How to resolve npm update check failed message in the terminal

When running npm commands in the terminal, you might see an error message pop up as shown below:

│                      npm update check failed                      │
│                Try running with sudo or get access                │
│               to the local update config store via                │
│ sudo chown -R $USER:$(id -gn $USER) /Users/nsebhastian/.config    │

The error above happens when npm is trying to check whether a newer version of the npm package is available for you to download.

When run successfully and there’s a newer npm version, the message will be similar as follows:

│                                                               │
│       New minor version of npm available! 8.1.0 → 8.9.0       │
│   Changelog:   │
│               Run npm install -g npm to update!               │
│                                                               │

As the error message stated, the npm update check failed when npm can’t access the local configstore/ folder.

That folder is located inside the /Users/<username>/.config/ folder.

For Windows computers, the location is in C:\Users\<username>\.config.

Inside the configstore/ folder, you will find a file named update-notifier-npm.json that npm needs to run the update check successfully.

To resolve this issue, you need to make sure that the terminal can access the /.config folder.

There are two ways you can achieve this:

  • Run the terminal with sudo or administrator role, then run an npm command once (npm -v will do)
  • If that doesn’t work, delete the configstore/ folder from /Users/<username>/.config/

The first method will help by restoring the right permissions for the .config/ and configstore/ folders.

The second method will let npm regenerate the configstore/ folder and the update-notifier-npm.json file.

Alternatively, you can turn off the update notifier if you don’t need it:

npm config set update-notifier false

The command above will add update-notifier=false line to your .npmrc file. It will disable the update notifier.

Now you’ve learned how to resolve the npm update check failed message. Nice work! 👍

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