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Tackling Windows Update Problems

Every now and then, one of my test machines will balk when the time comes to install a new update for testing and evaluation. Figuring that other readers may occasionally find themselves in the same circumstances, I wanted to share some potential fixes and techniques for dealing with this when and as it happens:

Windows Fixit: Automatically Reset Windows Update Components

Even though this Windows Support tool mentions only Windows 8.1, 8, and 7, it also works for Windows 10. It automates the process described in the afore-linked Fixit documentation, which includes stopping various services (BITS, Windows Update, and the Cryptographic service), deleting update queue management files, re-registering BITS and Windows Update files, resetting WinSock, restarting already mentioned services, and installing the most current Windows Update Agent. Nice explains why the Fixit is so handy, no?

Using DISM to Fix Windows Update Problems

This KB article (947821) explains how to use DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) and the System File Checker at the command line to repair damaged Windows System files as a roundabout way to address Windows Update problems. Note that SFC /scannow currently returns spurious errors related to Nvidia drivers for current builds on the current branch (this is fixed in the current technical preview builds, however).

Research Specific Windows Update Problems Online

For my particular problem, I encountered error message 0x80070BC9. Searching on that error code online, I was able to find numerous helpful forum posts and information suggesting fixes. Most notably, posting to led me to a Microsoft Community post (February 2012) that mentioned that error code which contained much of the foregoing information. Direct research on specific symptoms are good, and error codes even better (if available) because they will often provide pointers to the most relevant and potentially useful information. A certain amount of spelunking and experimentation is usually required to adapt other people’s fixes to one’s own current situation, so be prepared to learn from such information as much from trial and error as anything else!


The Windows Update Fixit is a great place to start when seeking to remedy problems applying updates.

[Note: many thanks to Cluster Head at TenForums for pointing me in the right direction on this issue. It’s a great place to seek and find useful Windows troubleshooting information.]