Error Code 0x800f081f: What It Is and How to Fix It

Having trouble installing legacy software? Here's how to fix it.

A woman getting a headache from her computer

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Error code 0x800f081f is difficult to understand just from the warnings. Fortunately, once you grasp what it actually is, it's relatively simple to fix. Here's what you should know about 0x800f081f.

What Is Error Code 0x800f081f?

This error code is an incompatibility with Microsoft's .NET Framework. In layman's terms, the .NET framework is sort of an interpreter between the various software you download and Windows. It allows software written in a variety of languages and older software that may not use certain code to interact with Windows systems.

This error code, and error codes 0x800F0906, 0x800F0907, and 0x800F0922, all basically mean, “.NET doesn't understand what this software is saying.”

Each have a different reason, but with 0x800f081f, the most common error, it means .NET couldn't find the necessary files, called “binaries,” to translate and run the program. You can also get each of these error codes in sequence in certain situations, or resolving one will lead to the other.

It can also be due to the fact that your current account doesn't have permission to read these binaries, or the files you're trying to install are somehow corrupt, incompatible, or invalid.

0x800F0906 is usually directly related to Windows Update, and means you've requested files that Windows simply cannot find. This can be resolved by using a different installation medium, such as a USB stick or DVD, instead of trying to download the files from the internet. If your computer is configured to not accept software payloads from an external source, you'll likely see error 0x800F0907.

0x800F0922 is likely the rarest error you'll run into. It means there's not enough room on your hard drive's Windows partition to download an update, or that your computer can't connect to Windows servers. If you get both 0x800f081f and 0x800f0922 in quick succession, the solution is to remove files from your hard drive and expand your partition.

Refurbished Computers and Error Code 0x800f081f

There's a particular issue with error code ox800f081f when it comes to "refurbished" devices. In theory, a refurbished device is completely wiped of all data, installed with a new operating system, and gone through repairs.

However, some "refurbishers" will simply clean the casing of the device, wipe any sensitive information from the hard drive without changing the operating system, and sell it as "refurbished." In the case of devices formerly used by businesses, this will put you at particular risk of this error code.

Businesses with a large number of Windows devices will generally administer those with what's called a "group policy." Think of it as a set of digital marching orders issued to every computer from a "central command," usually the IT department's server.

Among other things, group policies are used to prevent the installation of software like video games, to keep employees from installing software from external devices, and to prevent the removal of work-related programs. An improperly refurbished device may still be abiding by this group policy.

Some signs of a poorly refurbished device to look for:

  • A full Recycle Bin when you first boot up the device.
  • Unusual software on the hard drive you didn't install.
  • Software launching immediately when the computer boots up, even though you didn't set it to do so.
  • Errors reporting an inability to reach servers.

The solution, fortunately, is simple: Wipe the hard drive and install a new version of Windows or another operating system. In some cases, if the group policy is particularly strict, you may need to remove the hard drive and replace it.

How to Fix Error Code 0x800f081f In Windows 10 Home

If your device is new, or you know it's never been under a Group Policy, follow these steps instead.

  1. Log into an administrator account on your device, if you haven't already done so. Attempt to run the software again while logged in as an administrator. You may get a different error informing you that you need to update to a specific version of .NET.

  2. See if there is any more current version of the software you're trying to run. More recent versions should be compatible, although you should ask the developer about any issues before you buy.

    Also consider looking for different software that does the same job. For example, if you're using older photo editing software, consider switching to a free or web-based version.

  3. Go to Settings > Updates and Security and run any available updates under Windows Update. If there aren't any available, select Check For Updates.

  4. Download and install the latest version of Microsoft .NET.

  5. Replace the software. There are two scenarios where the above fixes don't work. One, the software is so out-of-date there's simply no reason to write a .NET library for it, or it's so obscure one hasn't been written yet. In either case, you should, if possible, replace the software.