Windows update cannot currently check for updates in Windows 7, 8 or Vista

The Windows Update error “Windows update cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer” tends to occur when Windows temporary update folder (SoftwareDistribution folder) is corrupted.

Here is an example of the error below:

To fix this issue, there are two possible solutions:

Solution 1: Use the Microsoft Fix It Utility

  • Download the Windows Update Troubleshooter to your computer and run the troubleshooter file from the folder you downloaded it to

  • Let the troubleshooter fix Windows Update problems and press Next

    If the problem is fixed, close the troubleshooter and check for Windows updates again.

    Otherwise continue to Solution 2

Solution 2: Delete or Rename the SoftwareDistribution Folder

  • Use the Windows search to search for services.msc then click on services

  • Search for Windows Update service, then right click on it and select Stop

  • Without closing the services window, in file explorer, open My Computer and navigate to C:\Windows folder

  • Delete or rename the SoftwareDistribution folder to SoftwareDistributionOLD

  • Delete or rename the SoftwareDistribution folder to SoftwareDistributionOLD

  • Now try to update Windows again

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