Improved Windows Update Log Formatting with Windows 10 1709

With the release of Windows 10, the Windows Update log changed from a text file to a binary file.  A new PowerShell cmdlet, Get-WindowsUpdateLog, was added to format the binary file, generating the equivalent text file that many of you were used to.  But there was one challenge:  The formatting process required access to Windows symbols.  As long as the corresponding symbols were available on the Microsoft symbol server (typically used by developers to debug Windows) and you were able to reach the symbol server (on the internet, potentially via a proxy), the formatting would work fine. 

But sometimes the formatting didn’t work fine, typically because the symbols weren’t available.  That was usually a temporary situation, waiting for the symbols to be uploaded to the server and indexed, but it seems it would always happen when people had a need to format the log.

With Windows 10 1709 (including in the current Insider Preview builds), the formatting process has changed.  You still need to use the Get-WindowsUpdateLog cmdlet to format it, but it no longer needs access to the symbols to do that formatting.  Notice this screenshot:


Even though the computer has no network connection at all (see the icon at the bottom right), the Get-WindowsUpdateLog worked successfully.  And more importantly, we end up with a usable log file:


Happy formatting Smile

Comments (13)
  1. Rei Ikei says:

    Great improvement!

    By the way, this improvement will be released to other versions like 1703 & 1607?

  2. This is great. When can we have similar functionality in Windows Server 2016?

    1. Ernest says:

      Definitely, we need the same available for Windows Server 2016…

  3. AMP says:

    This would be much easier if it was viewable in Event Viewer instead

  4. A PowerShell command that returns miscellaneous text to the console instead of returning objects? 😉

    1. Kieran says:


  5. Dave says:

    Good improvement, but when will we see a full return to text-based logs? That’s what I really need.

  6. Marcel Moerings says:

    I like the improvement, but not having access to a live windowsupdate.log file for tracing in real-time what is going on with the updates is a real letdown for me on Windows 10. We used to force an update and could use cmtrace to view what it did or why it was failing. Now we have to generate a logfile every time with Powershell and the logfile is always not real-time. Please bring back the txt version of Windowsupdate.log

  7. Michael Ren says:

    This fixed the Xbox app random crash ?

  8. Torsten says:

    As others have already stated: A really great improvement would be if we were able to monitor them in real time (again).

  9. needtxtversion says:

    Please bring back the txt version of Windowsupdate.log!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Tyler says:

    This entire move to ETL was unnecessary and adds a user-spiting level of complexity with zero value-add.

    Just go back to generating real time text files. It’s just like Microsoft to reduce functionality AND require you to jump through hoops to get even to that to work – forget about feature parity.

    Windows 10 works fine for basic, home use. Utterly atrocious to manage it in a Business environment though.

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