August 31

Discord Not Updating Fix

For years, gamers have been described as antisocial/asocial introverts, social pariahs and outcasts. While this description is quite accurate when it is applied to me, it is not the same for every gamer. We are not all Boo Radley. 

Social media has made it even easier for us to interact with each other. Even socially awkward misfits like myself can make friends online. One of the most beloved social media platforms for gamers is Discord. Adding friends on Discord is easy and the platform has quickly become the most popular form of gaming communication.

Unfortunately, as with most software, Discord is bound to run into one or two errors. One of these issues may occur while you are trying to innocently upgrade the Discord app. 

In this guide, we will show you what to do when Discord refuses to update.  


What to Do When Discord Is Failing to Update?

We’ve all heard the story of Sisyphus; the ex-king of Corinth who thought he was smarter than the gods and for his pride, he was punished by being forced to roll a rock up a hill over and over again for the rest of eternity.

Sometimes Discord will enter a Sisyphus-like loop when it tries to update. It will freeze on the Discord update loading screen. It will either be stuck on the message ‘connecting’ or ‘downloading update 1 of 1’. The most annoying thing about it is it will not throw a visible error.
discord checking for updates


Give it Some Time

It pays to be patient, especially if Discord is downloading a large update. In cases where you have a slow or unsteady internet connection that is suffering from heavy packet loss, Discord will take a while to download. The issue could also be due to the update being interrupted during the download process.

Give it at least an hour before throwing the towel in. While you wait, make sure that you are actually connected to the internet. The easiest way to do this is to run your web browser, navigate to a search engine like Google and then search for something you have never searched before like ‘Pink Fiat Multipla Porn’.

Make sure that you pick a random page from the search results and see if it opens. Also, note how long it takes to load. The reason for this is we are looking for pages that are not cached by your browser or computer. Another thing you can test while you wait for the update to finally kick-in is your internet speed. The easiest way to do this without running a ping command is by using a site like speedtest.com.

If your internet is too slow or if you are offline completely, then this is the definite cause of your issues. Remember, a slow internet connection may not be your ISP’s fault. Assess the way you connect to the internet. You may find that you need a new modem or a faster gaming router.


Restart Discord Completely

If you feel that you have waited long enough, then your next logical step is to restart Discord completely. First, you need to close the update screen.

You can do this by right-clicking on the icon on the taskbar and selecting ‘Close window’. In most cases, this will not close Discord or the update Window if it is stuck. To close Discord completely, follow these steps:

  1. Find Discord from your quick launch area and right-click on it
    discord quick launch
  2. Select ‘Quit Discord’ from the context menu
    quit discord
  3. If this does not close the update window or Discord completely, you need to terminate the process using Windows Task Manager. You can run Task Manager by hitting ctrl+shift+esc on your keyboard. This should work for any version of Windows
  4. Once you have Windows Task Manager opened, find ‘Discord (32-bit)’ in the app list, right-click on it and select ‘End task’ or click on the End task button near the bottom right corner
    discord end task
  5. If you did not find Discord under the apps section or if you want to terminate all the background process completely, scroll down to the background processes section where you will find at least four different Discord processes. Right-click and terminate each one (end task).
    discord background processes

Once you are done completely closing Discord, run it again. It should check for updates and install any that it finds. Hopefully this time, it does not get stuck.


Run Discord with Admin Privileges

Sometimes an update will need access to a folder that can only be accessed or changed by processes or users with administrative rights. To run Discord as an administrator, do the following:

  1. If Discord is running, close it completely.
  2. Once, you have ensured that it is closed, find the Discord shortcut from your desktop and right-click on it.
    discord run as administrator
  3. If you do not have a shortcut on your desktop, then you will have to search for it using your start menu and Cortana. Just press the Windows key on your keyboard, type ‘Discord’ and then right-click on it when it appears as your first result.
    discord run as administrator search
  4. Alternatively, you can look for Discord under the ‘All apps’ section of your start menu. You will find Discord under the Discord Inc folder. Once you’ve found it, right-click on it
    discord all apps folder
  5. Once you have opened up the context menu, select ‘Run as administrator’. You will be asked to confirm. Select ‘Yes’ from the dialog
    discord run as administrator allow changes

Reboot Your Computer

This one is straightforward. If restarting Discord has not sorted out the issue for you, then maybe restarting your computer will. Rebooting your computer will ensure any pending Windows updates go through. Which is important, especially if you have just connected a new device to your computer like a USB gaming headset that requires your computer to download and install new drivers.

Rebooting your computer also unloads all device drivers, kills all processes and programs, flushes the network and restarts the operating system. Discord is set to run automatically upon start-up unless you have explicitly set it not to. When your computer restarts so will Discord and hopefully this time it will run the updates without incident.


Configure Your Antivirus

Your anti-virus may be interfering with Discord or blocking it completely. First, you need to ensure that Discord is white-listed. To set exclusions or exceptions, refer to your anti-virus’s documentation. You can temporarily disable your anti-virus until your Discord updates and runs. However, do this at your own discretion.

Whether you are using a low-end desktop computer or a high-end gaming laptop, you need to ensure that your PC is secure. So make certain that you turn your antivirus back on after Discord is done installing updates. It may also be time to switch or upgrade your anti-virus. I recommend that you do your research thoroughly and pick the security package that is best suited for you and your computer’s needs.


Configure Windows Firewall

The Windows Defender Firewall can be like an overprotective mother. We know it means well but sometimes it can do more harm than help. First, we need to verify that Discord is white-listed.

Whitelisting Discord:

  1. Make certain that Discord is closed
  2. Run Windows Control Panel
    You can do this by opening the run-dialog (Win+R) and typing ‘Control Panel’ into the open text field and hitting enter on your keyboard
    open discord in control panel
  3. Once the Windows Control Panel is running, ensure that you are viewing all items according to small or large icons.
    Click on ‘Windows Defender Firewall
    discord windows defender firewall
  4. On the left panel click on ’Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall
    discord Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall
  5. On the next screen click on the button labeled ‘Change settings’.
    discord change firewall settings
  6. Scroll through the list until you find Discord. Make sure that it has both public and private network access by clicking on the ticks next to it.
  7. If Discord is not on the list of allowed apps, click on the button marked ‘Allow another app…
  8. On the ‘Add an app’ window, click on the ‘Browse…’ button
    browse discord
  9. Next, you need to find Discord.exe and Update.exe, which you will find in the Discord folder under the local app data folder (Local Drive (C:) -> Users -> ‘UserName’ (Your Username) -> AppData -> Local  -> Discord).
    You need to ensure that you have set Windows to show hidden folders in order to see the AppData folder. As an example, the address to my Discord folder looks like this:
    C:\Users\Mduduzi Sibisi\AppData\Local\Discord
    discord folder
  10. Once you’ve located Discord’s folder, double-click on Update.exe to add it and then click on the add button
    discord update unblocking
  11. Make sure that Update.exe has both private and public network access
  12. Next, follow the same process but this time add Discord.exe, which is located in the app-vn (app-0.0.305) folder
    discord app
  13. Once again, make sure that Discord.exe has both private and public network access
  14. Run Discord and see if this resolves the issue

If the previous set of steps has not remedied the problem, try disabling the firewall completely.

Disabling Windows Defender Firewall:

  1. Ensure that Discord is closed
  2. Open Windows Defender Firewall from the Control Panel
  3. Click on ‘Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off’ from the left panel
    discord turn windows defender firewall on or off
  4. Select ‘Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended)’ for both public and private network settings
    discord turn windows defender firewall off
  5. Run Discord to see if updates install

If you have disabled the firewall and find that Discord successfully installs its updates, then make sure that you re-enable the firewall as soon as Discord is done. If you are using a third-party firewall application, please refer to it support guides and documentation.


Update Discord Manually (Re-Installing Discord)

Downloading and reinstalling Discord can be a bit like circumventing the intermediary. When you download the latest version of Discord’s installation file, you are essentially getting the latest version of Discord. When Discord refuses to connect to an update server, you can either wait it out or take matters into your own hands and update Discord yourself.

Manually Updating Discord:

  1. Make sure that Discord is closed
  2. Download the latest version of Discord from its website
  3. As soon as it’s done downloading, double-click on the installation file and run it
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions and complete the setup

Perform a Clean Discord Installation

If none of the previous suggestions worked for you, then you should try performing a clean installation of Discord. Before you can execute a fresh installation, you need to remove Discord completely.

Removing and Re-installing Discord:

  1. First, make sure that Discord is completely closed (with no processes running in the background)
  2. Open Windows Programs and Features.
    The easiest way to do this is by opening the Windows Run dialog (Win+R), typing ‘appwiz.cpl’ (without inverted commas) into the open text field and then clicking on the OK button
    appwiz
  3. Find Discord in the program list, right-click it and uninstall it. Discord will then uninstall silently and remove its shortcut from your desktop
    discord programs and features
  4. To ensure that Discord is uninstalled completely, we need to remove the Discord folder from your app data folders.
    Open run (win+r), type ‘%appdata%’ into the open text field and then hit enter on your keyboard
  5. This will open the roaming folder. Scroll down to find the Discord folder. When you find it, delete it. (Right-click and select ‘Delete’ from the context menu)
  6. Go up one folder (press backspace) into the main AppData folder
  7. Open the local folder
  8. Find the Discord folder and delete it
  9. Download and reinstall Discord

Delete the Update File

Another workaround that has been reported to be effective by some users is renaming or deleting the update file.

  1. Make sure that Discord is closed
  2. Open run (Win+R), type ‘%localappdata%’ and then hit enter on your keyboard
  3. This will open your local app data folder. Search through the subfolders until you find Discord and open it
  4. In this folder, you will find the Update executable; delete it or rename it to anything of your choice
  5. Run Discord

If you have worked through these five steps and Discord still refuses to update, then instead of running Discord on the fifth step, try running the Discord installation file and reinstalling Discord.


Checking Discord’s Setup Logs

If your job involves looking at thousands of lines of code through a high-resolution gaming monitor all-day, then this suggestion is probably best for you. By reading Discord’s Setup log files, you can pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the update. Discord uses a Squirrel installer and thus has a Squirrel setup log. You can find it in your local app data folder.
discord squirrel setup

If Discord throws any exceptions or errors while it is updating, it will document them in this file. You can then use the log file to follow the stack trace and figure out what the problem is. Knowing where and why a problem is occurring is the first step to troubleshooting it and solving it.

squirrel setup log


Final Word

The problem with Discord updates is that they are mandatory. Discord is configured to update upon startup. Therefore, if you are not connected to the internet or if there is a bug in your update, you will not be able to launch the Discord application until you resolve the issue.

This issue only seems to affect Windows 10 users. Hopefully, Discord sorts this bug out in the near future and this guide becomes obsolete. However, for now, I hope it has brought you a solution for your broken Discord updates. Thank you for reading.


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About the author

Mduduzi Sibisi

A lover of code, freelance writer, a misanthropic humanist and a comical absurdist. Mdu first fell in love with gaming after his parents bought him a Super Nintendo gaming console at the age of six. It would later become an obsession after playing Doom and Duke Nukem on PC. Now, not only is he playing them but he’s writing about them and creating them. He has an eclectic taste in games. His favorite games of all time include Legend of The Dragoon, Dark Cloud, GTA Vice City, Dark Souls, and Devil May Cry.