Windows 7 update failure

Symptoms / Error Codes:
Error “Windows cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running”

Sometimes I have noticed, the windows update service might be running but still users get this error. At such instances, the below solutions have worked.

  1. Goto start > type services.msc
  2. Scroll down to find Windows Update service
  3. make sure Windows Update service is stopped, else right click and stop it
  4. Go to C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution and delete all files in it
  5. Come back to services.msc and start Windows Update service



  1. Bill said:

    Your fix worked fine, thank you very much!

    March 26, 2012
  2. Tom Henriksen said:


    I had to send in my tablet in for a repair and needed to get my laptop up and running. Your trick of stopping Windows Update, deleting the files in C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution and then restarting Windows update did the trick and got Windows updates downloading again.

    Thanks so much! It could have been a black hole of wasted time I didn’t have.


    May 21, 2012
  3. Jay said:

    This worked for me, however, can you explain why this is doing this? Example, 10 pc’s were imaged, last week 8 worked fine, today, I run WU on the remaining 2 and have this error? What’s the cause? Is it a corruption in the software distribution folder?


    May 21, 2012
    • ashokjp said:

      It doesnt make a difference whether you imaged windows or not.

      We delete the files to clean up any corrupt updates in the folder. This can be due to a network issue, failed update due to any other technical reasons. Deleting them will ensure the updates are downloaded again.

      To make simple, assume you are visiting a website which was updated few seconds back and you find all images you see are still old ones. You go and clean your browser cache and voilla you get the site fresh with up to date content.

      June 3, 2012
  4. Katherine said:

    Your solution worked wonderfully. Really appreciate the tip and your taking the time to post it.

    June 3, 2012
  5. Migo said:

    Wow! I searched high & low and so much confusing info BUT I followed your solution and it WORKED – fixed in a flash! Gracias! Thanks! Merci!

    June 5, 2012
  6. Jeannie said:

    Thank you so much. I have never got updates to work on this computer once I upgraded to Windows 7. Your fix worked and now I am downloading and installing 27 Windows Updates. 🙂

    June 10, 2012
  7. Bruce said:

    I have tried the above solution but am still get the same error message – “Windows cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running”

    I would really aqppreciate any other suggestions.

    June 12, 2012
  8. Kathee Gladden said:

    Thanks- been trying everything to get windows to update again, and nothing worked until I found your fix. You are a genius!

    June 12, 2012
  9. Arnette said:

    After hours of searching how to get Windows Update to work on my Gateway Netbook running Vista and after downloading several “help” products that did not help (maybe because I did not want to pay for the full versions), I came across your solution. It worked like a charm and was so easy to do. Thank you very much!

    June 13, 2012
  10. Roobx said:

    Ashokjp, This fix worked for me also. Thank you. What I’m interested in is how you learned or discovered this fix and ones like it. What education or training do you have. I would love to become more indepth in working or fixing the software side of computers. My only training right now is reading books on hardware and software that I can find and of course anything I can find on the internet. Just this small amount of info has made me the family computer guy and part time tech for work. I really love this line of work and would like to learn more about it. Thank you for your time.

    June 29, 2012
  11. uuBob said:

    I’ve had the computer for 17 months and didn’t realize I had the problem until something I tried to do told me to do an update. I found not only did update not work, it never had. 39 updates. Microsoft ‘Fixit’ didn’t work. Your suggestion did. Thanks.

    July 2, 2012
  12. nua said:

    absolutely help…thank you very much.

    July 15, 2012
  13. Daniel Jamros said:

    Your solution worked perfectly; links to Microsoft Fixit etc. did not. Thank you so much for posting your helpful idea!

    July 21, 2012
  14. Bob said:

    This fixed my problem. Thanks for posting this information.

    July 23, 2012
  15. danqo said:

    thanks a bunch for the solution

    August 11, 2012
  16. pavan said:

    you are just awesome.. the fix helped me update my windows…

    August 17, 2012
  17. Carol said:

    I am sorry to say did not work for me 🙁 this is driving me absolutely nuts. Any other fix it’s?

    September 2, 2012
  18. Stefan Lindholm said:

    Seems to work out fine. Thanx

    September 3, 2012
  19. mic geinus said:

    You a genius thanks alot my pc now stable

    September 21, 2012
  20. Bill said:

    The fix worked for me in August. Just tried to update again (oct 2012) and no joy. Tried the fix and can not open “services.msc”……..I just get to a “services” window……I am using Windows 7……

    October 16, 2012
  21. Wayne said:

    Shut down my laptop and it won’t restart. Complete destruction

    October 19, 2012
  22. Mr Stan said:

    This fully works. Its the solution. I see that you basically delete all downloaded updates.
    Mr Stan

    November 20, 2012
  23. Chippen Sweden said:

    Your fix was the only thing that worked.
    you should be the one working for windows support instead of those meatballs i talked too for 4 HOURS!! with no result.
    You are the man
    Best regards Chippen in sweden

    December 19, 2012
  24. Mitch said:

    there is no windows update on services.msc and scroll down there is no list on my pc what i suppose do ?

    August 5, 2013
  25. Mitch said:

    i did it and delete it and open services.msc and scroll it down and there is no windows update on service.msc !!! what i suppose do ?

    August 5, 2013

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