It's like being stuck in a time warp
Discord, the popular gaming communication tool, is regularly updated with new features and bug fixes. You don’t have to try the alpha Discord Canary release to get some of these, as the Discord client itself will update automatically to provide you with the newest stable features and fixes.
However, if your Discord update has failed for some reason, you’ll miss out on these new features and fixes. You may also find yourself stuck in a Discord update failed loop, where Discord simply can’t update and won’t allow you to use the client until it’s fixed. To help you fix Discord update issues like these, here’s what you’ll need to do.
Check Discord Service Status
A Discord update failed loop isn’t necessarily caused by an issue on your PC or Mac. If the Discord servers are facing problems, any possible update itself may fail. To check if this is the case, you can check Discord’s service status using the Discord website.
Discord maintains a special status website for Discord users to check the current state of the platform. Everything from the Discord API to local server issues are reported here, allowing you to pinpoint whether the update issues are local to your PC or whether Discord itself is at fault.
On the Discord status website (discordstatus.com), you’ll see a 90-day history for each Discord service element, with each segment representing a single day. In particular, if the API section shows recent operational issues (e.g., if today’s segment is red or orange), you may need to wait before you try to update your client again.
You can usually hover over the segment to see more information on the cause of any outages. However, service-wide messages will also appear at the top of the page. There’s not much you can do if Discord is down—just wait it out and try again later when the service is up and running again.
Run Discord as an Administrator
If you’re running Discord on Windows, you may need to run the Discord desktop client as an administrator if the client itself isn’t updating. You’ll need to do this if you’re running Discord on a local or guest user account that lacks the necessary permissions to install or modify the software.
- Check that Discord isn’t currently running, either visibly or in the background, before you begin. You can check this using the Task Manager (right-click the Start menu > Task Manager) by searching for the Discord (or discord.exe) process. If it is, right-click the process and select End Task.
- To run Discord as an administrator, open the Start menu and find the Discord entry listed in the Discord Inc folder. Right-click the app, then select More > Run as Administrator.
Check Your Internet Connection (and Disable VPNs or Proxies)
While Discord itself should work over a virtual private network or proxy connection, it isn’t guaranteed. Certain VPN services block particular services, while Discord may block specific VPN IP ranges that it believes may be disruptive. Common VPN services could be inadvertently blocked, preventing updates from working.
If you’re not using a VPN or a proxy connection, don’t rule out a problem with your internet connection directly that prevents Discord from downloading the necessary update files. An intermittent internet connection or a DNS outage could all stop Discord itself from working, for instance.
Test this yourself by heading to the Discord website and checking that you can use Discord’s services using the web interface. If Discord is working through the website, then it’s pretty likely that the problem isn’t related to your connection.
Clear Discord’s Cache Files
The Discord client saves specific files into hidden folders on your PC or Mac for later use. These cache files are essential for Discord to work correctly but, if they become corrupted at any point, they can stop crucial services (like Discord updates) from working correctly.
To resolve this issue, you can remove these cache files by deleting the Discord AppData folder (on Windows) or the Discord Application Support folder (on Mac). You’ll need to ensure that Discord isn’t currently running, either visibly or in the background, before you try these steps.
How to Empty Discord Cache on Windows
- To start, open File Explorer and select the navigation bar at the top of the menu. Type %appdata%\Discord into the navigation bar, then select the Enter key to switch folders.
- In the Discord folder, search through the list to find the Cache, GPUCache, and Code Cache folders. Select the folders using the Ctrl key, then right-click the folders and select Delete to place them in the Recycle Bin.
- On your desktop, right-click the Recycle Bin and select Empty Recycle Bin from the context menu to empty it. This will erase the Discord cache files from your PC.
- Re-open the Discord client and allow any essential files to be regenerated. You may need to sign back in at this point.
How to Empty Discord Cache Files on Mac
- To empty the Discord cache on Mac, open the Finder app and select Go > Go to Folder.
- In the Finder menu box, type ~/Library/Application Support/discord and select Go.
- Select the Cache, GPUCache, and Code Cache folders in the Finder menu (select and hold the Command key to do this). Once selected, right-click the files, then select Move to Trash (Move to Bin in certain localizations).
- Once removed, right-click the Trash folder on the Dock, then select Empty Trash (or Empty Bin) to remove them.
- Re-open the Discord client for the files to regenerate, then sign-in with your Discord user details again (if required).
Rename the Discord Update Executable File
As its name might suggest, the Discord executable file responsible for updates (update.exe) is solely responsible for keeping the Discord client updated on a Windows PC. If you’re stuck in a Discord update failed loop and want to quickly bypass the issue, you can rename this file to prevent Discord updates from working.
This isn’t recommended as a long-term solution, however. Without updates, your Discord client will lack the latest features and bug fixes. Over time, your service may degrade, and the client itself may stop work entirely as older versions are blocked from use.
- To rename the update.exe file, open File Explorer and select the navigation bar at the top of the window. Type C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Discord (replacing username with your own Windows user folder) and select Enter on your keyboard.
- In the Discord folder, right-click the Update.exe file and select Rename. Rename the file to something different (e.g., Update-Old.exe) and select the Enter key to confirm.
Remove and Reinstall Discord
A Discord update failed loop like this can, by definition, continue indefinitely without you resolving the root cause. If the steps above haven’t helped you to resolve the problem with your Discord client on either Windows or Mac, you’ll need to remove and reinstall the client instead.
Reinstalling Discord will provide you with the latest version of the stable release files, although you can also download the beta and Canary release versions instead. This may fix the problem itself, or you may be forced to repeat these steps regularly to ensure you have the latest client files installed.
How to Remove and Reinstall Discord on Windows
- To reinstall Discord on Windows, right-click the Start menu and select Settings.
- In the Settings menu, select Apps > Apps & features. Find and select the Discord option in the list, then select Uninstall > Uninstall.
Follow any additional on-screen instructions. After uninstalling, download the latest Discord installation files, then run the installer to complete the process.
How to Remove and Reinstall Discord on Mac
- To remove the Discord client on Mac, open the Finder app and select Applications, then right-click the Discord entry and select Move to Trash (or Move to Bin).
- You’ll need to empty the Trash folder afterward by right-clicking the Trash icon on the Dock and selecting Empty Trash or Empty Bin.
Once removed, download the latest Discord Mac installer and run the file, then follow any additional on-screen instructions to complete the process.
Next Steps on Discord
Discord is an excellent platform for making friends and playing games, especially if you plan on using the Discord in-game overlay. You can also add color to Discord messages to spice up your chat or, if you want to build your community, you can make a Discord server for your friends and family to enjoy.