Windows 10: Update KB5005033 fails with error 0x800F0988, blame May 2021 SSU?

Windows[German]Cumulative update KB5005033, released on the August 2021 patchda,y for Windows 10 version 2004, 20H2 and 21H1 is also supposed to fix the PrintNightmare vulnerabilities in Point and Print. A blog reader who manages a number of clients in a business environment informed me a few days ago that some of his Windows 10 clients are refusing to install with error code 0x800F0988. He strongly suspects that the problem, which have been going on for some time, are related to the May 2021 SSU integration. Let me pull together his findings in a blog post.


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Cumulative update KB5005033 has been available since August 10 for Windows 10 version 2004, 20H2 and 21H1 (see Patchday: Windows 10 updates (August 10, 2021)).

Update fails with error 0x800F0988

Blog reader Markus K. pointed out an unpleasant observation to me at the end of August 2021. His updates on the clients fail with the error code 0x800F0988. Markus writes that about 5% of the clients cannot install the update KB5005033 and according to cbs.log abort with the following error:.

Line 357452: 2021-08-31 07:46:57, Error CBS Exec: Failed to pre-stage package: Microsoft-Windows-Enterprise-Desktop-Shared-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~de-DE~10.0.19041.1151, component identity: amd64_microsoft-windows-i..etexplorer-optional_31bf3856ad364e35_11.0.19041.906_none_ba92fe9535e92f0c, file: iexplore.exe,  sandbox: \\?\C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\d824584bd4f35f2e441877acbab6d2ce\_Windows10.0-KB5005033-x64.cab_\, file format: 0 [HRESULT = 0x800f0988 - PSFX_E_INVALID_DELTA_COMBINATION]
Line 357456: 2021-08-31 07:46:57, Error CBS Failed to pre- stage package: Package_for_ServicingStack~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~19041.1161.1.1 [HRESULT = 0x800f0988 - PSFX_E_INVALID_DELTA_COMBINATION]
Line 357462: 2021-08-31 07:46:57, Error CBS Failed to process single phase execution. [HRESULT = 0x800f0988 - PSFX_E_INVALID_DELTA_COMBINATION]

Inspection of the update package with DISM results in an optional package for Internet Explorer being listed as Not Present by Dism.

Dism packet inspection
Click to zoom

This error code stands for PSFX_E_INVALID_DELTA_COMBINATION, which I covered in the blog post Windows 10: KB4551762 causes error 0x800f0988/0x800f0900. Microsoft suggests for error code 0x800f0988 in this support post deleting the startup components via dism command:


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dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup

Markus wrote that the original dism checkhealth/restorehealth does not help. Since May 2021 he gets the error PSFX_E_INVALID_DELTA_COMBINATION. He suspected that this could also be a result of the SSU integration snafu in the May 2021 cumulative updates.

Microsoft's support article KB5005322

In a follow-up, Markus then wrote me that he suspects the issue is also the one described in MS support post KB5005322. I had addressed the issue in the blog postWindows 10: Update KB5005932 fixes install error 0x800F0984. The solution is to perform a repair installation via Inplace Upgrade, and a helper update is supposed to enable this repair. Even though the above error code differs, the guess as to the cause of the error addressed above may be correct. Markus writes on this topic:

Nevertheless, we can't just wildly upgrade here! You can just leave the deployment and the AD and tell the people to buy what they want.

It's disturbing that Microsoft can't offer any other solution than upgrading. You could almost get the idea that Microsoft doesn't know how to fix their own product, which they even broke themselves.

It is also very alarming that the task "StartComponentCleanup" is still set to "Ready" and can make the OS unpatchable at any time. The question remains how to heal the currently almost 400 machines, because all options on the table are currently anything but usable.

Any of you affected? If so, is there a solution to fix more than one client in an enterprise environment without doing an in-place upgrade to fix it?

Similar articles:
Patchday: Windows 10 updates (August 10, 2021)
Windows 10: KB4551762 causes error 0x800f0988/0x800f0900
Windows 10: Update KB5005932 fixes install error 0x800F0984
Windows 10 Update KB5005033 bricks Alt-Tab functionality


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3 Responses to Windows 10: Update KB5005033 fails with error 0x800F0988, blame May 2021 SSU?

  1. Yanta says:

    Our systems are on 1809 LTSC. is this affected? KB5005030?

    The solution seems to be do not install the August CU. Then does that mean that we can't install future CUs?

    We can't do repair installs. Our systems are heavily customized and hardened. A repair install would blow all of that away. And we're certainly not going to upgrade.

    What do you recommend?

    • guenni says:

      Do you have this error code? AFAIK the SSUs hasn't been integrated in version 1809 in May – I mean, it's integrated in August 2021 in version 1909 and probably 1809. Then it might be another case, it this error code occurs.

      Within my German blog post, I received two comments, how to fix that issue.

      Try dism with the following command:

      dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /source:\\PC\c$\Windows\winsxs /limitaccess

      where /source points to a source computer within the network, that hasn't been updated / modified.

      And I got the feedback from another user, who gets error 0x800f0986 when installing update KB5005030 and the progress bar is reaching 100%. Affected: Windows Server version 1909 (and 1809). Another reader proposed the following workaround:

      1. Download the cumulative update

      2. Unpack the update package with:

      expand -f:* windows10.0-kbnummer.msu

      3: End trusted installer (TI) in task manager with:

      taskkill /f /im trustedinstaller.exe

      4. Then try to install the packages using commands like:

      dism /online /add-package /packagepath:c:\temp\Windows10.0-kbnumber-x64.cab

      where Windows10.0-kbnumber-x64.cab is the name of the cab file to be installed.

      Maybe it helps to overcome such issues.

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