What do I do if my updates don’t install?

The easiest way to get security updates automatically is to go to the Microsoft Update website and make sure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Microsoft Update provides very important updates for performance and security. If you have automatic updating turned on and it isn’t working, you will see a warning message if an update can’t be installed.

To troubleshoot Microsoft Update in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP and your updates don’t install, you can use the Windows Update troubleshooter to find and fix problems. To open the troubleshooter:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. In the search box, type Troubleshooter.
  3. In the results list, click Find and fix problems.
  4. Under System and Security, click Fix problems with Windows Update.

To troubleshoot Microsoft Update in Windows 8

Windows 8 has an automatic troubleshooter that can fix some common problems with Windows Update. To open the troubleshooter:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.
  2. In the search box, type Troubleshooting.
  3. Tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Troubleshooting.
  4. Under System and Security, tap or click Fix problems with Windows Update.

Learn more about how to get security updates automatically.

For more information about troubleshooting problems with Windows Update in Windows 8, see Troubleshoot problems with installing updates.

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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  1. Anonymous

    Some updates fail to download.  I cannot do the MSE upgrade.  My windows security is showing no virus protection.  I have not been able to download anything from anywhere since Julys updates.  Everything I try to download just comes up with the message that it contains a virus and has been deleted.  Even from your site!  I've tried in firefox, explorer and google chrome.  I ran your scan earlier downloaded from another pc onto usb that only turned up 1 item a java file that it deleted.  Please help.  It's very frustrating.  I seem to be going round in circles trying to sort it out an nothing seems to work.  I tried doing the fix above it doesn't find anything when I type in troubleshooter!

  2. Anonymous

    To whomever is reading…..  I have a virus or worm or what ever that will not let me download any type of file.  Nothing can get thru… except an occaisional update that doesn't seem to threaten my virus.  I talked to someone who tried to connect to my computer, but was not able to get thru my virus.  I get the same message up for every attemp, from email attachments to security downloads, it always says the file has a virus and has been deleted.  When I try to run a previrus security file of any kind, my computer locks up and I have to reboot.    anyhelp for me?  

  3. Anonymous

    I am having the exact same problem as Annette  France.  I have Windows 7.  What else can be done?

  4. Anonymous

    I have been running MSE on XP before it was free and have always sucessfully installed updates until the last couple of weeks, I try to install but get errror message 0x8004FF83.    I'm now unable to log into Microsoft as it dosn't recognise my account although I receive regular emails from Microsoft.    Please can anybody help?

  5. Anonymous

    Annette described the problem and frustration perfectly.

  6. Anonymous

    I keep getting notice to restart my computer to install updates, but that does not work.

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