Windows Update Error 0x80070020

How To Fix Windows Update Error 0x80070020 That Prevents Windows From Installing Updates

Windows Update is a service for computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. The main purpose of Windows Update is to keep Microsoft Windows, Microsoft programs, and most hardware drivers updated. These updates usually come in patches or service packs and include the latest security updates and feature enhancements. The Windows Operating system updates itself automatically and so users do not usually have to be concerned about not receiving the latest updates. Sometimes, however, the update process can be problematic and a number of different errors can occur.

You may have encountered Windows Update Error 0x80070020, which occurs while you are trying to perform a Windows update and install the downloaded updates. This error can occur if a program is interfering with the update process, or in some cases can be caused by antivirus programs that use real-time scanning. There might also be system file or disk errors.

To fix this error, you might need to run the built-in Windows Update troubleshooter, perform a DISM scan and run the System File Checker, temporarily disable your antivirus software, restart Windows services, perform a clean boot, and check the disk for errors. These methods are straightforward if you follow the steps below to resolve Windows Update Error 0x80070020.

windows update error 0x80070020

Table of Contents:

Run Windows Update And BITS Troubleshooters

First, we recommend that you use one of the Windows troubleshooters, which might solve this problem without the need to use more complex solutions. Windows includes a number of troubleshooters designed to quickly diagnose and automatically resolve various computer problems. Troubleshooters cannot fix all problems, but they are a good place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer, operating system or connected devices. In this guide, we show how to run the Windows Update troubleshooter. To start troubleshooting, go to Settings and type "troubleshoot", and then select "Troubleshoot" from the list.

run windows update and bits troubleshooters step 1

Now find the Windows Update troubleshooter under "Troubleshoot" and select it. Click the "Run the troubleshooter" button and Windows will start resolving problems that prevent you from properly updating the Windows operating system. Check if this troubleshooter is able to fix Windows Update Error 0x80070020.

run windows update and bits troubleshooters step 2

Additionally, we recommend that you to run the BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) troubleshooter. Its main purpose is to find and fix problems that might prevent background downloads from working. You can see that there is no such option in the troubleshooters list. To find the Background Intelligent Transfer Service troubleshooter, go to Control Panel and click the "Troubleshooting" option.

run windows update and bits troubleshooters step 3

Now click the "View all" option in the left pane.

run windows update and bits troubleshooters step 4

Background Intelligent Transfer Service should be the first on the list - right-click it and select the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu. Try to update Windows now and check if the Windows Update Error 0x80070020 persists.

run windows update and bits troubleshooters step 5

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Restart Windows Update Components

In this guide, we show how to stop Windows services such as the Windows Update service, Cryptographic services, Background Intelligent Transfer service, and Windows Installer service using Command Prompt commands. These services are related to Windows Update, the service that enables the detection, download, and installation of updates for Windows and other programs. Cryptographic services provides management services: Catalog Database Service, which confirms the signatures of Windows files and allows new programs to be installed; Protected Root Service, which adds and removes Trusted Root Certification Authority certificates from the computer; Automatic Root Certificate Update Service, which retrieves root certificates from Windows Update and enables scenarios such as SSL. BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) transfers files in the background using idle network bandwidth. The Windows Installer service adds, modifies and removes applications provided as a Windows Installer package. To restart (stop and start) these services and to rename the SoftwareDistribution and Catroot2 folders (these steps are also required to apply this method), you will need to open an elevated Command Prompt. Type "command prompt" in Search and right-click the "Command Prompt" result, and then select the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

restart windows update components step 1

Now type these commands and press Enter after each:

net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver
ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver

restart windows update components step 2

Exit Command Prompt, restart your computer and try to install Windows updates again, see if the Windows Update error 0x80070020 is now fixed.

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Temporarily Disable Your Antivirus

As mentioned in the introduction, it is possible that installed antivirus software is interfering with Windows Update and causing the Windows Update error 0x80070020. To ensure that installed third-party antivirus software is not the cause of this problem, we recommend that you temporarily disable it, and then try to update Windows and check if the problem persists. If disabling (or uninstalling) the antivirus software helps, we recommend that you switch to another antivirus suite or reinstall the currently-installed software. If you are not sure how to disable your antivirus software, read this guide where you will find instructions on how to disable some of the most popular antivirus programs.

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Run a DISM Scan And System File Checker

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is used to repair and prepare Windows images, including the Windows Recovery Environment, Windows Setup, and Windows PE. To run a DISM scan, open Command Prompt as administrator. Type the "DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth" command and press Enter.

run dism scan and system file checker step 1

When the DISM scan is complete, run System File Checker, a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore them. This guide describes how to run System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to scan your system files and to repair missing or corrupted ones. The "sfc scannow" option is one of several specific switches available with the sfc command. To execute this command, type "sfc /scannow" in Command Prompt and press Enter. System File Checker will start, and should take some time to complete the scan (about 15 minutes). Wait for the scanning process to complete and check if Windows Update error 0x80070020 persists while you trying to update Windows.

run dism scan and system file checker step 2

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Check Your Disk For Errors

There is a built-in tool in Windows tool to check the integrity of disks. It examines disks and corrects many types of common errors. You can run this tool from the command line or through a graphical interface. In this guide, we show how to run it through Command Prompt. Open Command Prompt as administrator, type the "chkdsk C: /f" command, and press Enter on your keyboard. Replace "C" with the letter of your hard drive (if it is not the C: drive you want to scan, or the Windows operating system is on another drive). The "chkdsk C: /f" command detects and repairs logical issues affecting your drive. To repair physical issues, also run the "chkdsk C: /r" command. You can run both commands at once by typing "chkdsk C: /f /r" Windows will need to restart your computer to finish the scan. Restart your computer, let Windows finish checking for errors, and then check if Windows Update error 0x80070020 persists while your are trying to update Windows.

check your disk for errors

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Perform A Clean Boot

When you start Windows using a normal startup operation, several applications and services start automatically, and then run in the background. These programs include basic system processes, antivirus software, system utility applications, and other software that has been previously installed. These applications and services can cause software conflicts. A clean boot is performed to start Windows using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This helps eliminate software conflicts that occur when you install a program or an update. It is possible that installed third-party software is interfering with Windows Update and preventing Windows from updating. Performing a clean boot will help you see if this is the case (if installed software is interrupting the update process). To perform a clean boot, type "system configuration" in Search and click the "System Configuration" result.

perform a clean boot step 1

In the System Configuration window, click on the "Services" tab and then mark the "Hide all Microsoft services" checkbox. Then, click on "Disable all".

perform a clean boot step 2

Click the "Startup" tab and click "Open Task Manager".

perform a clean boot step 3

Under the Task Manager Startup tab, select the first enabled application and click "Disable" to disable it. Disable all enabled applications one by one. Once all programs are disabled, close Task Manager and click "OK" in the System Configuration Startup tab. Restart your computer and try to update Windows again. If Windows Update error 0x80070020 does not occur when in a clean boot state, then you will know that one of the programs was causing the problem.

perform a clean boot step 4

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Remove SoftwareDistribution Folder Contents

The Software Distribution folder is a temporary folder in which Windows stores the update files until they are completely downloaded. Then, Windows starts the update process. Removing SoftwareDistribution folder contents might solve the problem and fix Windows Update error 0x80070020. You can find this folder by following this path: "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution". Select all of the contents, right-click them, and select "Delete" from the contextual menu.

remove softwaredistribution folder contents step 1

You will also need to delete the %temp% folder's contents. Type "%temp%" in Search and click the %temp% result. You will be directed to the Temp folder where all temporary files and folders are stored. Delete them as well, and then try to update Windows once more.

remove temp folder contents

We hope that after applying these methods you were able to fix Windows Update error 0x80070020 and install Windows updates without problems. If you know of other solutions to this problem, not mentioned in our guide, please share them with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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