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Issue #801: Nov 27 – Dec 3, 2022

Q: One morning in September I noticed that the monthly Windows update had not installed overnight. Note: computer stays on overnight. I also noticed that not only did it not install, but it did not download. I ran “Update Troubleshooter” and it found two problems and fixed them. Tried to download and install again. It downloaded, but did not install, instead I got error 0x80073701. In October, the same thing happened with the October updates. The computer keeps trying to install, but it keeps showing error 0x80073701.  

I tried manually downloading to install, but it would not install. I tried using the “update apps” feature of my McAfee Multi Access – Total Protection, but again, it did not install.  I’ve run the Windows Update Troubleshooter and Microsoft Security Scanner.  I have run Command Prompt: sfc /scannow, as well as DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.  I also ran Malware Bytes, Spybot S&D, CCleaner and McAfee Anti-virus.  I’ve tried installing with the firewall off. I tried installing with firewall and live scan off.  Nothing has solved the problem.

August and prior months’ updates downloaded and installed with no problem. How can I fix this?

– Barney S.
Marrero, Louisiana

A:  My goodness, Barney!  You have certainly been through the wringer trying to solve this problem, haven’t you?  As I read your question and started making a mental checklist of things to recommend to you, you checked off nearly every item. So, I had to reach even deeper into my bag-o-tricks to come up with something to recommend to you.

As someone who lives out of my local area, and in an area where there is apparently not a newspaper that carries It’s Geek To Me, I have no idea whether you’ll see this when it publishes.  So, I hope you will find it on the column’s website at ItsGeekToMe.co (not .com!).   Ideally, you could contact your local paper’s editor and ask for them to add IGTM as a feature.  The content is free for the paper, and how much stuff in the world can still say that?

Speaking of the web page, if you visit the archives there, you will find that just a few issues ago (Geek Note: I.G.T.M. Issue #798) I discussed this issue’s cousin in a question submitted by reader Denise P. Her issue was with Virus & Security refusing to update, but at its heart the source of the problem is probably very similar to yours.

When a problem like yours arises, there are two critical things that need to be done.  First, you need to verify the integrity of your copy of Windows, which you’ve already done with the System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool.  I say this not for your benefit, Barney, but so other readers facing a similar issue might have a place to begin with their fix.

So, among all of the things that you said you tried, one that I didn’t see was to clear-out the folder where Windows stores downloaded updates.  With everything you say you’ve tried, the most logical culprit is that you have a corrupt download, and Windows keeps trying and failing to install it.  If you clear out the old files, Windows will go and download a fresh copy, and try again.  The easy, Geeky way to do this is to follow these steps:  Press [WinKey]+I.  Click “System” in the left-hand navigation bar.  Click on “Storage,” then “Temporary Files.”  From here, you can select anything you want to clean up, but for the purpose of what we’re doing, make sure “Windows Update Cleanup” and “Delivery Optimization” are selected.  When ready, click “Remove Files.”

I want to share one final resource with you just in case clearing out your files doesn’t help.  In researching your issue, I found a page on TenForums.com entitled “How to Reset Windows Update in Windows 10.”  Aside from having some really good information, they’ve provided a downloadable batch file that performs some extremely comprehensive resets on your system.    It also provides feedback of any failures it encounters along the way.  You can check it out at TinyURL.com/IGTM-0801.  I wish you the best of luck with your problem, Barney!

2 Responses to “Issue #801: Nov 27 – Dec 3, 2022”

  • BarneyS says:

    Update:
    Shortly after I submitted my question to you, my computer downloaded and installed “Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.8 and 4.8.1.” I again tried to install the failed updates, but no good.
    After this I tried to install “Feature update to Windows 10, version 21H2.” This too failed.
    After reading your answer to me on your website, one by one, I tried your fixes. After each attempted fix, I tried to install the failed updates and again, no good.
    Much to my surprise when I woke up yesterday morning, there was a pop-up asking me to restart my computer to install the Feature Update. After the successful installation of the Feature Update, it successfully downloaded and installed three other updates.
    Update appears to be functioning correctly, but I don’t know what fixed it. I guess when the next monthly update comes out in two weeks, I’ll find out if it is really fixed.
    It must have been magic.
    Thanks for your time.

    • The Geek says:

      I’m not sure what broke your system loose — be it something I suggested, or something you did on your own. What’s important is that it seems to be working now. I had a similar issue, and mine cleared up 24 hours after I ceased efforts to fix it. Like your issue, I have no idea if it fixed itself, or if something I did fixed it.


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