How To Run Windows Update From Command Line

Recently we discussed about stopping a specific update from installing in Windows 10. In this post, we will run Windows Update through command line. This is just a quick post on how to run Windows Update using command line tools in Windows. Sometimes it becomes important to run Windows Update from command prompt and install updates accordingly.

Run Windows Update using PowerShell

There is a PowerShell module for Windows Update. You can install and run the module to check for new updates. There are three steps for running Windows Update through PowerShell. Running the following commands step by step:

  1. Install-Module PSWindowsUpdate
    Install Module PSWindowsUpdate
    Install Module PSWindowsUpdate

    This will install the Windows Update module in PowerShell.

  2. Get-WindowsUpdate
    Get WindowsUpdate
    Get WindowsUpdate

    This command will check for updates.

  3. Install-WindowsUpdate
    Install WindowsUpdate
    Install WindowsUpdate

    This command will install the available updates (which were listed in step 2)

Run Windows Update using command line

Windows Update can also be run through legacy CMD. The only limitation running Windows Update through command prompt is that it won’t show any progress. Only results are shown. Let’s see how to run it:

  • Go to Run –> cmd
  • Run the following command to check for new updates:
    wuauclt /detectnow 
  • Run the following command to install new updates
    wuauclt /updatenow

Since command prompt does not show any progress, a better approach would be to check and install updates at the same. Here’s the command for this:

wuauclt /detectnow /updatenow

The above mentioned command will work in all versions of Windows including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. But if you are using Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016, you can use UsoClient command which has more options than wuauclt. You can run UsoClient with the following switches:

StartScan – Start checking for updates

StartDownload – Start downloading updates

StartInstall – Start installing downloaded updates

RestartDevice – Restart Windows after updates are installed

ScanInstallWait – Check for updates, download available updates and install them

Hopefully this will be useful in situations where you want to automate certain Windows functions. What other purposes you want to use command line options for running Windows Update?

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12 thoughts on “How To Run Windows Update From Command Line”

  1. usoclient.exe /StartScan does not update the shown ‘Last checked date’ shown in the GUI on a Windows Server 2016 or 2019.

    Reply
  2. PS C:\> Start-Service wuauserv -Verbose
    PS C:\> $updateSession = new-object -com “Microsoft.Update.Session”;$updates=$updateSession.CreateupdateSearcher().Search($criteria).Updates
    PS C:\> (New-Object -ComObject Microsoft.Update.AutoUpdate).DetectNow()

    This is work on a Windows 10 – the Last checked time is updated in the GUI
    BUT it’s not workting om Windows 2016 or 2019

    Any know of a way to make this work on a Server 2016 ??

    Reply
    • I don’t get any of these from article to work. Not even: Start-Service wuauserv -Verbose

      PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> Start-Service wuauserv -Verbose
      VERBOSE: Performing the operation “Start-Service” on target “wuauserv (wuauserv)”.
      Start-Service : Failed to start service ‘wuauserv (wuauserv)’.
      At line:1 char:1
      + Start-Service wuauserv -Verbose
      + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      + CategoryInfo : OpenError: (System.ServiceProcess.ServiceController:ServiceController) [Start-Service],
      ServiceCommandException
      + FullyQualifiedErrorId : StartServiceFailed,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.StartServiceCommand

      Halp?

      Reply
  3. usoclient StartScan does NOT make any changes to the Last checked date shown in the GUI
    Neither does the Powershell command Get-WindowsUpdate

    In previous Windows I had to updating the Last checked value in registry after performing a scan using the API (as they dont). But MS has moved the location to an unknown place i 2016 and 2019.

    Anyone who knows how to update the “Last checked date” from CMD or API ???

    Reply
    • Function Force-WSUSCheckin($Computer)
      {
      Invoke-Command -computername $Computer -scriptblock { Start-Service wuauserv -Verbose }
      # Have to use psexec with the -s parameter as otherwise we receive an “Access denied” message loading the comobject
      $Cmd = ‘$updateSession = new-object -com “Microsoft.Update.Session”;$updates=$updateSession.CreateupdateSearcher().Search($criteria).Updates’
      & c:\bin\psexec.exe -s \\$Computer powershell.exe -command $Cmd
      Write-host “Waiting 10 seconds for SyncUpdates webservice to complete to add to the wuauserv queue so that it can be reported on”
      Start-sleep -seconds 10
      Invoke-Command -computername $Computer -scriptblock
      {
      # Now that the system is told it CAN report in, run every permutation of commands to actually trigger the report in operation
      wuauclt /detectnow
      (New-Object -ComObject Microsoft.Update.AutoUpdate).DetectNow()
      wuauclt /reportnow
      c:\windows\system32\UsoClient.exe startscan
      }
      }

      Reply
  4. It doesn’t work.

    Get-WindowsUpdate: The ‘Get-WindowsUpdate’ command was found in the module ‘PSWindowsUpdate’, but the module could
    not be loaded. For more information, run ‘Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate’.
    At line:1 char:1
    + Get-WindowsUpdate
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : ObjectNotFound: (Get-WindowsUpdate:String) [], CommandNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CouldNotAutoloadMatchingModule

    Reply
    • To remedy that, please try the following:
      1. Run Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
      2. Run Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate
      3. Try running Get-WindowsUpdate again.
      This worked for me.

      Reply
  5. wuauclt is no longer available with Windows 10.
    You can use usoclient.exe instead.
    Parameters are /StartScan, /StartDownload, /StartInstall

    Reply

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