Microsoft might have solved Windows 11’s most annoying update problem

Man in love with his PC
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Windows 11 and Windows 10 have just received an update that smooths over the Windows update process itself, and we’ve got our fingers tightly crossed that this could cure a particularly annoying and long-standing bug.

Neowin spotted that Microsoft Update Health Tools is now being piped to Windows 11 (21H2, 22H2) and Windows 10 (21H2, 22H2) PCs as patch KB4023057 (a mandatory automatic update).

In the support document for KB4023057, Microsoft tells us that: “On Windows consumer devices, this update helps remediate smooth functioning of Windows Update.”

Now, the trouble here is that Microsoft does not elaborate beyond that simple statement. We don’t know exactly what tinkering has gone on under the hood here, and we’re left to guess at what might have been implemented.

So, let’s just do that – hazard a guess. Now, bearing firmly in mind that this is just a shot in the dark on the speculation front, our hope is that this might just be a cure for the well-known update installation failure bugs that have persisted for a long time now.

This is where you attempt to install the latest Windows 11 (or 10) cumulative update and it just fails to work with no explanation other than a garbage error message that tells you nothing. It just leaves you staring at a meaningless string of hexadecimal (such as error code ‘0x80070103’ – real helpful).

Analysis: Hope springs eternal

Our thinking here is that because Microsoft specifically says that this update helps with the ‘smooth functioning’ of the Windows Update process, that suggests it’s about stability and reliability. As opposed to it being about, say, faster updates (a topic Microsoft has made promises about in the past).

Because this is about the way updates actually function or work, this gives us hope that just maybe it’ll tackle that huge thorny problem of them not working with those gobbledegook error messages. Or even if it doesn’t stamp out those installation failures, it may at least cut back on them (as we see a lot of these reports time and time again with new Windows updates).

Whatever this does, we should see more reliable Windows updates in some manner. Even if it just helps to resolve cases where a new patch isn’t offered to a PC, to take another common error (one which we’ve seen reported earlier today, in fact, along with complaints that a fresh Windows 10 update has broken some printers).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).