Problems with Windows Updates - Solutions

Problems Caused by Windows Updates & Solutions

Problems with Windows Updates - Solutions

The frustration of Windows Update not working in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1 and 10 are globally 'well known': not receiving or not being able to install updates, repeated installation of same updates, or in worse cases, endless reboot cycles.

Windows Update Error - Try Again

There are several options for fixing Windows Update problems or completely restoring Windows.

First, check if you have enough free disk space (at least 1 gigabyte) on your hard drive. If not, read the Remove temporary files article on how to get rid of unnecessary files with CCleaner.

Second, verify that time and date are correct on your PC - a date in the past or the future prevents both Windows Update and Genuine Windows Validation tool from working properly.

Third, run a disk check to verify that file system is not corrupt.

Fourth, have you tried restarting your computer? The simple move might fix problems with locked files and make everything right again.

Windows Update requirements by OS (operating system)

Windows 10 users will need the Anniversary Update (version 1511) installed to receive security and other updates after the 9th of May, 2017.

Windows 8 (but not 8.1) stopped receiving updates after the 12th of January, 2016. Current users can upgrade for free to Windows 8.1 via Windows Store.

Windows 7 devices must have Service Pack 1 correctly installed to continue receiving security fixes via Windows Update. Clean installations without Service Pack 1 might fail to start BITS and Windows Update services. Either use the link above to download SP1, or to use WSUS Offline Update to download and install all necessary prerequisites, SP1 and latest security updates.

Windows 7 and 8/8.1 installed on systems with the following processors (CPU-s) are blocked from receiving updates, receiving the "Unsupported Hardware: Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates." or the "Windows could not search for new updates. An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer. Error(s) found: Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error." error messages:

  • Intel 7th-generation (Kaby Lake) and newer processors,
  • AMD "Bristol Ridge", "Ryzen" and newer,
  • Qualcomm "8996" and newer.

For working solutions (tested in 2017) to the above problem click here.

Windows Vista computers require Service Pack 2 to get latest updates from Windows Update. Again, WSUS Offline Update might be the fastest way to apply all patches for clean installs.

Please note that Windows Vista reached its end of life and stopped receiving updates after the 11th of April, 2017. If possible, upgrade to Windows 7.

Windows XP users must have Service Pack 3 installed to use Windows Update or Microsoft Update. Without it, "Error number: 0x80190194" failure message appears while searching for updates. Please note that all support for Windows XP has ended and the current users should really consider upgrading to Windows 7 or newer due to the huge number of critical security flaws in XP.

Common Windows Update problems

Error 0x80240016 (or just 80240016) means that another installation is in progress, or Windows Update is already installing some updates. If you are currently installing some software, let the process finish and then retry applying updates after about a minute. Otherwise, give Windows Update about 10-15 minutes to finish what it's doing.

Error 0x80240030 in Windows Update might mean that Internet Explorer proxy settings are bad (even when you've never used a proxy). To fix this, open IE's Tools menu (Alt+X), choose Internet Options and open the Connections tab. Click LAN settings in the bottom of the window and reverse the current setting of the Automatically detect settings check box. Click OK two times to apply the new setting and close the Internet Options window, then go back, restore the original automatic detection setting and click OK twice again. This clears the bad proxy settings and you can retry installing updates.

Windows Update exists to keep Windows and other Microsoft software updated, usually with little intervention from us. This includes security updates that are pushed out regularly.

Unfortunately, sometimes one or more of those patches will cause a problem, ranging from serious ones like error messages preventing Windows from starting, to less serious ones like video or audio problems.

If you're confident that the problem you're experiencing began only after one or more Windows updates, whether manual, automatic, on Patch Tuesday, or otherwise, continue reading for help on what to do next.

Windows Update Trouble-shooter

When you try to install the latest updates from Windows Update, you will sometimes receive an error message. The Windows Update Trouble-shooter resolves many of these errors. The trouble-shooter runs on Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

If you’re having problems with Windows Update, make sure you're connected to the Internet, and then download and run the Windows Update Trouble-shooter for your version of Windows.

Download trouble-shooter for Windows 10

Download trouble-shooter for Windows 7 and Windows 8

After the trouble-shooter is done, try running Windows Update again and install any available updates

If that fails, try this one .

Windows Update Troubleshooter - Windows 7

Windows Update Troubleshooter - Windows 10

For Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8

The next step is a bit more challenging and may not be for the faint heart to attempt alone. In this step, you are prompted to run a pair of command-line tools: DISM.exe and SFC.exe, as shown in Figure E. DISM.exe is the Deployment Imaging And Servicing Management tool, which is designed to correct Component Store corruption. SFC.exe is the System File Checker, which checks for and replaces corrupt system files.

DISM is the Swiss Army Knife of Windows 10 maintenance and with the Windows 10 Creators Update it gained a helpful collection of PowerShell scripts. Here's how to put them to use.

DISM Supported Platforms Notes: Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is available in Windows 10 for desktop editions (Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education), Windows Server 2016, and Windows Pre-installation Environment (WinPE) for Windows 10.

Figure E

Deployment Imaging And Servicing Management tool

Running DISM requires a bit more in-depth work than running SFC.

If neither DISM nor SFC fixes the problem it is suggested that you either reset or reinstall the Windows.

For Windows 7, Windows Vista

To resolve this problem, use the System Update Readiness tool. Then, install the Windows update or service pack again.Download the System Update Readiness tool.
Click the download link in the following table that corresponds to the version of Windows that is running on your computer.

This tool is updated regularly, I recommend that you always download the latest version.

Operating system Download link
System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7 (KB947821) [October 2014]
download link Download the package now.
System Update Readiness Tool for Windows Vista (KB947821) [October 2014]
download link Download the package now.

Install and run the tool. Click Download on the Download Center webpage, then do one of the following: To install the tool immediately, click Open or Run, and then follow the instructions on your screen. To install the tool later, click Save, and then download the installation file to your computer. When you're ready to install the tool, double-click the file. In the Windows Update Standalone Installer dialog box, click Yes.

Windows System Update Readiness tool

When the tool is being installed, it automatically runs. Although it typically takes less than 15 minutes to run, it might take much longer on some computers. Even if the progress bar seems to stop, the scan is still running, so don't click Cancel.

Windows System Update Readiness tool installin

When you see Installation complete, click Close.

System Update Readiness tool - Installation Completed

Reinstall the update or service pack you were trying to install previously.

Description of the common corruption errors

The following table lists the possible error code with Windows Update for your reference:
Code Error Description
0x80070002 ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND The system cannot find the file specified.
0x8007000D ERROR_INVALID_DATA The data is invalid.
0x800F081F CBS_E_SOURCE_MISSING The source for the package or file not found.
0x80073712 ERROR_SXS_COMPONENT_STORE_CORRUPT The component store is in an inconsistent state.
0x800736CC ERROR_SXS_FILE_HASH_MISMATCH A component's file does not match the verification information present in the component manifest.
0x800705B9 ERROR_XML_PARSE_ERROR Unable to parse the requested XML data.
0x80070246 ERROR_ILLEGAL_CHARACTER An invalid character was encountered.
0x8007370D ERROR_SXS_IDENTITY_PARSE_ERROR An identity string is malformed.
0x8007370B ERROR_SXS_INVALID_IDENTITY_ATTRIBUTE_NAME The name of an attribute in an identity is not within the valid range.
0x8007370A ERROR_SXS_INVALID_IDENTITY_ATTRIBUTE_VALUE The value of an attribute in an identity is not within the valid range.
0x80070057 ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER The parameter is incorrect.
0x800B0100 TRUST_E_NOSIGNATURE No signature was present in the subject.
0x80092003 CRYPT_E_FILE_ERROR An error occurred while Windows Update reads or writes to a file.
0x800B0101 CERT_E_EXPIRED A required certificate is not within its validity period when verifying against the current system clock or the time stamp in the signed file.
0x8007371B ERROR_SXS_TRANSACTION_CLOSURE_INCOMPLETE One or more required members of the transaction are not present.
0x80070490 ERROR_NOT_FOUND Windows could not search for new updates.

Windows Update Troubleshooting Guide

Windows Update Troubleshooting

Are you sure the updates are fully installed? If the Windows update installation itself is frozen, you might see a "Preparing to configure Windows", "Configuring Windows updates", or similar message for a very long time.

Are you sure the update that was installed was a Windows update? The help provided below is specific to problems caused by patches made available via Windows Update by Microsoft, for Microsoft products.

Other software companies often push updates to your computer via their own software and so have nothing to do with Microsoft or Windows Update, and would be outside the scope of this troubleshooting guide. Some popular companies that do this include Google (Chrome, etc.) Adobe (Reader, AIR, etc.), Oracle (JAVA), Mozilla (Firefox), and Apple (iTunes, etc.), among others.

Updates - Windows Starts Successfully

Follow this troubleshooting guide if you're experiencing a problem after one or more Windows updates but you're still able to access Windows.

Restart your computer. Some problems seen after Windows update installations can be corrected with a simple reboot.

While it was more an issue in older versions of Windows like Windows XP, sometimes one or more updates won't fully install on a single computer restart, especially when a large number of updates are installed simultaneously. Some issues experienced after Windows updates are less "problems" and more annoyances. Before we move on to more complicated steps, here are a few relatively minor issues that I've encountered after some Windows updates, along with their likely solutions:

Problem: Some websites are inaccessible in Internet Explorer
Solution:Reset Internet Explorer's Security Zones to their default levels

Problem:A hardware device (video, sound, etc.) is no longer working properly or is generating an error code/message
Solution:Update the drivers for the device

Problem: Installed antivirus program won't update or produces errors
Solution: Update the antivirus program's definition files

Problem:Files are being opened by the wrong program
Solution:Change the file extension's default program. Complete a System Restore to uninstall the Windows update(s). This solution is very likely to work since all the changes made by the updates are reversed.

Important:During the System Restore process, choose the restore point created just prior to the installation of the Windows updates. If no restore point is available then you won't be able to try this step. System Restore itself must have had some issue prior to the Windows update that prevented a restore point from being automatically created.

If System Restore fixes the problem you've been experiencing, see How to Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC before you do anything else. You'll need to make changes to how Windows Update is configured, as well as follow some best practices in regards to installing the updates again, or you might experience the same exact problem when the patches try to automatically install again.
Windows 10: Use Reset This PC to reinstall Windows 10, with or without keeping your personal files intact. You could also Clean Install Windows 10 if Reset This PC doesn't work.

Windows 8: Use Refresh Your PC to reinstall Windows 8, retaining personal files and Windows Store apps only. Use Reset Your PC to reinstall Windows 8, retaining no personal files, apps, or programs. You could also Clean Install Windows 8 if Reset Your PC doesn't work for some reason.

Windows 7: Reinstall Windows 7, retaining no personal files or programs.

Windows Vista: Reinstall Windows Vista, retaining no personal files or programs.

Windows XP:
Repair Windows XP, retaining personal files and installed programs. Reinstall Windows XP, retaining no data or programs. At this point, your computer should be working fine. Yes, you should check for and install any new Windows Updates.

Updates - Windows Does Not Start Successfully

Follow this troubleshooting guide if you're unable to access Windows normally after one or more Windows updates were installed.

Restart your computer. Whatever problem the update(s) caused could clear itself up with a simple power off and power on.

Restart computer to finish installing updates

Start Windows using Last Known Good Configuration, which will attempt to start Windows using registry and driver data that worked the last time it was successfully started.

Start Windows 7 using last known good configuration

Note: The Last Known Good Configuration option applies only available on Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

Start Windows in Safe Mode. If you can start in Safe Mode, follow the advice above in the Windows Starts Successfully.

Start Windows in Safe Mode

If you can't start in Safe Mode, don't worry, just move on to the next troubleshooting step below. Complete an offline System Restore to uninstall the Windows update(s). Be sure to choose the restore point created just prior to the installation of the Windows update(s).
Windows 10 Advanced options - System Restore

Note: A typical System Restore is completed from within Windows but since you can't access Windows right now, you'll need to complete an offline System Restore - see below. This option is not available in Windows XP.

Offline System Restore

The Windows 7 Recovery Environment is a way to boot your computer into an offline mode where you can run various recovery and diagnostic tools that can be used to try and resolve problems with Windows. This environment is particularly helpful in resolving issues when Windows crashes, does not start, or when you have malware that cannot be removed while Windows is running. Using this environment allows you to gain access to your files and Windows Registry information even when Windows is not started.

In order to access the Windows 7 System Recovery Environment you need to boot your computer in a certain way. The easiest method is to just restart your computer and start slowing tapping the F8 key. Eventually you should get to an Advanced Boot Options screen. Using the arrows on your keyboard, select Repair Your Computer and press Enter on your keyboard. If you do not see this option, then boot from the Windows 7 DVD.

If the Repair your Computer option is not available, you will need to boot your computer off of the Windows 7 DVD by inserting it into your DVD player and turning your computer on. Your computer will start and you should see the BIOS listing the hardware on your computer as well as other information.

Press any Key to Boot from CD or DVD

As you want to boot the computer from the Windows 7 DVD, you need to press a key on your keyboard, and any key will do, when you see the above prompt.

Install Windows 7 - Language & Region

At this screen you should configure the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method options so that they are set correctly for your location and language.

When done, please press the Next button. You will now be at the main Windows 7 setup screen where you would normally install Windows 7 on to your computer.

  Windows 7 Installation

You should now click on the Repair your computer option to start entering the Windows 7 Recovery Environment.

You should now be a screen where the repair process will look for all Windows 7 installations on your computer. When done you will be presented with the System Recovery Options dialog box.

  Windows 7 System Recovery Options

Select the installation of Windows 7 that you wish to repair and click on the Next button. You will now be shown the System Recovery Options screen.

 Windows 7 - System Recovery Options GUI

This screen lists all of the available recovery options in Windows 7. These include:

Startup Repair

Startup Repair is an automated procedure that attempts to fix common issues with Windows that may not allow it to startup properly. This tool will automatically start when Windows is unable to start after a few attempts.

System Restore

System Restore allows you to restore your computer to a previous restore point. In the event that your computer is not working properly or randomly crashing you can restore your computer to a restore point that was made when your computer was operating properly.

System Image Recovery

System Image Recovery allows you to overwrite all the information on your hard drives with a system images created at a previous date. This allows you to recover your computer in the event that Windows becomes corrupted and cannot boot. It is also a useful tool if you wish to reset your computer to a system image created right after you installed Windows.

System Restore Using A Windows 10 Recovery Disk

System Restore is a utility that resets the computer’s configuration data (a.k.a the registry) back to the values they were at a prior date and time. If your computer can boot, and you notice your computer acting sluggish or that you are experiencing error messages, the first place to start is to perform a system restore back to a date and time you know the computer was working normally.

If The Computer Is Running
1. Right Click The Mouse On The Windows Start Menu Icon.
2. Select Control Panel
3. On the Control Panel Screen, click on Recovery.
4. On the Advanced Tools screen, click Open System Restore.
5. On The System Restore screen, click Next.
6. On the Restore Your Computer To The State…. screen, select a restore point that corresponds as to when you knew the computer was working fine. You can probably just go back to the restore point just before the most recent restore point. Then click Next.
7. On the Confirm Your Restore Point screen, Click Finish. The computer’s configuration files will be restored to the state they were in corresponding to the date of the restore point.
8. Reboot the computer. Observe it’s operation. If there are still issues, you may have a virus. Run virus protection or boot from a Recovery USB stick and perform repairs offline.

If The Computer Was Booted From A Recovery USB Drive

If the computer does not start normally, and thus was booted from the USB Recovery drive, do the following to run a System Restore.

Command Line System Restore

1. Since the computer was booted from a recovery drive, technically, it knows nothing about the Windows installed on the computer. Thus, when running the utility, it is necessary to tell the utility which drive you want to check for errors. To find out

Enter the command fsutil fsinfo drives and the press Enter.

A list of drives will appear (i.e. C:, D:, E:) Now, it is necessary to inspect each drive to see if it contains the Windows installation. Note IT IS NOT ALWAYS THE C drive!. To do this. repeat the following for each drive.

(1). Enter C: (or any other drive letter) and press Enter.
(2). Enter in Dir and press Enter
(3). Look for a folder named Windows in the list. If it is found, write it down. If not found, repeat steps 1 – 3 for each drive (4). Change Directories back to the offline boot directory (i.e. cd x:\)

2. Now that we have the drive that Windows boots from, we can run the offline system restore

rstrui.exe /offline:e:\Windows and press Enter.

The System Restore utility will start. NOTE. Substitute the drive letter where your windows is installed for the e:\ in the example above.

3. Follow the prompts making sure to select a prior restore point that you are pretty sure is safe.
4. When the restore completes, remove the USB Drive from the PC and reboot.

If the system boots normally, then great, you are done.

However, if an error occurred during the System Restore process, or there were no restore points because System Protection was not on to begin with, then the backup registry hives will have to be restored manually.