How to Fix Error 0x80070020 in Windows

Your Windows update problem solver

The Windows Update Error 0x80070020 most often occurs when you update a Windows PC. You've done what you're supposed to do and made sure the computer has the latest updates. However, for some reason, Windows won't install the updates. That can be frustrating, but fixing it doesn't have to be.

What is Windows Update Error 0x80070020?

The 0x80070020 error appears when you download, and sometimes when you install, the latest Windows update. This error can be in Windows 10, or earlier versions like Windows 8 or Windows 7. Although, it's commonly experienced in the latest version of the Microsoft operating system.

Update error

It's effectively Windows' way of telling you the update either failed to install or didn't install correctly, and it needs some help to get over that hiccup.

What Causes Error 0x80070020?

A few things can go wrong to cause this particular Windows update error. The most common is other software interfering with the installation process. It might be some antivirus software or a piece of malware that stops you from running the latest Windows version.

Ultimately, the cause of the problem doesn't matter too much, as diagnosing the issue involves trying various fixes. It's better to focus on the solution with this error, rather than the problem.

Do You Need to Fix Error 0x80070020?

While some errors can be ignored, it's imperative for a PC's security that you maintain an updated Windows environment. While you don't need to fix this problem immediately, don't leave it for more than a couple of weeks. Otherwise, you risk being made vulnerable to new exploits and hacks.

How to Fix Windows Update Error 0x80070020 in Windows 10

It can take a little time to nail down the problem, but there are some simple steps you can take that should clear it up soon enough.

After you complete each potential fix, run Windows update again and see if the error appears. If it doesn't, you fixed the problem. If it does, move on to the next possible fix.

These methods work in Windows 8 and 7 as well. However, the steps for fixing the error might be slightly different.

  1. Run an antivirus scan. If a piece of software blocks the installation of the latest Windows update, a proper antivirus scan should find it and fix it. It may be doing so to stop you from downloading security fixes that could compromise its operation. It could also be a generically disruptive virus that prevents you from improving your system security. Either way, if a virus stops you from updating the computer, a virus scan should fix it.

    If this doesn't fix the problem, run a full system scan from safe mode to search every nook and cranny for problematic software.

    If you don't have an antivirus solution, Windows Defender is a good all-round security tool. It works best when backed up by a strong antivirus or anti-malware solution.

  2. Disable antivirus software. This step is advisable only as a temporary measure, as it could leave your system vulnerable. Antivirus programs can be overzealous when it comes to protecting a system. If, for some reason, it incorrectly identified the Windows Update process, or the particular update you downloaded, as malicious, disabling the antivirus program can fix that.

    If you use another antivirus service, check its official site to see if there's a guide on how to do it. Alternatively, check the taskbar. There's a good chance you can select its icon and disable the service temporarily there.

    Whether Windows update works after this fix or not, re-enable the antivirus software before continuing.

  3. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter. Modern versions of Windows have several troubleshooting tools that are more effective than their counterparts in older Microsoft operating systems. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter if you encounter this error. It might not fix every issue, but when it doesn't, it may point you in the right direction for how to fix it yourself.

  4. Reset Windows Update Services. Sometimes an element, or several elements, from Windows Update Services act up for some reason, and one or the other prevents the update from completing. The best way to make sure that's not the case is to restart those services.

    Although originally written for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, the instructions for resetting Windows Update Services work for Windows 10 and will help you get these services running correctly.

  5. Restart Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). Windows BITS plays a big part in delivering updates to a system. If it stops working, the 0x80070020 error can appear.

    Microsoft provides a script you can run which does it for you, although its guide also has detailed steps on how to do this manually.