How to Fix the “windows 7 update service not running” Error

windows 7 update service not running

Windows 7 users often complain of a problem with their Windows update service. In such cases, checking for Windows updates doesn’t work and all they get as a response is the error message “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates, because the service is not running”.

This is a rather annoying issue and the support forums are full of different suggestions on how it can be resolved. Going through them all is time-consuming and does not guarantee success. Most of the time, the suggestions simply will not work.

One of the reasons for this is that there could be different issues causing the same problem. For example, you may have malicious software installed on your PC or there could be problems with your Windows Update associated services.

The following are some suggestions you can try out to fix your particular problem with the update service:

    1. Examine your PC for malicious software.

This is one of the most obvious steps you can take in your attempt to solve the problem. Microsoft offers such a tool called Malicious Software Removal Tool. Simply follow the link. The site is smart enough to detect your operating system and offer you the relevant version for download. MSRT will scan your system and if it finds the problem, it will either reverse the changes or simply remove the threat. Installation is simple and the instructions are easy to follow.

Scanning your PC with Windows Defender is also a free and fast option for removing malicious software.

    1. Try the Windows Update Troubleshooter.

Running this is yet another logical step you can take towards resolving the issue. Simply click the start button in the lower left corner of your screen and type “troubleshoot”. Click on Troubleshooting and then on “Fix problems with Windows Update”. Run the troubleshooter and see if it pinpoints the issue. Then try running Windows Update again to see if your problem has been resolved.

    1. Remove temporary Windows Update files.

If some of these files are corrupted, you may experience issues with updates. The files in question are stored in the SoftwareDistribution folder. When you remove the contents of the folder, you remove one of the issues that could cause the problem. Follow these steps:

  • Press together the Windows logo and the R keys on your keyboard. This will pop up the Run box.
  • In the “Open” field, type “services.msc”, which will open a new Services window.
  • In the Services window, look for “Windows Update” in the “Name” field. Click it and then stop the service from the menu.
  • Once you do all of the above, open the file explorer (Windows logo key + E) type or copy “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution” and remove all the files inside.
  • Next, start the Windows update services you previously stopped.
  • Reboot the PC and run Windows Update to see if this resolves the Windows Update service not running issue.
    1. Restart the services associated with Windows Update.

If they are disabled, this could be your problem. The steps to take are as follows:

  • Invoke the Windows Run box by pressing the Windows key plus R.
  • Enter “services.msc” in the “Open” field and click OK.
  • Choose “Background Intelligent Transfer Service” and double click it.
  • Switch the Startup Type to Automatic if it isn’t already and make sure you click the Start button if it is grayed out. Then close the window
  • Choose “Cryptographic Services” from the “Name” field and double click it.
  • Ensure the startup type is Automatic and click the Start button if it is in gray.
  • Close the window and open Windows Update from the Name field.
  • Ensure the startup type is set to Automatic and click the Start button if it is in gray.
  • Close the Windows Update window and then the Services window
  • Restart your PC and see if these steps resolve your issue.
    1. Try the KB3102810 Standalone Update.

This security update applies to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. After you install it, do the following:

  • Reboot the PC
  • Stop the Windows Update Service
  • Remove the content of the Software Distribution Folder.
  • Restart the PC and run the Windows Updates, leaving the computer for as long as necessary for the necessary installations.
    1. Try the System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7 (KB947821).

It resolves an inconsistency in the Windows servicing store that could prevent future updates. Just follow the installation instructions provided with the link.

    1. Update the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver.

Some notebooks may have this issue too and installing this driver may fix it.

Being able to run periodic Windows service updates is one of the most important things in recent years. If something causes this service not to run, you should be concerned. It is normal to feel worried as Windows updates relate to security. However, you do not need to panic. Just go through the aforementioned steps and try the different solutions. You will find that more often than not, one of them will work for you.

About the author

Ollie

is a Systems Engineer and a former Computer Tech Support Specialist. When he's not working or tweaking his Dell XPS 13, he enjoys taking a photograph or two.

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