Today I was yet again faced with the error “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer”. This time however it was not due to all my services being disabled …
Below is a small check-list if you face the same problem. Please do take the time to restart after each executed step, Windows Update does not always re-check all states, once it’s dead, it’s dead 😦 .
Check the services
Check that the following Windows Services are running and have the correct startup type, Windows Update will not work when the services have the wrong Startup-type:
- Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS, Automatic (Delayed Start))
- Windows Event Log (eventlog, Automatic)
- Windows Update (wuauserv, Automatic (Delayed Start))
System Update Readiness Tool
As suggested on the Microsoft Technet fora, running the System Update Readiness Tool might resolve your problems, even tough I don’t understand how a Windows Update Standalone Installer could fix a broken Windows Update so you may be faced with the following error:
Run the system file checker
If at this point, Windows Update still doesn’t work you may have some corrupted files on your computer. Start an elevated command prompt and execute the System File Checker with sfc /scannow .
Update 2014/05/06: for the less techincal people, you may want to try running the Windows Update Troubleshooter. It certainly doesn’t fix every problem, but I saw something like ‘Clearing data cache’ passing by so it might actually resolve the problem.
Delete that corrupted folder
If at this point it still doesn’t work then you can follow this guys advice: remove the corrupted C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder. You may need to stop the Windows Update Service before deleting this folder (net stop wuauserv in an elevated command prompt 😉 ).