Any computer user will need to update their system from time to time. Many updates are security fixes or features that are added to Windows.
Microsoft now publishes two major updates twice per year that offer many OS changes compared to the regular monthly updates.
If you find your Windows 10 update taking forever, it can be a few reasons causing the issue.
Why Do Windows 10 Updates Take So Long?
Windows 10 updates take a while to complete because Microsoft is always adding larger files and features.
Windows 10 is an immense, complex OS and is continually being tweaked.
While some updates are small, other Windows 10 updates are huge and will take a fair amount of time to download and install.
The most significant Windows 10 update to install will arrive in the spring and a second in the fall, which delivers many new features, improvements, and notable security fixes.
The times it takes to do all this can be reliant on a couple of factors.
If you have a slow internet connection, then downloading gigabytes of updates can take ages, as can suing WiFi for the same thing. (Read How to Test Your Internet Speed)
Because you may have an update and are unsure what it’s for, you may end up watching the blue screen for hours, leading you to think something is wrong.
Likewise, if the servers are overloaded on Microsoft’s end trying to download the latest update, you will find download speeds will suffer at certain times of the day.
If you have a fast internet connection and a high-power PC, you can find yourself wondering, why does Windows update take so long?
How Long Should a Windows Update Take?
Microsoft has done some studies, and with hundreds of millions of Windows 10 devices around the globe, they have a rough idea of how long a Windows 10 update will take on any computer that doesn’t have any issues.
While there are differences, such as it hasn’t been updated in a long time, or it is continually having Windows 10 updates installed.
The average amount of time it should take for major updates can range from 10 to 45 minutes or a bit longer depending on the number of updates or the size of Windows 10 updates in the system.
Why is Windows Update Taking So Long?
If you sit there thinking why are Windows updates taking forever, it can be because of a couple of issues.
You may have some update components broken on your computer. The updated app is a separate program in itself, and it can break. It is often smart enough to tell you there is an issue, yet others it will just hang and do nothing.
You may find your computer aging, and as you go to update, your computer can’t take the extra load. It can be something as simple as an old hard drive that can’t spin fast enough to write all the data as it is downloaded.
You may also find your hard drive is nearly full and can’t cope with a few more gigabytes of data. (Read How Long Do Hard Drives Last)
What to Do If My Computer is Stuck Updating?
Luckily, even if your computer is stuck while updating, Windows can help, and there are several things you can do.
No matter what you do, you should always back up your data beforehand. Here’s a list of things you can try.
1. Make Sure Your Windows 10 Update is Stuck
Although it may appear your PC is doing nothing, it could be chugging away. Many of the files in use on your computer are overwritten during an update. Although these only come into effect on a reboot.
Leave your PC as long as you can just in case.
2. Switch Your PC Off and On
Microsoft Windows Says not to turn off the power during an update. However, unless there is something seriously broken, your computer can restart and operate normally. Windows is smart, and it can set itself back to pre-update condition so you can troubleshoot.
3. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
The Windows Update troubleshooter can be your best friend as it can whizz through many issues faster than you ever could. It runs through a series of tests and checks lots of the Windows update app to check for errors.
4. Run Windows in Safe Mode
If you boot into safe mode, you have only the bare essentials running. If you can run Windows update here, there is less chance of a dodgy driver or application interfering with the update process.
5. Use System Restore
If your update breaks as it is trying to install, you can use the System Restore function. In the control panel, you can head to the system protection, and select system restore. You may have various entries you can use, the latest being the one before you begin your update.
6. Troubleshoot Windows Yourself
If the Windows troubleshooter doesn’t work, you can take the matter into your own hands and do the same manually. You will stop the Windows Update service, delete any temporary files and then rerun Windows Update.
- First, boot up into Safe Mode
- Access to the command prompt. Right-click on the Start menu, choose Command Prompt (Admin), and a text box appear
- Type “net stop wuauserv” and hit Enter
- Follow this with “net stop bits” and hit Enter (Don’t close the window)
- Inside Windows, navigate to the C:\ Windows\ SoftwareDistribution folder
- Delete everything you find there (all these are merely temp files)
- Head back to your command prompt and enter “net start wuauserv” and press enter
- Type “net start bits” press enter
This should get the Windows Update and background services running correctly
If all else fails, you may find your hard drive isn’t doing you any favors. It can be easy to swap this out with an SSD and perform a clean install of Windows 10. You will notice a huge difference.
One other thing you can do to make sure your PC is secure is to add a VPN into your PC’s tool kit. These can keep all your connections safe and secure, and it can help stop anyone from attacking your system. (Read our Best VPN Reviews)
You spent the time to keep it updated and running at peak performance, so a VPN is a bit more of a safeguard; it will stay that way.