I made a clean install of Windows 8.1 on a computer. I'm trying to check for updates. The update check takes very long and finally the Windows Update section tells me that no updates are available and that no check has ever been done.

Why does the update check fail? What can I do with it?


Stop the Windows Update Service (via services.msc or in a cmd.exe which is started as admin via net stop wuauserv), download and install this update:

Installing and searching for updates is slow and high CPU usage occurs in Windows 8.1

Do a reboot and check again for new updates.

  • I recommend using services.msc, because after running net stop wuauserv as admin Windows Update was still running according to services.msc – Keammoort Apr 9 '17 at 17:10

I had this exact same problem.

You need the new version of windows update. The problem is, the patch notes for the updates you need don't actually tell you that they update windows update.

You need KB3173424 first, then install KB3172614. You should disconnect your computer from the network and restart before installing these after downloading.



I don't actually know if disconnecting your computer from the network to prevent windows update launching in the backround is necessary, but it worked for me. Similarly, I don't know if the updates must be installed in that order, or even if you need both of them. I just know it finally made the update process work. Hurray.

  • I had the same problem. Tried different combinations of Windows 8.1/Windows 8 and suggested tools. Finally using this solution helped me to get updates for Windows 8.1 – Marcin Nabiałek Jan 25 '17 at 5:55

I used this method and it worked.

  1. Run cmd as administrator.

Type the following commands:

  1. net stop wuauserv
  2. ren SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
  3. net start wuauserv

I managed to finally install updates using the above method.


After a clean install of Win8.1 I had this problem. The method outlined by user683780 (manually d/l KB3173424 and KB3172614 etc) worked for me. Be sure to disconnect your computer from the internet before running these files, otherwise they will not install - your computer will look like it is installing the first one but in fact it is still trying to use the old version of windows update already installed. As well as being disconnected from the internet before running these updates I stopped the existing windows update service on my machine (press windows key and R key, type services.msc into the run box, locate the windows update service in the list (wuauserv) and stop it). My laptop is now busy installing 1.2GB of important updates! :) PS be sure to run the updates in the order given in the answer above.

  • Please don't add "thanks" as answers. Invest some time in the site and you will gain sufficient privileges to upvote answers you like, which is the Super User way of saying thank you. – DavidPostill Jan 13 '17 at 15:40

Thanks user683780.. The process you described helped me get Windows 8.1 updating again. The only additional step I had to make was to enter safe mode in order to rename the software distribution folder.

My steps were:

  • turn off auto update,
  • download KBs (save),
  • restart computer in safe mode,
  • Rename SoftwareDistribution folder,
  • restart PC,
  • run the two KBs,
  • restart PC and;
  • return updates to auto.

Check for updates showed 223 updates pending.

  • Which two KBs? It would be useful to specify them explicitly – Greenonline May 31 at 11:04
  • Please don't add "thanks" as answers. Invest some time in the site and you will gain sufficient privileges to upvote answers you like, which is the Super User way of saying thank you – Ramhound May 31 at 11:33

protected by Ramhound Jul 15 at 2:54

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