Sunday, June 29, 2008

My experience with Windows Update error code 80071a90

(Note to my regular readers: The only reason I wrote this post is because there's not much help for this situation to be found on Google. Don't worry, I won't be blogging about weird error codes from now on.)

Today I wiped out my system and did a clean install of Vista.

While it was downloading updates I kept getting the above error code for two updates. I googled it and found nothing but a bunch of posts that more or less said "what does code 80071a90 mean?"

Well, I can't tell you what it means, but I can tell you how I got around it.

On a shot-in-the-dark guess, I set Windows Update to just install one of the two updates. As the updates were most of a year apart, I set the older one to go first.

It installed fine.

I restarted and installed the other one.

It installed fine.

So I guess the code means "these updates don't play well together, install them separately."

(if anybody wants to know I was installing Ultimate x64 on a homebrew machine)

UPDATE 8/17/12: Amazingly, this is by far the most-visited post on the blog and still gets comments every once in a while. Because of time constraints I have now, I've disabled comments on this post since I don't really have time to moderate them anymore.


Anonymous said...

lol thanks it worked. I just have like 30 updates to install separately like that with a reboot between each xD

Anonymous said...

The update-system of Vista should be corrected. Throwing such error codes is a bad practice to the user. The user shouldn't get confronted with those lame error-codes.

Updates that should wait to get installed during an updates session should wait after the computer has been reset as a result of the update.

On the other side the user should get warned that some updates have been kept behind and that they will get applied for the next update session.

John G said...

Good move. I cam here courtesy of Google after repeated failed updates.

I will try your method which I think will solve the problems. Cheers to you, and a big thumbs down to Microsoft for having such a flawed update system in place for its flagship product.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

David Brown says: "it worked for me, and I'm astonished that the code is not in the list of error codes published at the Windows Website."

Anonymous said...

It worked for me too. I had 8 updates and did the first 3 separate. I picked the biggest ones. Then I tried the final 5 all together and they installed. Thanks for posting.

Ildi said...

Thank you for the advice! I had the same problem for 2 days! I almost reinstalled the whole Windows! I had 8 updates, tried about 10+ times to install them, but it never worked. Than I found your topic, thank you again, you're a lifesaver! I installed them one by one and it worked! Thank You again!

Anonymous said...

You sir, are freaking brilliant! I have been scouring the net for a solution this (super irritating) problem and stumbled upon your post. I had tried other so-called solutions out there but none of them worked. And yours did! Painstaking, yes, but effective - and very usable for the non technie types (I doubt that the majority of users out there even know what the heck a command prompt is) Thank you!