Windows 8.1 doesn't appear to be updating. When I go to check for updates, it seems to just continuously check for updates without making progress. I have left it for a few hours with no luck.

I don't have any restore points and it is a genuine copy of Windows. It has been like this since I purchased my laptop. I have also ran Microsoft's basic troubleshooting tools and whilst it did say that some issues were fixed, nothing changed.

Any help on this situation?

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7 Answers 7


In my case, manually downloading and installing the "Windows Update Client" Update for Windows 8.1 (KB3138615) fixed the issue. All you need to do is download the update (see this answer if you don't know whether you are running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows), double click it to start the install, follow the instructions, and restart when prompted. After restarting, you can restart Windows Update Client and it should find the necessary updates after a few minutes.

Here's a similar Q&A for Windows 7 SP1: Windows 7 SP1 Windows Update stuck checking for updates

Note: you may also need to download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter before installing the update.


So I found my answer here (after searching all over)


Copy pasting the steps I used to get it to work:

  1. From the Administrative command prompt (clean up any errors)
    • Run sfc /scannow
    • Run dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /RestoreHealth
  2. Reset the Windows update process
    • Start services.msc (or Open Task Manager and click on Services), locate the Windows Update service (wuauserv). STOP the service
    • Open %windir%\SoftwareDistribution e.g. C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and delete all the files in that folder (it may prompt you for administrative access, click Ok)
    • Start the Windows Update Service through the Services manager
  3. Reset Windows Update Settings
    • Open the Windows Update window, click on Change Settings, set Windows to NEVER check for updates, click Ok.
    • Open Change Settings again, select the option you want (check and download, automatically update etc) and Click OK.

Now check for updates.

  • I tried this step by step but didn't work. May 21, 2017 at 21:54
  • 1
    This did work for me on Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64
    – user765827
    Aug 29, 2017 at 15:00

None of the solutions proposed worked for me (and I did not want to use non Microsoft signed apps). After testing a lot of options, finally, the key was the point suggested by William Burgess: cut your internet connection before installing the manually downloaded updates. It looks like the manually downloaded updates are also stuck on "Checking for updates..." if the internet connection is available.

I suggest to try the following steps:

  1. Download KB3173424, KB3172614 and KB3138615 from Microsoft website taking care to select x64 for a 64 bit machine and x86 otherwise, and to select the original language of the system of your computer.

  2. From control panel, run the troubleshooter “Fix problems with Windows Update.” with administrator rights. It has the advantage to stop windows update service.

  3. Delete %windir%\SoftwareDistribution (e.g. C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution): right click on the folder and Delete with administrator rights. To save space you may also delete the SoftwareDistribution.old or SoftwareDistribution.bak folders you can find.

  4. Stop your internet connection (unplug LAN cable, switch to airplane mode)

  5. Install KB3173424, KB3172614 then KB3138615 in this order. You may be prompted that installation will be done without internet connection: press the button to agree.

  6. Re-start your computer, then re-activate internet connection. Even if it is fixed, it may take a while to check for updates, so be patient.

If it still does not work, you may try to re-install first Windows 8.1 from scratch before taking the steps above. You can download ISO image of Windows 8.1 from Microsoft website.

  • 2
    This seems to have worked for me
    – Shagymoe
    Jul 14, 2019 at 17:48

I downloaded KB3173424-x64 and KB3172614-x64, then renamed folder C:\windows\softwaredistribution to softwareditribution.old I disconnected internet connection (network cable) then installed the KB's in order as listed above, Plugged back in the internet connection and started windows update which ran about 3 mins before showing me I had 152 updates to install. This worked with no issue.


If any still have the problem of update windows 8.1 not showing the updates or keep searching for hours without any result. I checked this :https://www.howtogeek.com/247380/how-to-fix-windows-update-when-it-gets-stuck/ as i am on a laptop that had to do the factory install of windows 8 and did the upgrade to windows 8.1 and after finishing all. It shows the updates from year 2014 to the date of 15/5 and couldn't find any other updates through search manually,so used the url up to fix it. Hope this help whoever suffer from same issue as i did.

From the link:

Windows includes a built-in troubleshooter that may be able to help fix a stuck update. It’s the easiest method to try, so go ahead and run it first. The troubleshooter performs three actions:

  1. It shuts down Windows Update Services.
  2. It renames the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old , essentially clearing the Windows Update download cache so that it can start over.
  3. It restarts the Windows Update Services.

To run the troubleshooter:

Troubleshooting options - control panel

  1. Search for “troubleshooting” in the start menu and then click on the "Troubleshooting (control panel)" option.
  2. In the Control Panel list of troubleshooters, in the “System and Security” section, click “Fix problems with Windows Update.”
  3. In the Windows Update troubleshooting window, click “Advanced.”
  4. In the advanced settings, make sure that the “Apply repairs automatically” check box is enabled, click “Run as administrator” and then click Next. Giving the tool administrative privileges helps ensure that it can delete files in the download cache.

If running the troubleshooter didn't work, you can try a third party tool called "WSUS Offline Update". This tool will download available Windows Update packages from Microsoft and install them. Run it once, have it download those updates and install them, and Windows Update should work normally afterwards.

To use this tool, you must first download and extract it.

Once downloaded and extracted, open WSUS and select the version of Windows you’re using–“x64 Global” if you’re using a 64-bit edition or “x86 Global” if you’re using a 32-bit edition. After you do, click “Start” and WSUS Offline Update will download updates.

WSUS offline update - architecture selection screen

After the updates are done downloading, open the “client” folder in the WSUS Offline folder and run the UpdateInstaller.exe application. Click “Start” to install the downloaded updates. After the tool finishes installing the updates, Windows Update should work normally again.


It takes to install the handful of the Windows Update packages to resolve the problem

I kept coming back to this page, along with a few other pages online for the updates required to get Windows Update to work properly. So I created the update packs for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, all packed into the singular .ZIP files

I hope these packages help someone in the future


Having read the many, many reports and advice on this on the Net, there are two main causes (which aren't necessarily mutually-exclusive):

  • Incorrect settings for the update-related services and/or general system file corruption

The most advanced fixing tool I've seen suggested is the Reset Windows Update Agent tool (the current version is hosted at https://github.com/wureset-tools/script-wureset). It combines functionality for all the fixing advice on this topic found in various places around the Net. There are 16 items in its menu (as of this writing), the key ones to try are:

* **2. Resets the Windows Update Components.** Reset and reinitialize all Automatic Updates-related services and modules (includes 4 or 5 services, module registrations, registry settings and `SoftwareDistribution`)
* **6. Runs the System File Checker tool.** Check the integrity of and fix protected system files with `sfc /scannow`
* Check the integrity of and fix installed system packages with `Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth`
  • Bugs in the automatic update agent

Out-of-the-box Update Agent is known to get stuck in an infinite loop in some cases - among others, if Office 2007 and some updates for it are installed. The solution here is to update the update agent to the latest version manually. Here's where the tricky part starts as M$ doesn't officially maintain a list of the updates required for this.

* <sub>[Older advice][4] instructs to install KB3172614 and KB3214628. This no longer works: the latter update reports itself as not applicable.</sub>
* A script at http://www.bifido.net/tweaks-and-scripts/5-search-for-windows-updates-takes-forever-a-possible-solution.html installs [KB3172614][5], [KB3173424][6] and [KB3138615][7] with `dism /online /add-package /packagepath:<path to .cab unpacked from .msu>`. This has worked for me as of this writing.
    * Before this, I also installed all updates from an [update pack][8] to be absolutely sure I have all the prerequisites (so can't say if the previous paragraph works on its own). It contains 138 updates for 8.1 proper (i.e. not counting .net), about 2/3 of which were applicable for me, and an `.exe` that batch installs all the updates that are put into its folder.

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