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Fix Windows Update Error 0x80073701

Getting error 0x80073701 when updating Windows 10? Here are 5 ways you can fix that

Error 0x80073701 is a common error code that users get when they try updating Windows 10. Error 0x80073701 is ERROR_SXS_ASSEMBLY_MISSING, which means that some system files are missing, causing the update to fail. While error 0x80073701 doesn’t pose a huge security risk, it may prevent you from installing important cumulative updates that include security updates. Therefore, we recommend fixing this error using the solutions provided at the end of this article.

If you go to your Windows Update settings menu, you may see a message saying, “Updates Failed, There were problems installing some updates, but we’ll try again later.” However, even if Windows tries installing the update(s) later, it will fail because its underlying root cause has not been addressed.

Fix Windows Update Error 0x80073701

One of the oldest cases of users getting error 0x80073701 was way back in 2016 with 2016-10 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 (KB3197954 and KB3200970.) But, that won’t be the last time users encounter this error. Many users got this error when installing the 2016-12 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 (KB3206632).

Many users experienced error 0x80073701 back in 2019 when Microsoft released the 2019-07 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1903 (KB4507453). KB4507453 contained essential fixes and improvements. Most importantly, KB4507453 brought fixes for BitLocker encryption and fixed the issue of it going into recovery mode.

Then, in 2020 there have been reports of users getting error 0x80073701 when trying to install 2020-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1909 (KB4541335), which failed to install with error 0x80073701.

However, it wasn’t the end of error 0x80073701 coming up. Many users still encounter 0x80073701 as it occurs due to missing system files. System files might be corrupted or deleted due to various reasons outside of the scope of this article. Each system is used differently: different programs are installed, individual parameters get tampered with, and so on. Therefore, when a new update is released, some users experience error 0x80073701, while others don’t.

Unfortunately, error 0x80073701 is bound to occur from time to time due to a faulty update from Microsoft or, as mentioned earlier, missing system files.

However, the good news is that you can fix error 0x80073701 on your own without purchasing some miracle software program that allegedly does everything for you and makes your PC run like brand new. No, Windows 10 has various built-in tools you can use to resolve the underlying issue causing error 0x80073701.

Table of Contents:

Solution 1. Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

Errors such as 0x80073701 can be solved using the built-in Windows Update Troubleshooter. Windows Update Troubleshooter is designed to troubleshoot Windows Update bugs. As such, it’s an effective tool when trying to fix errors such as error 0x8007370.

Right-click Start and click Settings

1. Right-click the Start button and click Settings.

Select Troubleshoot

2. In the left pane, select Troubleshoot.

Click Additional troubleshooters

3. Then, in the right pane, click Additional troubleshooters.

Select Windows Update and Run the troubleshooter

4. Select Windows Update and click Run the troubleshooter.

5. The troubleshooter should provide fixes and apply them automatically.

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Solution 2. Flush the SoftwareDistribution Folder

To clean the SoftwareDistribution, make sure that the Microsoft Store isn’t running. Reboot your PC to make sure that the Microsoft Store or any other process won’t interfere with applying this fix.

1. Simultaneously hold down Windows+R keys to open Run.

Type in CMD in RUN and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open elevated Command Prompt

2. Then, in the Run dialog box, type in CMD and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open the elevated Command Prompt.

Run the command to clean the SoftwareDistribution folder

3. In the Command prompt window, type in net stop wuauserv and press Enter.

4. Then, type in rd /s /q %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution and press Enter to clear the Update cache folder.

5. Lastly, type in net start wuauserv and press Enter.

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Solution 3. Perform a System File Checker (SFC) Scan

System File Checker or SFC is a built-in command-line tool that helps restore corrupted and missing system files. It downloads and replaces the corrupt and missing files that may be the cause for error 0x80073701.

1. Simultaneously hold down Windows+R keys to open Run.

Type in CMD in RUN and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open elevated Command Prompt

2. Then, in the Run dialog box, type in CMD and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open the elevated Command Prompt.

Type in SFC /Scannow in CMD and hit Enter

3. In the Command Prompt window, type in SFC /Scannow and press Enter.

4. Restart your PC.

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Solution 4. Perform a Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) scan

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management, a.k.a DISM, is a command-line tool designed to service a Windows Image. With this tool, you can fix corrupt system files.

1. Simultaneously hold down Windows+R keys to open Run.

Type in CMD in Run and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open elevated Command Prompt

2. Then, in the Run dialog box, type in CMD and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open the elevated Command Prompt.

Run DISM commands in CMD

3. In the Command Prompt window, type in DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /StartComponentCleanup and press Enter.

4. Type in DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth in the Command Prompt window, and press the Enter key.

5. Then, type in DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and press the Enter key.

6. Restart your PC and try updating Windows.

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Solution 5. Reset Windows Update Components

1. Simultaneously hold down Windows+R keys to open Run.

Type in CMD in Run and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open elevated Command Prompt

2. Type in CMD in the Run dialog box and hold down Ctrl+Shift+Enter keys to open the elevated Command Prompt.

Stop Windows Update services using CMD

3. Type in the commands listed below, and press the Enter key after entering each one:

  • net stop wuauserv
  • net stop cryptSvc
  • net stop bits
  • net stop msiserver

Then, rename the SoftwareDistribution and Catroot2 folders.

4. Type in ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old and press the Enter key.

5. Then, type in ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old and press the Enter key.

Restart Windows Update services using CMD

6. Type in the commands listed below, and press the Enter key after entering each one to restart the previously stopped services:

  • net start wuauserv
  • net start cryptSvc
  • net start bits
  • net start msiserver

7. Try updating windows once you’ve reset the Windows Update components.

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Video Guide on How to Fix Windows Update Error 0x80073701

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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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