How to Fix Windows Cannot Check For Updates Because Service is Not Running

No screenshots for this one. If anyone has a screen shot for this particular error, send it over, I’ll credit you in the notes. Just fill out the contact form and I’ll get in touch with you.
Had a customer with some machines that needed re-imaged. Image was kind of old and had this problem. There’s a lot of information about the .NET Framework service not running information on the Microsoft Forums. There’s also some information about a particular hotfix that needs installed. After doing some digging I found that this isn’t the issue at least after a re-image, or OS corruption.
Microsoft has quick fix for this issue, but it’s so easy to fix I am not going to both to link to it. This applies to Windows 7 but I suspect the fix applies to other versions of Windows as well.

How to Fix Windows Update Error: Cannot Check for Updates Because Windows Update Service is Not Running

Step 1: Log into Windows as an Administrator. Preferably as a local administrator.

Step 2: Open Services. The easiest way is to click the Start Button and type “services.msc”. You can also just type “services” and click the option that is labeled “Services” with an icon that looks like gears.

Step 3: Scroll down the list of services until you find “Windows Update”. Click on it.

Step 4: On the left side of the screen click the “Stop” link. You can also right click on Windows Update and click “Stop” or it might be under “All Tasks” then click “Stop”.

Step 5: Open File Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows

Step 6: Rename the folder “SoftwareDistribution” to “SoftwareDistributionOLD”. You can also just delete it. I’ve done it both ways with no ill effects.

Step 7: Reboot the computer.

Notes: For step 7, Microsoft seems to imply you can just start the Windows Update service and it will work. I’ve done this on five or six machines now and it has not worked until after a reboot. I have also been able to reboot without starting the service and it has worked just fine. It still gives the red error indicating your computer needs security updates, but when you click the check for update button it works just fine.

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