What is Windows Update error 0x80070020

Today we are going to take a look at another Windows 10 error known by this code 0x80070020. Many users complained it comes up when trying to install new updates pending in the Update Center. The error was first spotted in 2015, just at the time Windows 10 was released. Soon after a couple of patches, Microsoft managed to address the issue and wave it eventually. Unfortunately, this effect did not last forever as users Windows 10 Creators update brought the 0x80070020 error back to its previous life. We are lucky that the community has had enough time to research the problem and find working solutions to fix it despite the appearance. The most common reasons turned out to be corrupted or missing system files, bugged update configuration, third-party conflicts, disk damage, and other causes like that. While all of these reasons may sound quite intimidating to handle, there is nothing too complex about their solution. Just follow our guide below to revert your PC back to normal life without update errors.

Download Windows Repair Tool

Download Windows Repair Tool

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There are special repair utilities for Windows, that can solve problems related to registry corruption, file system malfunction, Windows drivers instability. We recommend you to use Advanced System Repair to fix the “Windows Update error 0x80070020” in Windows 10.

1. Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

While it is rarely the case, some errors like 0x80070020 can be solved with the default Windows Troubleshooter. If you did not know that, Troubshooter is an in-built utility designed to find and remove existing problems in various segments. You can use it to analyze update issues as well, so let’s try and do it below. Windows will scan out your system for potential problems and try to fix them eventually.

  1. Open Settings and navigate to Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  2. On the right pane, locate Windows Update and click Run the troubleshooter.
  3. Finish the process following the on-screen instructions and restart your PC.

As mentioned, this method does not happen to be successful that often, so move on to other solutions in case it did not work.

2. Disable Anti-malware software

A possible reason for the already mentioned Windows 10 update error could be a third-party program. The most popular software that could be a culprit is deemed to be an antivirus. The reason why such errors may happen is that your antivirus might have decided the downloaded update files can be a threat to your system and successfully block them eventually. For some reason, many users confirmed that was the case, and disabling their antivirus actually helped resolve the issue. So try to do it yourself and see if no update errors appear. In case everything goes smooth and flawless this time around, then you already know what was the culprit. You can disable your antivirus each time while installing new updates or try alternative programs that would not cause incompatibility with Windows. We recommend you to try Malwarebytes – trusted and effective antivirus that wields advanced protection algorithms to combat local and online threats. Download it using the button below and try its ultimate antimalware experience for free.

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3. Check integrity of system files

As we pointed out in the beginning, corrupted or missing system files can be easily found on the list of potential causes. It is impossible to know whether it is the case without scanning your system for such a scarcity. Thus, use these steps below to perform two different scans able to find and restore absent components, if any. Makes sure to use both of them in the sequence below as they might have a different impact on the solution.

SFC

  1. Open Command Prompt by typing cmd into the searching box next to the Start Menu button.
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Once the console is opened, type the sfc /scannow command and click Enter.
  4. When the fixing process is done, restart your computer.

DISM

  1. Open Command Prompt as we did in the previous step.
  2. Copy and paste this command DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth.
  3. Click Enter and wait until Windows ends the scanning and fixing.
  4. Once done, restart your PC and install the update again.

While executing all of these commands in Command Prompt, Windows will let you know if some has been restored. If yes, go install new updates and check if the same error appears.

4. Scan your hard drive for damaged fragments

It is important to check your main disk for damage as well. The method involves the same Command Prompt we used above, so it will not take too much of your time.

  1. Open Command Prompt just as we did above.
  2. Then, you should paste the chkdsk /f /r C: command and press Enter. If necessary, replace “C” with the letter of your hard drive.
  3. The system will scan for both configuration and physical errors and automatically repair them.

Now try to install the problematic update. Again no effect? – Move on to the rest of the solutions further below.

5. Run a Clean Bootup

We made a huge emphasis on incompatibility issues being the cause of errors like 0x80070020 for good reason. Apart from antimalware software, which you already checked, there may be some other third-party software that runs into conflict with Windows updates. Therefore, try to launch in Clean bootup mode and install the faulty update there. Clean bootup is a native and great feature helping users boot their PC only with in-built apps and services. This allows to avoid any conflict with third-party software and update the system eventually without problems. To enter this mode, make sure you do the following:

  1. Press Windows key + R combination and paste msconfig.
  2. Then in the opened window go to the Services tab located on top.
  3. Check the box next to Hide All Microsoft Services and click on the Disable all button.
  4. Now choose the General tab and select the Selective startup option. Make sure that the box is checked only next to the Load System Services.
  5. Click Apply and OK. Then reboot your PC.

Now you can try to access Update Center and install an update you need. No matter whether you managed or failed to do it, you should turn Windows back to Normal Startup settings. To do this, simply redo all the steps you implemented above by enabling the disabled services and changing your startup option from Selective to Normal.

6. Reset Windows Update components

If no method used from above helped you resolve the issue, then resetting Windows Update settings may finally sort out the error. Statistically, this method has proven itself to be very effective when dealing with many update issues. The whole procedure involves restarting BITS, Cryptographic, MSI Installer, and Windows Update services as well as renaming some update folders (SoftwareDistribution and Catroot2). Both of these folders contain temporary files necessary for implementing Windows Updates. Thus, we will force Windows to delete corrupted elements and create update-related components from scratch. Below, we will show you two ways of performing this method. The first requires typing and executing each console command in a manual sequence. The other is similar but done using a so-called batch script written in Notepad and saved as WUReset.bat. There is no real difference in which one you choose. Although the entire procedure may seem advanced and complicated, it will not take too much time and knowledge. Just follow the sequence listed below:

Using manual steps

  1. Open Command Prompt by typing cmd into the searching box next to the Start Menu button.
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Copy-paste this list of commands one by one clicking Enter after each. (This action will disable services responsible for Windows Updates)
  4. net stop wuauserv
    net stop cryptSvc
    net stop bits
    net stop msiserver

  5. Then, we have to rename the above-mentioned folders. Simply paste these commands by clicking Enter after each.
  6. ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old

  7. Finally, all left to do is to turn the disabled services back. So apply these commands likewise we did previously.
  8. net start wuauserv
    net start cryptSvc
    net start bits
    net start msiserver

  9. Now we are all done with it. Go to the Windows Update center and try to perform the installation again.

Using the Batch Script

This is an alternative method to the above. A batch script is used to execute the same range of commands to reset all Windows Update components, Cryptographic services, and folders like SoftwareDistribution. It is not that hard as you could imagine, but rather easier than the previous one. All you need is a Windows Notepad and a bit of copy-paste magic. Batch scripts hold an upper hand over manual typing as they allow you to execute all the necessary commands at once. If you ever stumble into similar issues in the future, you can execute the already-created .bat file and reset update components:

  1. Open a new Notepad file. For this, right-click on any free area over your desktop, choose New and Text document.
  2. Then paste this list of commands into your notepad:
  3. @ECHO OFF
    echo Simple Script to Reset / Clear Windows Update
    echo.
    PAUSE
    echo.
    attrib -h -r -s %windir%system32catroot2
    attrib -h -r -s %windir%system32catroot2*.*
    net stop wuauserv
    net stop CryptSvc
    net stop BITS
    ren %windir%system32catroot2 catroot2.old
    ren %windir%SoftwareDistribution sold.old
    ren "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Downloader" downloader.old
    net Start BITS
    net start CryptSvc
    net start wuauserv
    echo.
    echo Task completed successfully...
    echo.
    PAUSE

  4. Once pasting is done, click File > Save as and name it WUReset.bat. Make sure to set Encoding to ANSI and save the file to any location you want.
  5. Finally, you can right-click on the file, select Run as administrator and enjoy automatic reset of Windows Updates.

7. Use Media Creation Tool

The last solution we have on the line comes down to Media Creation Tool. This is a special Microsoft utility designed to obtain the latest updates inside of various errors. Algorithms of this utility will find relevant updates and install them to your system without touching personal data. In order to do it, follow the steps listed below:

  1. At first, you have to download the utility from the Microsoft website.
  2. Then, execute the downloaded file.
  3. After agreeing with the Terms of use, there will be two options to choose from. Select Upgrade this PC now.
  4. Choose to Keep Personal Files to ensure they will be untouched.
  5. Finally, launch the process and wait until it ends.
  6. Hopefully, this method helped you combat the 0x80070020 error.

Summary

The world of Windows errors is so ubiquitous that it is less likely to ever end. New errors will pop each time there is a minor problem or shift in the operation of Windows. Luckily, the majority of them can be eliminated using basic and easy solutions. You can apply everything we listed in today’s guide to solving other update errors as well if such appear again in the future.

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