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How to Restore a Missing Windows Update Service on Windows
December 23, 2022

How to Restore a Missing Windows Update Service on Windows

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If the Windows Update service has gone AWOL, use these fixes to get it back onto your PC.

The Windows Update service is responsible for downloading and installing Windows updates over the internet. You can start, stop, and manage this service as necessary from the Windows Services app. But what if the Windows Update service suddenly goes missing from your computer?

If you’re baffled by the sudden disappearance of the Windows Update service, fret not. This guide contains some potential fixes that should help restore the Windows Update service in no time.

1. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

Both Windows 10 and 11 include a few troubleshooters to help you with common system-level issues. One of them is the Windows Update troubleshooter. While it does not guarantee to bring back the Windows Update service, it’s a troubleshooter worth trying nonetheless.

To run the Windows Update troubleshooter:

  1. Open the Start menu and click the gear icon to launch the Settings app.
  2. In the System tab, select Troubleshoot.
  3. Go to Other troubleshooters.
  4. Click the Run button next to Windows Update.

Wait for the troubleshooter to scan your computer and do its thing. If any issues are detected, it will try to fix them on its own.

2. Run the SFC and DISM Scans

Corrupt system files can also cause some Windows services or default apps to disappear from your computer. The System File Checker and Deployment Image Servicing Management are two command-line tools that can help you detect and restore any damaged system files on Windows. Here’s how to run them:

  1. Click the magnifying icon on the taskbar or use the Win + S shortcut to open the search menu.
  2. Type command prompt in the search box and select Run as administrator.
  3. Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
  4. In the console, paste this DISM command and hit Enter:
     DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth 
  5. To run the SFC scan, input the following command and press Enter:
     sfc /scannow 

After the scan is complete, restart your PC. Following that, open the Services app and see if you can find the Windows Update service.

3. Scan for Malware

If the Windows Update service is still missing, you might be dealing with a virus or malware infection. To check for this possibility, you’ll have to run a full system scan using the built-in Windows Security app. Here are the steps for the same.

  1. Open the search menu, type Windows Security in the box, and select the first result that appears.
  2. In the Windows Security app, switch to the Virus & threat protection tab.
  3. Under Current Threats, click Scan options.
  4. On the next screen, select the Full scan option.
  5. Click the Scan now button.

Wait for Windows to finish scanning the computer and, if threats are found, apply the recommended fixes.

4. Restore the Windows Update Service Manually via the Registry Editor

It’s possible that a recent update or system change has messed up some of the registry files, causing the Windows Update service to go missing. If that’s the case, you can try restoring the Windows Update service manually by editing the Windows Registry. However, you should only do this if you’re comfortable editing registry files.

If you decide to use this method, make sure you back up all the registry files before proceeding. If you need help, check our guide on how to back up and restore registry files on Windows and follow the steps outlined there.

After backing up the registry files, employ the following steps to restore the missing Windows Update service on your computer.

  1. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type regedit in the box and press Enter.
  3. When the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears, click Yes.
  4. In the Registry Editor window, use the left pane to navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Services.
  5. Within the Services key, locate the wuauserv key. If you can’t find it, skip to step number 9.
  6. Right-click the wuauserv, select Export, and save the key on your computer.
  7. Right-click the wuauserv again and select Delete.
  8. Select Yes to confirm.
  9. Exit the Registry Editor.
  10. Right-click anywhere on an empty spot on the desktop and select New > Text Document. This will open a blank Notepad document.
  11. Copy the following text and paste it into Notepad.
     Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

  12. Click the File menu in the top left corner and select Save as.
  13. Save the file with .reg extension.
  14. Double-click the reg file to run it. Select Yes if the User Account Control prompt appears.

Restart your computer after this and see if the Windows Update service appears in the Services app.

5. Factory Reset Windows

Lastly, if none of the above solutions work, you can consider resetting Windows to its default settings. This will revert your computer to factory settings and remove any third-party software packages.

To reset your Windows computer:

  1. Press Win + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to System > Recovery.
  3. Click the Reset PC button to initiate the reset process.
  4. In the ‘Reset this PC’ wizard, select Keep my files if you want to retain your personal files. Otherwise, select Remove everything.

From there, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process. After that, the Windows Update service should appear as before.

Using the Settings app isn’t the only way to reset Windows. If you want to take a different approach, check out these various methods to factory reset your Windows computer.

Restoring the Missing Windows Update Service

It is vital to keep your Windows computer updated to the most recent version. However, you might have trouble doing so if the Windows Update service vanishes from your computer. Hopefully, one or more fixes in this guide have helped restore the missing Windows Update service, and you are able to install updates as before.


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