How to Fix It When a Windows 11 Update Fails After Restart

If running the Windows Update troubleshooter and freeing up hard drive space doesn't help, we'll have to dive in a little deeper

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Windows updates should apply automatically when you restart your computer, but a few issues can cause updates to fail. Fortunately, there are several fixes you can try when a Windows 11 update fails after a restart.

Causes of Failed Windows Updates After Restart

Sometimes after a Windows update, you might get an error code or message. For example:

  • Error: Failure configuring Windows Updates. Reverting changes.
  • Error: We couldn't complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don't turn off your computer.

Such messages will sometimes be accompanied by troubleshooting suggestions, but that's not always the case. Here are some potential reasons why Windows updates were unsuccessful:

  • Your hard drive doesn't have enough free space.
  • Your internet connection was interrupted during the download or installation.
  • External hardware is interfering with updates.
  • Your antivirus or VPN is blocking updates.
  • Corrupt system files or hard drive errors.

Here are some examples of Windows Update error codes and what they mean:

  • 0xc1900223: Problems downloading or installing updates
  • 0x80073712: System file errors
  • 0x800F0922: Couldn't connect to the Windows Update servers
  • 0xC1900101-0x20017, 0xC1900101-0x30017: Interference from third-party drivers
  • 0x8007042B 0x4000D, 0x800700B7 0x2000a: Interference from background apps
  • 0x80200056: The upgrade was interrupted.
  • 0xC1900107: Old update files are blocking new updates.
  • 0x80300024: Your PC doesn't meet the minimum requirements.
  • 0x80070002-0x20009: Your PC couldn't find the correct drive.
  • 0x80070070–0x50011, 0x80070070–0x50012, 0x80070070–0x60000: Your hard drive requires more free space.

If you don't get an error code, go to Settings > Windows Update > Update history to view error codes related to updates.

How to Fix a Windows 11 Update Failure After a Restart

Try these steps in order until you can complete Windows updates:

Many of these solutions also apply to fixing problems caused by Windows updates.

  1. Restart Windows. You must restart your PC to apply new updates. If your computer didn't automatically restart after the update, try rebooting manually.

  2. Check your internet connection. You must have a stable internet connection to download Windows updates. If your download is interrupted, it could leave behind temporary files that need to be cleaned up (see step 11).

  3. Run Windows Updates again. If there's a chance something went wrong when downloading the updates. Try running Windows Update again to fix the problem.

  4. Run the Windows Update troubleshooter. Go to Settings > System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters and select Run next to Windows Update. The troubleshooter will detect and fix any issues it finds.

    The Run button next to Windows Update highlighted in Windows settings.
  5. Free up hard drive space. Make sure you have enough free space on your PC to install the most recent updates.

  6. Remove any external drives. If you have an external drive attached to your computer, disconnect it so that it doesn't interfere with Windows updates.

    If you're having trouble with a specific device (like an external drive) after a Windows update, try updating the device drivers.

  7. Turn off your antivirus. If you have antivirus software installed, it could be interfering with Windows updates. The exact steps differ depending on which software you use, but most antivirus programs give you the option to temporarily turn it off.

  8. Turn off your VPN. If you're running a virtual private network (VPN), turn it off. VPNs can sometimes confuse the Windows Update servers.

  9. Run System File Checker. Use the sfc /scannow command to check for system errors that could interfere with updates.

  10. Run the chkdsk command. Run the command chkdsk/f C: to check your hard drive for errors and fix any issues it finds. When you're done, restart your PC.

  11. Run Disk Clean Up. The Disk Clean Up app will remove any lingering temporary files from previous updates that could be causing the problem.

  • How can I free up disk space?

    Files get left behind from time to time from various installers or from when you downloaded something and now you no longer need it. So, check your Downloads folder for anything you no longer need. If that doesn't free up enough space, check out our How to Remove Junk Files From Windows 11 article to see if you can find even more files you no longer need.

  • How do I change when Windows tries to update?

    There is an automatic setting in Windows that allows Windows to update itself without any intervention from you. It's handy, but if you want more control you can change some settings and the one completely responsible for it. In Windows 11, go to: Settings > Windows Update > Advanced Options. If you don't have Windows 11, check out our Change Windows Update Settings article to find out how it's done for the version you are running.

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