How to fix “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running”

Sometimes you can get in situation that Windows Update is not working and you are receiving error

“Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer”.

It can be caused by corrupted data for Windows update. If this is your case fix could be easy.

  • go to services and stop Windows update service
  • locate C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\ folder and delete all its content
  • start Windows update service
  • check for updates

155 comments

  1. Steph says:

    I have this problem and I can not locate Windows Update in Services, can you help me with this issue please? I have tried everything and I can’t fix this problem and my computer is not receiving updates.

    • Michal says:

      Steph, simply run “services.msc” and locate service called “Windows Update”.

      • Jim M says:

        Thanks Michal for helping so many people! I tried this 2 times and it failed.

        If anyone else encountered this problem; here is what I did. Using your tip, I went to the services.msc folder. Then I expanded the window. Next went to the “windows update” as you indicated. It said disabled, so mine was turned off somehow. Then I double clicked the windows update.

        This opened a dialog box. Toward the bottom of that dialog box, you will see selection of “service status.” Mine was somehow set to “STOP.” I selected “START.” I also selected “manual” on “Startup” right above the “service status” option, b/c I like to control what downloads I get on my W7 PC.

        Clicked “apply” and closed that dialog box. Refreshed ad there came 27 important updates!

        THANK YOU for helping all of us, including me!

        • hassan mohamed says:

          i tried all your steps but it failed. my ms office word 2010 can’t open and desperate to make it work but it keeps failing me. the main proplem seems to be microsoft click to run services coz it keeps on failing. please help!

      • Greg Thomas says:

        Micahel,

        Thanks for this! I was a little hesitant to delete files in a Windows folder, but this truly was the fix. After restarting Windows Update, it launched fine and found 30 important updates and two optional updates that had not been installed previously because of the error. The Microsoft techs have no clue on most windows problems and most don’t seem to have a home in the U.S. either. Thanks again!

        • Jim says:

          This worked. I did not like to remove all those files either. I figgured if it did not work I would just restore from recycling bin if I had to.

          • Francois says:

            Hi there, can you please specify. Are we deleting all the files AND folders in the Windows folders or should I delete only the files?? Because there are sub-folders in the Windows folder as well…

        • TROY says:

          WORKED LIKE A CHAMP! THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

      • Kristy says:

        I have no idea where to find services.msc or the software distribution folder. Can you tell me where to look? Id be evr so grateful. Thankyou.

        • Michal says:

          Easiest ways it to open “start” button, then select “run” , type there services.msc and hit enter.

          Another option is to right click on “my computer” (icon on desktop or icon in start menu), select “manage” and you will see services in left tree.

      • greg says:

        Michal, I have windows 7, and I can’t find windows update under sevices….please help

  2. Martin Sequeira says:

    I tried your method and it worked. Thanks

  3. Andrie says:

    Omg! Thank you man. I just find it odd, all other tech support websites (specially support.microsoft.com) do not seem to have the right answers to resolve my problem. You are amazing. Thank you again. Do you mind if I share this somewhere, someday on the net? Cheers!

    • Michal says:

      Sure, no problem, share it as you like. In fact I have found it somewhere on the net too, but unfortunatelly I am not able to locate which page was that, but this is described on several webpages.

  4. Randall Tomis says:

    This bloody worked for me, MS has nothing on this.

    Thanks man

  5. Ahmed says:

    Oh wow! This really works! Thank you :D

  6. Carlos says:

    OMG!!! Thnx A Lot DUDE!!! Even the Microsoft can’t even give me the right solution for this problem…took me nearly 1 month finding the solution THNX again DUDE!! =d

  7. Charles Milton Ling says:

    Thanks a million! It worked for me, too. Amazing!

  8. S h i r a z says:

    Must say I tried the official answer from ms and they didnt work. I was sceptical of the advice you gave so saved a copy of the files deleted, but suffice to say it works perfectly – now downloading all updates.

    This was on a refurbished dell laptop that just arrived today from currys.

    Very very happy. THANK YOU.

  9. barry mccockner says:

    Just wanted to add mine to the many thanks. Tried all the MS “fixes” for 2 hours, nothing. Found this -BOOM! Now shut up and take my money.

  10. Yrjö Hatakka says:

    Thanks man

  11. Kurt Beutel says:

    I’m with the others, this worked and I’m grateful. Thanks!

  12. Paul Woods says:

    Hi solution works,

    but a bit of a sledge hammer approach: the actual cause of the pain is the following file is corrupt

    c:\windows\softwaredistribution\datastore\logs\edb.log

    if you rename or delete that file (as your solution ultimately does) then reboot the pc, auto updates will resume.

    Background:

    This file keeps track of the update history and status and if the status cannot be determined then updates won’t run. If the file does not exist (deleted or renamed) it is recreated and it is assumed that updates have never been run.

    • Christopher says:

      Thanks Michal and Paul for your help with this. Paul, I came home after 2 months of travel and when I turned on my both my laptop and my desktop (which I had not used for the 2 months), this problem of not being able to update Windows arose. Very strange as I had not made any changes or done anything I can think of that would cause this. Anyway, I followed Paul’s advice and deleted the specific file. It worked perfectly. What a relief! If I had contacted Microsoft support, it would have taken hours and likely no fix. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    • al says:

      thanks so very much Paul – did the same route as most other’s – very frustrating, but thanks to you it’s now fixed! (renamed edb.log file to edbXXX.log – after copying it safely to another folder – just in case!). So many people with the same problem seems to suggest that perhaps Windows Update did start to work but corrupted its own file? and then failed. Well-Done Microsoft (again!).
      My laptop: was Win 7 Home Edition (Not SP1); now – after your fix – all up-to-date with SP1 too! – (laptop had been off for three months previously).
      Thanks again!

    • Garrett says:

      I can’t find the file “c:\windows\softwaredistribution\datastore\logs\edb.log”

      How do I pull that up to delete it?

    • Frank says:

      I tried this and still wont work. no updates

    • Frank says:

      Hi Paul this didn’t fix my updates

  13. Renz says:

    You are the man! I wasted a whole day trying to fix this and then finally ran across you post. Thank you so much!

  14. Ramon says:

    When I went to systems Windows Update is already stopped, and when I try to start it; It gives me an error :/ Help please

  15. neternity says:

    damn fine fix

    thanks

  16. Dan says:

    Thanks!!! Your tip helped to clear the error!

    And just to help everyone out, AFTER I cleared the error with the tip on this site, my windows update got stuck on “checking for updates.” Then I found this (below)… turned off my Microsoft Security Essential anti-virus software and BINGO! I’m downloading 24 updates! Finally resolved! Hope this helps! Here’s what I found below…

    “Tip: Temporarily disable real-time protection by your anti-virus and/or
    anti-spyware applications (e.g., CounterSpy, Spysweeper, Spybot, AVG
    Anti-Spyware) and/or any third-party firewall (e.g., ZA) before attempting
    to install the update(s). If you disable a third-party firewall, do NOT
    connect to the internet without having the Windows Firewall enabled!”

  17. {RiS3} says:

    Hi, thx dude for your tips … But :

    I haven’t a service named windows update… How can i fix it ?

  18. Thank you. After replacing a hard drive, no fix would get Windows Update working. This did the trick.

  19. Afiz Fauzi says:

    wow.. that’s really help me..!! thanx for solution,, it’s Work!!

  20. Nawee says:

    After doing the above and a restart, Windows Update was back up and running again. Thanks!

  21. Clay P says:

    Thanks! I saw other solutions for my problems but they just didn’t seem correct. Ran across your blog and this made sense. Worked like a charm. Thank you

  22. amang says:

    great tip. thanks.

  23. Steven Boyd says:

    Thank you so much. This solved a problem i wasted a day on with Microsoft support website

  24. lester says:

    thanks

  25. George says:

    I want to thank you for this fix. I tried everything then came across this post. I just renamed the edb.log file and now im getting my updates. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

  26. Fred says:

    Server 2008r2 – this fixed me right up – thanks.

  27. Meaux says:

    Thank you for the tip! This worked for me.

  28. Eddie says:

    I replaced a hard drive and windows update didn’t work after. thank you for your tip, it saved me from purchasing the next “big upgrade”.

  29. Alex says:

    I have been trying to fix this problem for a couple of days. Your steps were easy to follow and best of all it work as all other’s didn’t. Thank you.

  30. Mark says:

    Thanks! This worked for me too though I had to start my PC in safe mode to delete the contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder.

  31. Tim says:

    So awesome! Thank you for this!

  32. mike says:

    Dude you rock, saved my day, thanks.

  33. Saran says:

    Thanks a lot……….

  34. Byron Santos says:

    Thank you for this information. Microsoft Fixit Service did not fixed my problem at all.

  35. Danno Allgrove says:

    Thank you. This worked splendidly for me. You saved me from a server reload!

  36. EJ Johnson says:

    Thank you! Works like a charm. Too bad they (Windows) cannot give more detailed information when it gets stuck like that.

  37. jeffrey monclova says:

    I got this error msg with an explanationthat links it to the memory manager. No virtual memory. O bytes. Any suggestions?

  38. drwain says:

    Another happy reader. Thanks for a solution that actually works.

  39. William says:

    Glad I found your fix, had already tried the official Microsoft fixes to no avail but had my updates downloading minutes after I found this!

  40. i80386 says:

    This worked perfect. Thank you!

  41. Robert L. Cutsinger says:

    You are now my best friend.

  42. OMG! I have searched for over two weeks now and tried everything this is the only thing that worked, I Love You!

  43. Luis says:

    Thank you. Your tip helped to clear the error and solve the problem.

  44. Juan Dela Cruz says:

    It worked !!! You’re a lifesaver!!!

  45. Rasheed says:

    Thanks. It worked on Windows 7 Home Edition :)

  46. Wiilliam Esparragoza says:

    Michal:

    I read your explanation, but I do not know, how to start t0 fix it.I do not know where SERVICE is located.
    Thanks,for your help.

  47. ian dee says:

    Hi William,

    You can find SERVICES from Windows Control Panel → Administrative Tools or typing “Services.msc” in the Run command on Start menu (if you are using Vista or later).

    It is located at C:\Windows\system32 (assuming windir is C drive).

  48. MeImnot says:

    Hi Michal,

    this was ruining my day on an Exchange server…THANKS!!

  49. Joe says:

    It worked as a charm….Thank u.

  50. Joe B says:

    Spent over an hour trying to figure out to fix this through MS. You are the best – this worked perfectly.

  51. Jake says:

    Holy crap, it worked… I had just installed a brand new hard drive and got caught up in beleiving I had bigger problems than I actually did based on some other horror stories on various forums about installing a new drive and then not being able to update windows… thanks!

  52. Arjinwet says:

    Thanks for your hopefully help. It work fine for me.

  53. arnold says:

    Thanks, it also work for me. have a nice post….

  54. Mark says:

    Add me to the list of now happy campers! Never had run across this problem before Win8 beta was made available…

  55. Ryan says:

    thank you so much. it’s work on my computer.

  56. Peter says:

    AMAZING!!!! I spent all morning and afternoon looking for a solution. Tried all the recommended fixes and almost did a system repair. Yours works just beautifully!!! I am downloading 32 updates as I type!

  57. Mo says:

    Absolutely brilliant !! I have a laptop I don’t use very often. This morning when I switched it on it updated the AVG Anti-Virus but then the windows update came up with the “service not running” message. (Could be just a coincidence). After fluffing about for an hour with all kinds of suggestions in all kinds of sites, including MS site, I stumbled onto this site and wow!! It worked like a dream. I didn’t even have to temporarily disable AVG.

    Thanks man !!

  58. Sean says:

    You’re the bomb dude!!! Those “geniuses” at Microsoft can go fly kite

  59. Sean says:

    You’re the bomb dude!!! Those “geniuses” at Microsoft can go fly kite!

  60. Neil says:

    Thanks much – did the trick for me.

  61. Hi Srs. occurred the same problem on my server (Windows Server 2008 R2). Was not able to do windows update, the service was started, but when asked to check for update, the message appeared stating that the windows update service was not running. It took me to figure out the problem by troubleshooting, on your own, until I found the tip of Michal. Then I accessed the directory C: \ Windows \ SoftwareDistribution \ DataStore \ Logs folder within the Logs and … deletes all the contents of the folder rebooted the machine and got after rebooting the server, run windows update successfully. Thanks Michal.

  62. Steve says:

    The followed the instructions the fault with windows update still occuring is there any way to down load the updates to this folder manually each month if the update problem not solved

  63. Sammygreat says:

    Awesome, been battling with same issue, now resolved,,,,, thanks for sharing ur knowledge…..

  64. Riza Mae says:

    thank you so much..you were such a great help..(.^_^.)

  65. Claes Kilgren says:

    Thanks alot, in my case on Windows 2008 R2, the application “wuauserv” that I found by using the sysinternals tool “handle”where running preventing me from deleting all folder and files. Killing that pid made it possible to delete all files. Now Windows Update works again.

  66. Rainer Gruber says:

    worked for me … thanks a lot!

  67. kofi Major says:

    thanks man it really helped.I can now check and install updates with no error

  68. RichardH says:

    Tried your fix and even Paul’s at http://jndm.net/2011/09/28/how-to-fix-windows-update-cannot-currently-check-for-updates-because-the-service-is-not-running/#comment-147

    When deleting the SoftwareDistribution folder, I got “Unexpected error prevented you from deleting folder…Error 0×80070091: The directory is not empty.” Tracked is down to the …/SoftwareDistribution/DataStore/Logs folder that gives “Folder is corrupted and unreadable”

    Any suggestions? :(

  69. Jooj says:

    Great, It worked for me.
    Thank you…

  70. Kyle says:

    I tried this several times and it has not worked, I tried the Microsoft fixes, they did not work either. I have a Windows 7 sp 1 laptop. Any help would be great

  71. Daryl says:

    The solution posted here worked for me. I have a Win7 sp1 Ent x64 vm.

  72. Phillip R. Stokes-el says:

    Thanks.

  73. David says:

    Thanks for this. Just fixed my friends computer after searching on Microsofts web site for hours, trying all their fixes, and then having no luck.

    Currently downloading 32 updates, and my friend thought his computer was up to date because he had told it to automatically update in the background! Thanks a lot Microsoft.

  74. Page S says:

    Dude, you rule!!!! I have spent several hours trying to fix this. I was convinced I had a virus. Cleaned the computer several times with several different programs. Was about to break out the Windows install DVD and go through that hassel of updates to get to where I am at now.

    Your fix took all of a couple minutes and all works well now. You kick Microsoft’s butt!!!! You should be running the show there now!

  75. ferg9020 says:

    Just for heads up. I had the same issue however It was an program written by intel. I uninstalled the
    “Intel Rapid Storage Manager” or “Intel Matrix Storage Manager” and after that windows update started running fine.

    • BaBs says:

      Just read the post below. It worked for me!
      Thanks mate, you saved my day (and my father’s laptop)…

    • Dundun says:

      Dear Ferg,
      Thank you so much. The solution Michal wrote didn’t work. But yours did. After I deleted Intel Storage Manager, my Windows Update started working again offering me 130 new updates. (I’ve been looking for a solution to this since mid november, but the program didn’t work since September.)

      Therefore, thank you so much for giving me my solution. I’m very grateful.

  76. BaBs says:

    DIDN’T work for me…
    Windows 7 Home Premium, HP dv6-1455sv laptop.
    After I changed my HDD (the old one died), I did a system restore with the recovery DVDs.
    Now the Windows Update doesn’t work…

    • BaBs says:

      I did uninstall “Intel Matrix Storage Manager” as ferg9020 suggests and now my laptop updates!!!
      Thank you ferg9020.

  77. chuck says:

    No fix here. Service is running, but Vista states that it isn’t when checking for updates. Tried the MS Fixit, found problems and said it fixed, no go. Tried this suggested fix, no go. Removed Intel Matrix Storage Manager, no go. Removed antivirus, no go. Reset firewall, no go. The service is running, starts and stops just fine. Also disabled crypt service and reset catroot2 folder, no go.

    When checking the event log, under the “system” section, windows reports that the event log service is not running. But it is. The event viewer for “applications” is working fine though.

    Any other ideas?

    • chuck says:

      Intel Matrix Storage Manager would not completely uninstall, it warns of this during the uninstall. Attempted setting controller to ATA, still no go.

      Downloaded and installed Intel Rapid Strorage Technology software. Instead of Matrix Storage. Still no go.

      Manually d/l and install SP2 just fine. Still, updates not working. Out of ideas.

  78. N B says:

    Brilliant… Thanks a lot!! :-)

  79. Angie says:

    Hi, I have just encountered the same problem but when i try to follow the instructions to stop Update in SERVICES it turns out its already stopped and it cant be started due to the Error 193:0xc1. What can I do?

  80. Aijaz Ahmad says:

    Thanks buddy great….
    Long live…..

  81. anis says:

    not showing windows service in services

  82. Daniela says:

    thanks you so much!!!

  83. Graham says:

    Perfect! Worked like a charm!

  84. Mark says:

    Worked like a charm for me too. Thx very much!

    • jackie says:

      Technical novice here…

      How do I locate the software distribution folder?

      Can you please help’

      Thankyou x

      • Michal says:

        It should be in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\. Open explorer and put this into adress bar and hit enter, it will open.

  85. Kristy says:

    I finally found it on my own. Seems to be working now. Thanks ever so much!!!!!!!

  86. Ekoputra Indonesian says:

    damn you man!! you make me happy beacause you can help me to updates my windows 7 ultimate….huahahahaaa…its work bro!!

  87. Maggie says:

    I did all that and still not updating :-(

  88. JP Roberts III says:

    Wow. Simple fix…AND most important…it worked (Win2K8R2 Standard Hyper-V hosted).

  89. Terri says:

    THANKS A MILLION!! Tried many other “fixes” that didn’t work. I’m now receiving updates.

  90. Piyush says:

    Thank you very much for the tip.

  91. Nic the pig says:

    found this on a different page…. very simple….

    :\Windows\Softwaredistribution\Datastore\Logs\Edb.Log

    If You Rename Or Delete That File (As Your Solution Ultimately Does) Then Reboot The Pc, Auto Updates Will Resume.

    This File Keeps Track Of The Update History And Status And If The Status Cannot Be Determined Then Updates Won’t Run. If The File Does Not Exist (Deleted Or Renamed) It Is Recreated And It Is Assumed That Updates Have Never Been Run.

  92. Nic The Pigs Nemesis says:

    Nic, I hate you….

    Love,
    Mom

  93. Kevin says:

    Deleted contents of Software Distribution folder, rebooted and still receiving the same error message. Running MS7…thoughts?

  94. Mark T says:

    Brilliant, just deleted the Logs and Datastore.ebd under Datastore and now uploading over 30 Updates onto 2 PC’s – thanks mate!!!

  95. Monica says:

    Attempted to do this fix, but when I go to services “windows update” is not even on the list! Can someone please help?

  96. chris says:

    there is no windows update on the list, and yes i have admin rights, what do i do now?

  97. Aaron says:

    Thank you!!!! Several hours of research and Windows support “answers” and nothing. 3 minutes reading and running your solution, and problem solved. Over 40 updates downloaded and installed. Awesome!!! Thank you again.

  98. Hi! I’m having trouble locating the windows update service anywhere… Is it possible that it is somehow missing or infected?

  99. Teemu says:

    Followed the directions and didn’t help. Nothing has changed at all, still can’t update.

  100. Eugene says:

    Thanks sir. This tips are so helpful for those people who encountered this problem. And tnx to JIM M too. :) )

  101. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve take note your stuff prior to and you are just extremely excellent. I really like what you have got here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which during which you are saying it. You are making it enjoyable and you still care for to stay it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a terrific site.

  102. beky says:

    Thanks Michal for helping,you are the king…

  103. Raagul says:

    Hey Michal I can’t find “Windows Update” on the services.msc list what should I do?

  104. Bill says:

    This worked perfectly. I had to log out and then log back in. Thanks!

  105. ashley says:

    I am having the same problem i have read everyones ideas and when I pull up services. I have no windows update in services. PLEASE HELP. I can’t get any updates I don’t know what to do

  106. Ken-Yu says:

    This worked for me!!! Thanks so much for sharing. Some tweaks were needed when I followed your steps but it all worked out well (p.s. I did not delete the SoftwareDistribution folder … I simply renamed it and created an empty one as a placeholder before running the update service again).

  107. rtire says:

    the best thing to remember is to go to admin tools in control panel, then go to services then windows update, click stop, then go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\, the delete, after that go back to admin tools and turn updates back on

  108. roy says:

    Even doing everything here, the service is not in the list. I can find the shortcut for it but the service is missing.. What can I do?

  109. Chris P. says:

    Thank you. The fix works as advertised…BUT..the key lies in the sequence as originally posted by Michal. Do the steps in the EXACT order or it doesn’t work! I know because I tried it unsuccessfully many times until the light came on! :)

    1) go to services and stop Windows update service

    2) locate C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\ folder and delete all its content (YES, ALL content!!!)

    3) start Windows update service and check for updates

    As soon as I did this EXACTLY as stated above, my computer started looking for updates!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  110. greg says:

    Not showing window sevices under services…..help

  111. Ubuntu Dude says:

    This worked perfectly when all else failed. THANK YOU !!!

  112. Michelle says:

    OMG!! Thank you!!

  113. Matts says:

    Updating my IDE/ATA ACHI with Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver 10.8.0.1003 worked for me! I’ve been sitting for days to to try to move to a new HDD and windows uppdate refused to work, as well ad windows defender. After updating “IRSTd” from device manager all started working again!!!

  114. PAUL says:

    Sometimes you can get in situation that Windows Update is not working and you are receiving error

    “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer”.

    ‘It can be caused by corrupted data for Windows update. If this is your case fix could be easy.
    •go to services and stop Windows update service
    •locate C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\ folder and delete all its content
    •start Windows update service
    •check for updates’

    fixed my problem first go thanks alot!!

  115. Yvonne says:

    I would also like to say a BIG Thank you. Worked perfect!

  116. Kenn says:

    NICE FIX! Your solution allowed me to get up and running. I had 81 updates to sit through, but all seems to be working well now. I even restarted my computer and ran Windows Update again (“no important updates available”) and created a Restore Point for good measure.
    THANKS MUCH!!!

  117. Ubaxle says:

    A BIG, BIG Thank you, you have saved a lot of time for everyone and from hassle too.
    I have cloned my old Computer Hard Drive to replace my old computer. My new computer worked fine after several fixes but the Widows updates could not run. “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer”.
    Thanks for this fix, someone was suggesting to format and re install window, which is the cruelest thing to do for PC users.
    I stopped the (Windows Update), service then
    Deleted the “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\” sub contents. Then
    Restarted Windows Update service (the directory sub contents were recreated by restart the Windows Update service) then
    Run: Control Panel\System and Security\Windows Update and it found 43 new updates. Charm

    THANKS MUCH!!!

  118. Naveed says:

    Idid the same as Michal requested but still unable to start the windows update service in win 7 pro. Its showing the error 193:0xc1.
    Please Michal can you help me for this error?

    Thanks & Regards,
    Naveed

  119. Reboote!!! The deletion of the folder wasn’t enought… you had to reboot…

    i found this out the hard way.

  120. chaz says:

    thanks! it worked for me also!
    woo-hoo!

  121. darrask says:

    Thanks, great fix!

  122. az-geek says:

    Great stuff Michal! I started spinning my wheels chasing down false problems, but was fortunate enough to find your post.
    Now I intend to checkout the rest of your site.

    Big thanks to you!

  123. Luis says:

    I never publish anything, anywhere. But you saved me and you totally deserve it. Thank you so much, it worked!

  124. Joe says:

    IT worked!!!!

    Thank you

  125. Scott says:

    Thank you! – I used this on a Microsoft-provided virtual image – worked flawlessly – although now I’ll be downloading windows and SQL updates for the next 2 hours. :)