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Automatic Update Service Does Not Work

This article is a collection of snippets and ideas for solving Windows Update issues. It is intended for a technical audience, and as a landing place for a variety of fixes.

2018: Check the system has the latest servicing stack.

If Windows Update prompts “We couldn't connect to the update service. We'll try again later, or you can check now. If it still doesn't work, make sure you're connected to the Internet.”, this may be because the system cannot negotiate a cipher with the Windows Update service. Try resetting the Schannel stack.

Also see:

Also try applying the standalone Windows Update agent installer (older version) (0x8024D001) or KB3083324 for Windows 7/2008R2.

In Windows Vista/2008/7, a 0x80073712 error may be resolvable by running the System Update Readiness Tool.

In Windows 7/8, Windows Update may show 0x80096002 or 0x800B0001. If using SBS 2008, ensure all WSUS updates are installed. Catalogs on client machines may need to be reset (see below).

In Windows 7, 0x8007000E may be resolved by the KB3050265 update.

In Windows Vista/7, the Windows Update applet may show “Check for updates for your computer”, and “Find out more about free software from (null)”. Upon clicking Check for Updates, the message “Windows Update cannot check for updates, because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer”. This may be resolved, if the System Update Readiness Tool doesn't help, by opening an elevated command prompt, and typing:

net stop wuauserv

ren %windir%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bak

net start wuauserv

In Windows Vista/7 the system may continually prompt “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates”, yet restarting does not clear this message. In addition, Windows Update shows updates which are “Pending” or have an error code of 0x80070020. This may occurr if the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired exists. Rename the key name RebootRequired to, say, xRebootRequired and reboot.

0x8020000D (“BG E Destination Locked”) may occur if you have a backup product which uses a file system snapshot. Restart the services Background Intelligent Transfer Service, Windows Update and Update Services:

net stop bits
net start bits
net stop wuauserv
net start wuauserv
net stop wsusservice
net start wsusservice

0x800A0007 may be caused by an invalid proxy, a problem communicating over SSL, or occur on a system where there are more than one active adaptors but one does not have a valid gateway for internet connectivity. For example when using the Hamachi Network Interface for LogMeIn. Disable the adaptor, reboot and try again.

Also see Advanced guidelines for diagnosing and fixing servicing corruption and Description of the Windows Update Troubleshooter.

Under Windows 2000, the Automatic Updates service may not work:

  • The Automatic Updates feature is set to download updates, but no updates are downloaded.

  • When starting the Background Intelligent Transfer Service using services.msc, the following error is displayed:

    “Could not start the Background Intelligent Transfer Service service on Local Computer. Error 1075: The dependency service does not exist or has been marked for deletion.”

This issue might be resolved by applying the BITS 2.0 and WinHTTP 5.1 update.

A 0x8DDD0004 error may be due to corrupt, missing or old Windows library files. Run SFC /SCANNOW to run the System File Checker. (You may need your Windows CD media and a copy of the last service pack.) Then reboot and try again.

0x80072EFE (ERROR_INTERNET_CONNECTION_ABORTED) may be due to an invalid Schannel configuration, or the system cannot negotiate a cipher with Windows Update. Try resetting the Schannel stack.

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