I found an elegantly simple solution that worked just fine on one of my laptops, buried in a Tom’s Hardware forum thread with the subject, “delete failed update…” Anyone who can navigate WIndows Explorer can do it easily in just a minute. Here is what to do:
- Click on the folder icon next to the Start button to open Windows Explorer
- Click on the icon in the lefthand pane that represents your C: drive
- Navigate to Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download. The update files are in the “Download” folder.
- Press Ctrl-A to select all files in the Download folder.
- Delete all of those files.
Now run Windows Update to get the missing updates. That may take 20-30 minutes if you had a lot of failed updates. Afterwards, check the update history again. If you see any failed updates from the most recent attempt, repeat the steps to delete the failed update files and try to update again.
When I did this on my buggy laptop, it cured all of the problems cited in the first paragraph of this article. The machine reboots without my help, shutdown and restart are faster, and overall performance is satisfyingly snappy again.
Even better: I now have several critical updates installed that keep my laptop secure. So even if you don’t notice any performance issues, I recommend that you check for failed updates and try to correct them.
Give this procedure a try, then post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 14 Aug 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Failed Windows Updates Causing Slowdowns? (Posted: 14 Aug 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved