If you keep your computer up to date, not only do you patch the latest security threats and get the latest features, you can also make your computer run faster thanks to better-optimised software and bug fixes. One of the biggest issues that Computer Shopper readers have had is getting Windows 10 to update properly. As of the May 2019 update, Microsoft has improved Windows 10 ’s update system, although you first need to get your computer to that stage. Here’s what you need to do.

Begin to fix storage space problems

As of the May 2019 update, Windows has automatically reserved 7GB of storage space for updates. That fixes the issue of users running out of storage space and, therefore, not being able to update. Before you can update to this version of  Windows 10 , you may need to fix the storage problems yourself. If you can free up some space by deleting or moving around 10GB of files, then you may find that Windows Update will run properly. However, in some cases, Microsoft may actually try and help, and you may see a dialog box saying Windows needs more space. This gives you the option to free up space, which will delete non-essential files to give you the breathing room that you need.

If you don’t have enough storage space, you can use an external drive to run Windows Update
If you don’t have enough storage space, you can use an
external drive to run Windows Update

However, as Microsoft suggests, if you have a hard disk of 50GB or less, you’re better off using the second option from the dialog box: an external storage device. Plug a USB drive into your computer, using the largest drive you can find that hits the storage requirement listed on the screen. Typically speaking, an external USB hard disk is a better choice than a USB flash drive. Click the refresh button to find your drive, and a green tick will appear next to it, assuming there’s enough free storage space available. Click Continue and Windows Update should continue.

How to fix a stuck update ?

Sometimes Windows 10 can get stuck on one update, refusing to move the status bar to 100%. The best thing you can do at this stage is to leave your computer for an hour or so: some updates are just very slow. If this doesn’t fix your problem, then launch Settings from the Start menu and go to Update & Security, Troubleshoot. This part of Windows has automatic tools for fixing issues. Select the Windows Update option and click Run Troubleshooter. If Windows detects any problems, it will fix them for you. You should only need to reboot your computer to get the stuck update moving. If this doesn’t fix the problem, reboot into Safe mode.

The automatic Windows Update Troubleshooter can fix many common problems
The automatic Windows Update
Troubleshooter can fix many common problems

Go to Settings in the Start menu, select Update & Security, then Recovery, and click Restart now under Advanced start-up. When the option comes up on the screen, select Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, Startup Settings, Restart. After your computer restarts, you’ll see a boot menu. Select Safe Mode with Networking and let your computer boot as normal, then log into your user account. When you’re in Windows, press Windows-X and select Command Prompt (Admin) to launch a new terminal window. At the terminal, type net stop wuauserv, then press Enter. This prevents the Windows Update service from running, giving you a few repair options. Open a File Explorer window and go to c:\windows\softwaredistribution. Select all of the files in this folder and hit delete. This deletes all the files that Windows Update has already downloaded, forcing them to be downloaded again. Once that’s done, get up an Admin Command Prompt, type net start wuaserv and hit Enter. Restart your computer, and you should be good to go. You can try to force the May 2019 update. Go to tinyurl.com/Win10MediaCreationTool. Select the Update now option to download and run an upgrade tool that will push through the update.

Clearing out the Windows Update cache can help stuck updates work again
Clearing out the Windows Update cachecan help stuck updates work again

In very rare cases, Windows may still refuse to update, in which case a refresh of your PC, either back to an old image that you created or using the Windows reset options, may be in order (see page 100). Once you’re on the May 2019 update, you’ll see that you have more options for Windows Update in Settings, including the ability to pause updates for up to 35 days, and you can defer the big updates (generally twice a year) for up to 18 months.