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Discord update failed? Here's how you can try to fix it

Unless there's server trouble, you should be good to go by the end of this guide.
By
December 27, 2023

We tend to take software updates for granted, but yes, they sometimes fail — even with a relatively mainstream app such as Discord. So what can cause a Discord update to fail on Windows or Mac? And more importantly, what can you do to fix the problem so you can access the latest features in the chat app?

Why does my Discord update keep failing?

Discord Nitro cosmetics
Discord

There are a variety of potential causes, and it’s sometimes difficult to diagnose the one involved. It could be that your internet connection is weak, or being hampered by firewall or other antivirus barriers. Some other possibilities include software bugs, trouble with Discord’s servers, and/or problems with your computer’s OS settings, such administrative access or even the date and time.

How to fix the Discord “Update Failed” error

Since there’s no quick way to diagnose the cause, your best bet is to run through the troubleshooting steps below in order. We’ve saved the more complicated and/or drastic options for later on. Don’t worry — you won’t be reformatting your computer or anything like that. Speaking of which, just to reiterate, these tips apply exclusively to the Windows and Mac versions of Discord, since updates to the Android and iPhone/iPad apps are handled exclusively through Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Let’s get started:

  • Doublecheck your internet connection. If your internet access is weak or otherwise unreliable, updates could time out. Make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi or cellular (4G/5G) signal if you’re using one of those connection options. You might consider switching from one connection to the other, if both are available, or jacking into Ethernet if you’ve got the right cable and you’re close enough to a router or modem.
  • Restart Discord. The app scans for available updates every time it launches, so it could be that this process (or a related one) has failed, hopefully because of a temporary glitch. If repeated restarts are unsuccessful, there might be a bug, but you’ll have to rule out other solutions on this list first. Here’s how to force-close apps in Windows.
  • Find out if Discord’s servers are down. For the most part, Discord is a reliable chat service with steady uptime. Server problems can happen, however, and maintenance periods are inevitable. Check discordstatus.com to see if things are functioning normally. If they’re not, you should (hopefully) see messages explaining the situation, but either way you’ll have to wait and try your update again.
  • Adjust your date and time settings. It sounds strange, but if your computer’s date and time settings are out of sync with servers, it could play havoc with fetching software updates. We’ve got a guide to changing the date and time in Windows 10 and 11, and the process for macOS isn’t that hard to discover. You can forestall future issues by enabling internet sync — your computer will update date and time info whenever it’s online, correcting for time zones and seasonal clock adjustments. You may need to restart Discord for operating system changes to take effect.
  • Run Discord as an administrator. If there are multiple profiles on your computer, you may not have full administrator privileges, which are required to install apps. This applies to both Windows and macOS. In Windows, you can right-click on the Discord shortcut and choose Run as administrator to avoid having to manually switch profiles. You’ll probably need a password for the admin account, however.
  • Whitelist Discord in your firewall. Most people have an internet firewall enabled, whether through their OS or a third-party antivirus app. These shouldn’t normally block Discord, but you can make sure the app is unhindered by whitelisting it. In Windows 11 you can control native firewall whitelisting by opening Windows Security, clicking Firewall and network protection in the sidebar, then Allow an app through firewall in the main panel.
  • Temporarily disable your antivirus software. If opening up your firewall isn’t enough, there could still be other antivirus functions interfering. Here’s how to temporarily disable Windows Defender. We’re stressing the “temporary” part because the internet is now so full of malware and other security threats that it’s not safe to go online without protection. Re-enable your antivirus software the moment Discord successfully updates.
  • Uninstall Discord, then re-install it. This is inconvenient, but if nothing else has worked, it’s the only option left. It’s not even a big deal in the long run, since once you log back into your Discord account, your most important settings should be restored, including any Nitro subscription content. It’s worth exploring settings menus just to make sure everything is back the way you like it.