Potential Windows Update Database error detected

How to fix "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" error

Windows Update is a free service provided by Microsoft that allows Windows users to receive the latest security updates, drivers, feature enhancements, bug fixes, and other updates. The service keeps Microsoft Windows operating systems and some other Microsoft products updated. All Windows operating systems since Windows 98 can use Windows Update. The only requirement is a working operating system and an internet connection.

Keeping Windows up-to-date is important, especially if you want to stay protected by having the latest security improvements. Despite this, the update process can sometimes be problematic with various errors preventing the update. For example, you may have encountered the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" error during the Windows Update process in Windows 10. This error usually occurs when users are running the Windows Update troubleshooter with corrupted system files, or Windows update cannot access the C:\Windows folder. This error does not provide further details as to the cause of the error and actions that should be taken. Fortunately, there are several ways to fix this problem.

To fix "Potential Windows Update Database error detected", you might need to run the DISM tool and System File Checker, reset Windows Update components, or run the Windows Update troubleshooter. Follow the steps in the guide below for a solution to this problem.

Potential Windows update database error detected

Table of Contents:

Run DISM tool

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 by typing "command prompt" in Search and right-click the "Command Prompt" result. Then select the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

run dism tool step 1

In Command Prompt, type the "DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth" command and press Enter. This command should be able to repair corrupted Windows Update Files.

run dism tool step 2

If this does not solve the problem and you need to repair corrupted Windows Update System Files, execute this command: "DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess"

run dism tool step 3

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Run System File Checker

System File Checker is a Windows utility that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore them. This guide describes how to run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to scan your system files and to repair any missing or corrupted entries. 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 the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" persists.

run system file checker

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Run Windows Update troubleshooter

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. If you encountered the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected", running the Windows Update troubleshooter could solve the problem. To find this troubleshooter, go to Control Panel by typing "control panel" in Search and click the "Troubleshooting" option.

run windows update troubleshooter step 1

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

run windows update troubleshooter step 2

Find the Windows Update troubleshooter at the end of the list, right-click it and select "Run as administrator". Follow the instructions and check if this fixes the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" error.

run windows update troubleshooter step 3

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Reset Windows Update components

If none of the above methods work, you could try to run commands in Command Prompt and then check if the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" error is resolved. This method includes fixing the error by resetting some Windows Update components. This includes stopping certain services, renaming folders, and then restarting those services. Open Command Prompt as administrator and type the commands below one-by-one. Press Enter on the keyboard after each command.

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

Close Command Prompt and check if the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" error is now fixed.

reset windows update components

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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, including the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" error. 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 update, or when you run a program in Windows. To perform a clean boot, type "system configuration" in Search and click on 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 33

Under the Task Manager Startup tab, select all enabled applications one-by-one and click "Disable". Once all programs are disabled, close Task Manager and click "OK" in the System Configuration Startup tab. Restart the computer and check if the "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" persist while you are trying to troubleshoot Windows Update or update Windows.

perform a clean boot step 4

We hope that one of the above methods solved the problem and you are now able to update Windows or troubleshoot problems relating to Windows Update without issues. 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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Video showing how to fix "Potential Windows Update Database error detected" error:

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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 pcrisk.com 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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