So once I pressed update in Windows Update, and the progress bar appears and it starts updating. However, it got stuck in "Preparing Update Installation". I cannot press cancel because it says I need to be logged in as administrator which I am, but for some reason it thinks I am not. I tried rebooting the computer but it still stuck at the "preparing update" step.

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Translation: "You must provide system administrator permission", "In order to cancel, you must be logged in as an administrator account, or request a system administrator to cancel."

How can I cancel it and restart it? I am using Windows 8. (Not Windows 8.1)

  • Force reboot! Hold the power button for 5-10 secs. Although there are many things that can stop you from starting your computer, there's virtually nothing that can make it impossible to turn it off! – tumchaaditya Dec 18 '13 at 22:28
  • @tumchaaditya - So manually turning it off is the way to go if I understand it correctly? – Derek 朕會功夫 Dec 18 '13 at 22:34

Open Command prompt with Elevated privileges

taskkill /im wuauclt.exe /f

This will use taskkill to "Ends one or more tasks or processes" searching for the image name wuauclt.exe which is the windows update process

To check if it's running and for more info about the process you can run

tasklist /v | findstr wuauclt.exe

This will output the authority that called the process so you can understand why you can't touch it with you current privilege level

  • I executed the first one, although it says it successfully sent a terminate signal to wuauclt.exe, when I go to Windows Update it is still preparing the update and tasklist also says it is still running. – Derek 朕會功夫 Dec 19 '13 at 1:40
  • 1
    Okay add the /f flag to the command, it will force kill the process. – 50-3 Dec 19 '13 at 1:56
  • Okay now it stopped and I can restart the update. Thank you so much. – Derek 朕會功夫 Dec 19 '13 at 2:21
  • @50-3, What does wuauclt stand for? – Pacerier Oct 22 '15 at 21:24
  • @Pacerier Windows Update Agent – 50-3 Sep 19 '16 at 1:48

Here is an alternative way, without the command line.

First, when accessing the update options through Metro by doing mouse to upper right corner->Settings->Change computer settings->Update/Restore, there is not even an "abort" button to press.

The Windows Update options have to be accessed through the classic desktop Control Panel, where you promptly discover that even though you are a user with Administrator privileges, you can't press the abort button. My guess is that this is a bug where MS forgot to add whatever is needed for that small shield to be added to the button and check user privileges.

Instead, go to Control Panel->Services and scroll down to Windows Update service. Right-click and press Restart, and hopefully you can now select/deselect which updates to install.

  • This is for Windows 8, but if it was for Windows XP the name in control panel "Services" would be "Automatic Updates", not "Windows Update". – Peter Mortensen Apr 28 '14 at 16:11

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