Trouble installing updates? Might be a case of bad timing

This week we released security updates for the Windows operating system. If you have automatic updating turned on, your updates have probably already been downloaded and installed for you.

Learn how to get updates automatically

Even if you have automatic updating turned on, you might see an error message telling you that your updates were not installed.

Some errors are simply a matter of bad timing. Sometimes your updates don’t install because the website is too busy or you’re using a slow connection. You can usually fix these problems by trying to install the updates again.

For more information about solving connection problems, see:

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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14 comments
  1. Anonymous

    Still does not work. It is Thursday and the updates for Windows 8.1 do not want to install.

    I had this for  few month now and now updates are not working.

    Is it because there is no start menu and that updates stop working? I wish I never got rid of my Windows Xp computer. It had a start menu and never had a problem with updates.

  2. Anonymous

    If you are using Emsisoft Internet Security Suite this may be the problem. I had the problem of not being able to install updates especially the cumulative updates because something within the Emsisoft software would cause a failure of the update(s) to complete. Some have uninstalled the security software and it's firewall completely before the updates would install. I found that disabling the anti-malware portion from starting up and turning off all firewall features except the firewall itself would achieve successful updates without having to uninstall and then reinstalling after the updates successfully installed. Try doing this before going through the trouble of uninstalling and reinstalling. Good luck!

  3. Anonymous

    It is 7/15/14 and updates are still not installing.

    My Windows 8.1 is broken. It can not get any updates. What is wrong with it? Do I need a new computer already? I had this for  few month now and now updates are not working. Why is that?

  4. Anonymous

    Hw do i quickly reinstall updates that dont install?

  5. Anonymous

    Dan……I have found using Windows 8.1 updates will not always install using a local/standard account.

    I've had to open my administrator account to download and install windows updates, and no problems

    were incurred.

  6. Anonymous

    I have Win 7 (remember it) have had trouble installing updates for a few months now.

  7. Anonymous

    I have not been able to install updates in a Win 7 64 bit desktop since October. It gets stuck on the same one every time and says "failure to configure" and undoes the ones it has installed. At the same time my Win 7 32 bit laptop has installed every update seamlessly. Anyone have any clues, I'd be grateful.

  8. Anonymous

    Have a wide range of bizarre problems since installing IE 11 from previous version…some web site videos only get audio…others only get audio & a shrunken view of the video…some web sites have incomplete forms to submit info &/or advanced a series of photos/articles…some ask for updating Flash Player even though I have the latest version…what a ,mess!!!!!

  9. Anonymous

    windows 7 updates still gives me updates for programs I no longer have, how do I stop that from happing thanks any help please.

  10. Anonymous

    I had problems with installing Windows updates very occasionally. However, I use McAfee virus protection and am able to check for updates through the software and then install without any problems.

  11. Anonymous

    for indpendent and overall good computer advice, check out  www.windowsecrets.com. They have a free newsletter, and also  a more extended donation ware version. Well worth the money…

    One section specifically has regular comments on updates, when to install, and when to wait.

  12. Anonymous

    are this questions serious?

    how could someone be so naive about their computer?

    "Windows 8.1 is broken. Do I need a new computer already?" you cant be serious, what are you on a computer if you dont know what your doing?

    yeah go buy another computer that will fix it for ya

  13. Anonymous

    Same as Brian Wright–problems with updates for months.  Two systems:  one with Win 7 Home and one with Win 7 Pro.  For the last several months, I have had the "Red" message that updates were not installed (although sometimes they were installed, but the message still comes up).  Usually I don't have time to play with this.  Fortunately, I do not have to rely on Win 7 to get my work done.  Both computers dual boot with Linux.

  14. Anonymous

    I've always had issues with Microsoft security updates. Save time and don't try to lookup the error code if it gives you one. Instead, note the KB# and Google it or go directly to http://download.microsoft.com and search for the exact KB#. Download it to the local desktop and then run it as Administrator.

    Windows 8.1 does have a Start button they just don't tell you how to get to it. If you press the Windows key and R together, it will either give you a run line or switch to a more standard looking desktop, depending on how your system is configured.

    As for the problem with the System or Local accounts, that's a flag set in GPEDIT. If you're not really in the know how to drill down to find the flag set, I suggest finding someone who is. Microsoft did produce a really nice tool called something like "online gpo search tool". 

    This is a safe way to search for any setting that's controlled by a GPO.

    Good luck

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