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Unable to update using Windows Update (Code 8000FFFF error)

Last response: in Windows 7
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October 30, 2012 1:38:40 AM

A while back, after successfully downloading and installing some updates in the Windows Update, it prompted me to restart the computer to finish the update installation process. However, I continued to use the computer for quite some time before restarting it, and then when it tried to configure the updates on the start-up screen, it showed that it was not successful in doing so. In the past, I noticed that this would typically happen when I did not restart the computer immediately (or within a short time) after the updates finished and I got the prompt to restart. I would have to go to Windows Update and do it over again, and then upon immediate restart, it would always work properly. But this time, it did not, and I keep getting the 8000FFFF error message instead. Also, now, every time I start the computer, it shows that it's "Preparing to configure Windows... Do not shut off computer" (presumably the updates that never got completely and correctly configured) in the start-up screen... gets to 35%... fails... shuts down (screen goes black)... restarts again... tries to configure again, fails again, shuts down and restarts again... tries to configure again, fails again, and finally it apparently gives up and says "reverting changes" and finally goes to the desktop.

I've looked at the answers in several threads at the answers.microsoft.com forum that were started by people with similar problems, and also tried several of the Microsoft "FixIt" files on the Microsoft site, but none of them worked. I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium. Thanks to anyone who can help.

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a b 8 Security
a b $ Windows 7
October 30, 2012 1:44:54 AM

If you don't have too many personal files and data on the hard drive I would do a reinstall of Windows and that way start over and you won't have this problem.
If not you can always delete all the udates back to when the problem started and then reload all the updates again the right way.
You can also try a System Restore back to a restore point before the problem.
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October 30, 2012 8:47:24 AM

inzone said:
If you don't have too many personal files and data on the hard drive I would do a reinstall of Windows and that way start over and you won't have this problem.
If not you can always delete all the udates back to when the problem started and then reload all the updates again the right way.
You can also try a System Restore back to a restore point before the problem.

I keep everything on external hard drives, so I could try the first option... but I don't think I was given a disk for Windows 7 with this computer...

I'm not sure how to delete previous updates...

I think I deleted all the backups from before this problem happened, so I don't think I am able to use System Restore to solve this.

Thanks for your response, inzone.
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a b 8 Security
a b $ Windows 7
October 30, 2012 3:35:52 PM

If you were not given a disc for the operating systam then there would be a hidden partition on the hard drivre containing system recovery software and your coupy of Windows 7. Is your computer a laptop ?
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a b 8 Security
a b $ Windows 7
October 30, 2012 3:39:02 PM

To view your past Windows updates you go to Control Pael / System and Security / Windows Update / View Update History.
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November 2, 2012 1:39:51 AM

inzone said:
If you were not given a disc for the operating systam then there would be a hidden partition on the hard drivre containing system recovery software and your coupy of Windows 7. Is your computer a laptop ?

No, it's a desktop.

inzone said:
To view your past Windows updates you go to Control Pael / System and Security / Windows Update / View Update History.

Ah yes, that. Unfortunately, upon using the Microsoft FixIt files, those entries were all deleted.

I remember having this problem before, with another computer before I got this one, and when I called Microsoft tech support, they were able to solve it for me. It was by going to the command prompt and typing something in that disabled the "pending" updates. I can't remember what the command was, however, and I threw away the paper, thinking I would not have this problem again. Something about "delete pending.xml" or something like that. Anyway, that disabled the pending updates, and then I was able to re-do the Windows Update process and it would work fine. I wanted to call the Microsoft line again, but recently, they started saying that there is a charge for their services, when in the past they helped me without charge.

Thanks again for your help, inzone.
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a b 8 Security
a b $ Windows 7
November 2, 2012 2:23:09 AM

There is an option in Windows where you can turn off the Windows updates and it won't downloaa automaticly and you can then choose to download if you want.
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November 2, 2012 10:30:39 AM

inzone said:
There is an option in Windows where you can turn off the Windows updates and it won't downloaa automaticly and you can then choose to download if you want.

Yes, I know that you can turn off automatic updates... but the problem is that right now there are updates pending and because the initial installation did not work right, it's trying to install them every time I start the computer... and failing.

In the future, turning off the automatic updates would prevent this from happening again, but for now, it's the pending updates that are the problem... and I can't stop it from trying to install those. If only I could remember the exact command, I think it was "del pending.xml", but I also don't remember which folder to switch it to in the command prompt before executing that command.

Anyway, I'll keep looking for the answer. Thanks, inzone.
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November 12, 2012 6:50:12 AM

Best answer selected by lishaohua.
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