Understanding Windows Update Logs in Windows 11

Windows 11, like its predecessors, regularly receives updates to enhance security, fix bugs, and introduce new features. These updates are crucial for maintaining a healthy system, but sometimes, they can encounter issues. That’s where Windows Update Logs come into play—they provide valuable information about the update process, successes, and failures.

What Are Windows Update Logs?

Windows Update Logs are records generated by the operating system that detail the events occurring during the update process. These logs can be instrumental in diagnosing problems when updates fail or encounter errors. They contain a wealth of information, including timestamps, error codes, and descriptions of actions taken during the update.

Locating Windows Update Logs

Default Path:

Windows Update Logs are stored in a specific directory. You can find them using the following path:


Windows Update Logs

Accessing Logs via PowerShell:

PowerShell, a powerful command-line tool in Windows, can also be used to access these logs. Utilize the following command:


This PowerShell command automatically collects and displays the Windows Update Logs, providing a comprehensive overview of the update process.

Event Viewer:

Another way to access Windows Update Logs is through the Event Viewer:

Open the Event Viewer by searching for it in the Windows search bar.

Navigate to Event Viewer -> Applications and Services Logs -> Microsoft -> Windows -> WindowsUpdateClient -> Operational.

Look for events with Event IDs 20, 25, or 19, which are associated with Windows Update activities.


Interpreting Windows Update Logs

The logs may appear complex at first glance, filled with technical jargon and codes. However, specific sections can be valuable for understanding why an update failed:

Error Codes and Descriptions:

Look for error codes or descriptions that provide insights into the issue encountered during the update. These codes often point to specific problems, allowing for targeted troubleshooting.

Timestamps and Events:

Reviewing timestamps and events in chronological order helps identify the sequence of actions taken during the update. Pinpointing where the process went awry becomes easier with this detailed timeline.

Converting ETL Logs to Readable Format using PowerShell

Windows Update Logs are sometimes stored in ETL (Event Trace Log) format, which may not be easily readable. PowerShell can help convert these logs:

$LogPath = "C:\Path\To\Your\Log.etl"
tracerpt $LogPath

Replace “C:\Path\To\Your\Log.etl” with the path to your ETL log file. This PowerShell script utilizes tracerpt to convert the ETL log into a more human-readable format.

Convert ETL logs

Dealing with Failed Updates

Windows Update Logs become particularly crucial when dealing with failed updates. If you encounter an update failure:

Access the Logs: Use the methods mentioned above to retrieve the update logs.

Identify Errors: Look for error codes or messages that explain why the update failed.

Research Solutions: Search online using the error codes or descriptions to find solutions or seek help from the Windows community.

Windows Update Logs in Windows 11 are like a treasure chest of info for fixing update problems. You can find them in different ways – using the default path, PowerShell, Event Viewer, or by changing them into an easy-to-read format from ETL. These logs tell you a lot about updates, which helps when there are errors. Using these logs helps you understand your system’s updates better. This makes updating Windows 11 smoother and more efficient. At first, looking through these logs might seem hard. But they give you so much info, making it way easier to manage and fix update issues.

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