You attempt to run Windows updates on a Windows 7 desktop but notice that it fails with the following message:
Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Windows Update encountered an unknown error.
One of the ways to correct this issue is to navigate to the Windows directory and rename the SoftwareDistribution folder so that it would get recreated.
Restart the desktop once the folder has been renamed and Windows update should now work as expected: