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What IT needs to know about Windows 10 update troubleshooting

The Windows update process can cause a whole slew of problems for users and IT. Get acquainted with these Windows 10 update troubleshooting tips and make the process a lot easier.

Windows 10 administrators must deal with updates that can lead to interrupted desktop sessions, data loss or a broken desktop, but there are many tools and resources to help ease the process.

IT pros should familiarize themselves with these Windows 10 update troubleshooting tips and tricks.

Updates not downloading?

Windows Update may not be able to download a specific update. First, IT should run the Windows Update Troubleshooter. With this tool, Windows quickly restores update files to complete the process. A local version of Windows Update Troubleshooter comes preinstalled with the OS, but Microsoft also offers the most updated online version of Windows Update Troubleshooter available for download.

If Windows Update Troubleshooter does not work, Microsoft offers the Microsoft Update Catalog, an online backlog of these updates. This website contains updates for OSes ranging from Windows 2000 to Windows 10. IT can look up a specific Windows update based on its Knowledge Base number and manually download the update that Windows Update failed to download.

IT can also use third-party tools for Windows 10 update troubleshooting. The Windows Update MiniTool, for example, replaces the Windows Update client and downloads updates from Windows Server with its own software.

If all else fails, IT can perform a full Windows update reset to receive updates that did not download or lost update files.  

Want to test new updates first?

Microsoft recommends running updates as soon as they are released, but IT may want to test updates before they implement them across users' desktops. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) allows IT to do that.

Using the Group Policy Editor, IT can adjust a desktop's settings to receive updates only from the WSUS server, rather than Windows Update. This Windows 10 update troubleshooting fix significantly cuts down on internet congestion from multiple users updating their desktops.

The WSUS server also gives IT better management capabilities to handle updates that might cause problems. Older hardware may not work with current Windows updates, but WSUS allows IT to test these updates for compatibility.

WSUS also allows IT to set up an approval system for specific updates or groups of devices that are ready for current Windows updates. For devices that run into problems with the latest update, WSUS can defer the update for a limited time.

Need to stop interruptions?

Windows automatic updates can come at the most inconvenient times­, interrupting the user's workflow and productivity. IT can prevent this issue by using the Group Policy Object Editor.

The first step is to set up the Active Hours feature for PCs in the Windows Update settings. IT should set a PC's active hours within the organization's regular work hours. IT can then schedule Windows 10 updates for the morning or evening, outside of the regular work hours.

IT can also turn off auto-restart and update notifications that appear during the PC's active hours using the Group Policy Object Editor.

This was last published in February 2019

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