Friday, March 30, 2012

Windows Update Failing with Error 80243004

The Problem
I have 8 computers that due to the software they have on them I must some and update them manually once a month. Upon doing this I had three that failed with the error to the right. The Screen sat with the status "Preparing to Install" for quite a long time then all of them failed with the error 80243004.
I had one of the computers "Try again" with no avail it just failed again. After doing that I ran around the Internet searching for a solution. I found the following thread on Technet and in it my solution here.

The Solution
The solution is strange. It has to do with the notification area of the taskbar. See by default the notification area in Windows 7 and Server 2008 hide most of the notification icons in an area found by clicking on the skyward pointing white arrow shown to the right. Well if you look at this area after this error you will see the notification area is huge with tons of blank spaces. If you are seeing this then the solution to your update problem follows below.
Right-click on some blank space on the taskbar and select "Properties" about half-way down the screen you will see a button that says "Customize...", click it. On the next screen you will see the option displayed in the picture below: "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar", place a check by it and click "OK" to close out that window and do it again for the notification properties window as well.

 It will then display all of the notifications now in the taskbar as you see in the picture below. Go ahead and have Windows Update "Try Again" now. It should complete successfully. After that you can revert your notification area back by going back and unchecking the setting you see in the picture above.

You should now be good to go. After checking the Windows Update Log located at C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.lob I found the following error lines:

Can not perform non-interactive scan if AU is interactive-only
AU setting pending client directive to 'Install Complete Ux'
WARNING: Pending directive, 'Install Complete Ux', is not applicable
Successfully wrote event for AU health state:0

Now I was installing these updates under a standard user account and I know from UAC group policy a standard user is also referred to as "interactive-only" in some policies. I don't know if it was trying to display something to me and choked, hopefully Microsoft finds out. Either way thanks to all in that thread who discovered this wierd fix.

I found that changing this setting while Windows Update is displaying "Preparing to Install" seems to actually kick start it so if the above solution doesn't work for you try checking or unchecking that setting and mousing over the notification area while windows update is displaying "Preparing to Install."