On Windows 8/8.1 and Server 2012/2012 R2, you might encounter the message popping up: “Windows Update needs your help: Windows Update hasn’t been able to check for new updates for the last 30 days. Go to Windows Update to resolve this issue.”
You might receive this message for a variety of reasons, many of them intentional. You might have Windows Update automatic updates disabled because you are managing Windows Updates a different way, such as using ConfigMgr or WSUS, or you might have automatic updates disabled because the environment is not conducive to updates kicking off on their own or computers rebooting after updates. Unfortunately, having this message pop-up to the end user is not usually what you want either for a good experience.
In learning more about the issue, I came upon a TechNet blog article and a TechNet forum thread. From these sources, I found a quick and easy way to prevent these messages from appearing. Assuming you are managing your computers’ updates and they are truly not an issue, you can simply set a Registry key to hide the message.
You can set that value using a Group Policy Preference and you should no longer be seeing the “Windows Update needs your help” message. There is another value in that location named FirstDetectionFailureTime acting as a timestamp but with the above value set, it can be ignored.
If you are still experiencing the message popping up, it is possible that there is an error with Windows Update on the computer. Microsoft support has an article (KB947821) on using DISM (in place of the System Update Readiness Tool that worked for Windows 7) to fix Windows corruption errors.
Reader Larry writes in that he was able to solve this message after moving from Windows 8.0 to 8.1 by running disk cleanup, selecting clean up system files (ALL system files) and upon completion the laptop was back to working. Thank you Larry!