How to Fix Error 0x80070020 in Windows

Your Windows update problem solver

The Windows Update Error 0x80070020 is one that most often occurs when you're trying to update your Windows PC. You've done what you're supposed to do and made sure you're running the latest updates, but for some reason Windows just won't let you install them. That can be exceedingly frustrating, but fixing it doesn't have to be.

What is Windows Update Error 0x80070020?

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

Update error

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

What Causes Error 0x80070020?

There are a few things that can go wrong to cause this particular Windows update error, but the most common is other software interfering with the installation process. It might be some overzealous antivirus software, or a piece of malware trying to stop you from running the latest version of Windows.

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

Do You Need to Fix Error 0x80070020?

We would certainly recommend it. While some errors can be ignored, it's imperative for your PC's security that you maintain an updated Windows environment. While you don't need to fix this problem immediately, we wouldn't leave it 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 what the problem is, but there are some relatively simple steps you can take that should clear it up soon enough.

When you've completed each potential fix, try to run Windows update again and see if the error still appears. If it doesn't, congratulations, you've fixed the problem. If it does, move on to the next possible fix.

These methods work in both Windows 8 and 7 as well, but the steps for achieving them might be slightly different.

  1. Run Antivirus: If a nefarious piece of software is blocking the installation of your latest Windows update, a proper antivirus scan should be able to find it and fix it. It may be doing so in an attempt to stop you from downloading security fixes that could compromise its nefarious operation, or it could be a generically disruptive virus wants to prevent you from improving your system security. Either way, if a virus is involved in stopping you update your system, a virus scan should fix it.

    If this doesn't fix the problem, consider running a full system scan from safe mode to guarantee you've searched every nook and cranny for problematic software.

    If you don't have a decent antivirus solution yet, now's a great time to get one. Windows Defender is a good all-round security tool, but it works best when backed up by a strong antivirus or anti-malware solution.

  2. Disable your antivirus: This is advisable only as a temporary measure, as it could leave your system vulnerable, but antivirus can sometimes get a little overzealous when it comes to protecting your system. If, for some reason, it's incorrectly identified the Windows Update process, or the particular update you're trying to download, as something malicious, disabling your antivirus can fix that.

    If you're using another antivirus service, check their 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, remember to re-enable your antivirus before continuing.

  3. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter: Modern versions of Windows have a number of different troubleshooting tools which are far more effective than their aged counterparts in older Microsoft operating systems. Try running the Windows Update Troubleshooter if you run into this error. It might not fix every issue, but even when it doesn't, it may be able to point you in the right direction for how to fix it yourself.

  4. Reset Windows Update Services: It's possible that an element, or number of elements, from the Windows Update Service have acted up for some reason and that one or other of those is preventing your update from completing. The best way to make sure that's not the case (at least anymore) is to restart them.

    Although originally written for Windows 7 and 8.1, these instructions for resetting Windows Update services work just as well for Windows 10, and will help you get the these services running right again.

  5. Restart Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS): Windows's BITS has a big part to play in delivering updates to your system, so if it stops working, the 0x80070020 error can appear.

Microsoft has a script you can run which will do it for you, although its guide also has detailed steps on how to do so manually, if you prefer.