Potential errors in the Windows update database – Part 1

[German]Sometimes Windows 10 users run into errors during update installation. And the Windows troubleshooter then reports errors in the Windows Update database that can’t be fixed. Usually this ends up in a new installation or an in-place upgrade of Windows 10. Are there potential errors in the Windows Update database that could cause this issues? In two parts the problem is analyzed – and it is shown how to probably get around a new installation or an in-place upgrade by a repair.


German blog reader Andi O. had already pointed out the observation to me some time ago and sent me a compressed text about the facts of the case. I will just compiled it into an article I release here. At this point my thanks to Andi for the extensive tests – and sorry that it took a few days to prepare the text.

Error in Windows Update database

Blog reader Andi already had issues with Windows Update at Windows 10 version 1803. When running the Windows Update troubleshooter, it was always reported that there were potential errors in the Windows Update database. It was recommended that Windows Update should be repaired.

Unsuccessful attempt to repair

If something like this happens, the user naturally tries to carry out such a repair. Andi writes that he tried everything he found on the Internet in this case.

  • This started with batch instructions, which can be downloaded under #6 from A. Reilland in this German forum.
  • Also two tools au_check_v78f and winUpdRestore!v28 were tested without success. Both tools where provided in ancient days by German MS Answers forum moderators, who developed the solution many years ago, but later got fired, because Microsoft found cheaper supporters going eastward. The download if these tools is possible under #13 on German site Dr. Windows.

But according to Andi in his feedback, nothing helped. The only approach that helped him was an in-place upgrade repair. To do this, one simply reinstalls Windows in a running Windows, which results in a reinstallation of all Windows system files, without losing data and programs or apps.

Researched again

Sometime later a feature upgrade to Windows 10 version 1903 arrived. Andi wrote, that he had already put the above research to rest and, according to his own statement, would not have bothered with them anymore. But then he came across this post while researching Windows 10 Help. There, my MVP colleague André da Costa describes five ways to fix Windows Update problems and repair Windows Update. The in-place upgrade that helped with Andi is also included. Andi asked himself whether this was one of the possibilities for the solution he was looking for?


A new investigation and new tests

To answer the above question, he had to go back to Windows 10 version 1803 and test. So he did a downgrade to this Windows 10 build. This can also be done via in-place upgrade by installing an image of Windows 10 version 1803 under the running Windows 10 version 1903.

The only difference is that when you ask what you want to keep, you have to answer the lowest point “Nothing. Everything will be deleted, e.g. files, apps and settings”.

Of course, this means that data and apps/programs as well as settings on the system drive will be lost. Since Andi only had Windows installed anyway, but no applications, this was no problem. He also had a backup available in case of an emergency.

At this point some comments from Andi and from me. After reinstalling Windows 10 version 1803 Andi used used wushowhide to disable the feature upgrade to version 1909. That worked so far.

Andy  actually wanted to take the most recent one of 1803 as an example. But Windows Update decided to use the 17134.1345. The he tried the Windows Update catalog. With the download of the KB’s for the feature update, there was no problem. But the installation failed. Although he chooses the 64 bit version, both KB’s , KB4540689 (17134.1365) and KB4541333 (17134.1399) , gave an error message: “The update is not suitable for your computer.” Therefore you have to be content with 17134.1345.

Windows Update again has errors

Immediately after downgrade, Andi checked the Windows update database in Windows 10 version 1803 for potential errors. Andi assumed that the errors in the Windows Update database could be caused by an incorrect installation of updates.

    • To do this, he navigated to Programs and Features in the Control Panel and then to the Show Installed Updates section.

Then he uninstalled the individual Updates and used Windows Update to have the updates reinstalled again and performed the troubleshooting.

The conclusion of this approach: He wasn’t successful to found something. No errors were reported from the Windows Update database.

New idea: Are drivers to blame?

Then it occurred to him that it might be related to updated Windows drivers, although he had no idea what drivers should have to do with the update database.

  • So in a further step, he uninstalled the third-party drivers one by one.
  • Immediately after uninstalling a driver, he let em re-installing via Windows Update (without rebooting in between these steps).

After each step, troubleshooting was performed to identify any errors in Windows Update. Andi writes: ‘I was lucky. Errors were displayed this time’. After clicking on Show detailed information, the following diagnostic information was suddenly displayed.

All screenshots here a kept in German, but I guess, it needs not too much phantasy to map it to other languages.

Fehler in der Windows-Update-Datenbank

The above dialog box reports an error, but does not provide an indication of the exact cause. Instead it lists fixed errors and an unfixed issue in the Windows Update database. Since he uninstalled and then installed individual drivers, he knew which driver was involved. The cause was this time the Intel Bluetooth driver.

Traces in the Event Viewer

herefore he called the Windows Event Viewer. This can be done, depending on the Windows version, in the search field of the Start menu or the task bar, via the entry ‘Event’ and the hit event viewer. The following entry was found in the Event Viewer:

Installationsfehler in der Ereignisanzeige

The update error 0x8024CE16 was reported. Andi writes that he executed the troubleshooter several times. During each run, the troubleshooter reported that errors have been fixed, but that wasn’t the case. The conclusion is that nothing was fixed at all.

Do the old troubleshooting tips help?

So, after Andi was able to provoke the bug in the update database, he next worked through the five tips from André da Costa linked above. All these tips proved to be unhelpful, except for the radical method ‘Windows repair as in-place upgrade’, which has been mentioned already several times in the above text.

Andi then took another look at the Event Viewer. He noticed an inconsistency in the Bluetooth driver mentioned above. In the Event Viewer there was the error message from the above picture. According to Andi, Windows Device Manager reports everything was fine in contradiction.

Eintrag im Geräte-Manager

Since he is not using Bluetooth, he cannot confirm the message that everything is okay. But if this were the case and Bluetooth was working properly, Andi would close, then the message in the event display would be a misdiagnosis.

A suspicion: incorrect diagnosis in the update database

At this point, the suspicion arose that the Events might be involved and that the troubleshooter might not be able to handle that. So it would be something like a classic false diagnosis. This suspicion will be investigated in part 2.

Article series:
Potential errors in the Windows update database – Part 1
Potential errors in the Windows update database – Part 2

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