How to Fix Windows Update Error 0x80070020?

by Julie Splinters - -


Issue: How to Fix Windows Update Error 0x80070020?

Hello. I am using Windows 10, and I have automatic updates switched off. Previously I had Windows stuck in an eternal reboot loop, so I decided not to have updates setting set on automatic. Nevertheless, I am now having problems with the update installation. As soon as I try to update Windows 10 to the latest version, I receive a message “Windows could not search for new updates. Code 0x80070020.” I did not have any problems updating Windows manually before, but now I don't know what to do. Can you please help me to solve this issue?

Solved Answer

Windows patch day[1] is quite exciting news for everyone – software developers who patiently wait if everything functions correctly when it goes live; as well as for users who are enthusiastic about the new features and capabilities the new patch brings.

Unfortunately, looking back at the history of Windows updates, we could not find a patch that would not have some kind of installation issues. There are three typical Windows Updates installation problems:

  • The new version or update does not download;
  • The new version of the OS or its update is downloaded completely, but cannot be installed;
  • The new OS version or its update is successfully downloaded and installed but is immediately rejected, and the system rolls back to the previous condition.

Have you ever encountered any of these problems? You probably did. Each instance of Windows Update failure is marked with an error code, which purpose is to help people find out more about the error, its culprit, and fixes. 

Windows Update Error 0x80070020 fix

One such Windows 10 Update Errors is 0x80070020. It has first been reported in 2015 when the new Windows version, Windows 10, has been released. Microsoft has patched the issue successfully, and it did not reoccur up till now. The message states the following:

Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Error(s) found:
Code 0x80070020 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

Unfortunately, Windows 10 Creators Update[2] revived 0x80070020 error, and many people now are waiting for the fixes. The biggest problem is that there is no single trigger that could have influenced the emergence of this bug. Now, it might be related to third-party antivirus, Windows Update service (specifically BITS[3] in this case) or even malware. Thus, to fix the 0x80070020 error, you may need to try several methods.

Solution 1. Uninstall third-party antivirus program

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Windows Update bugs are commonly triggered by third-party anti-virus software that may be conflicting with some Windows Update components and, therefore, blocking their download/install. If you want to get rid of the third-party security software, follow these steps (if you want a quicker solution, you can use Perfect Uninstaller):

  • Press Ctrl+ Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Task Manager
  • Locate third-party security software and select End task
  • Type in Apps & Features into the search box located in the taskbar
  • From the list, pick anti-virus software, and click Uninstall
  • Reboot your PC

Solution 2. Restart BITS service

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According to Windows experts, 0x80070020 error is usually related to the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), which is responsible for delivering and preparing Windows updates. It the process stops or gets corrupt due to recent system changes or, for example, malware, you should restart BITS.

  • Press Windows key + R, type services.msc, and press OK
  • Locate the Background Intelligent Transfer Service and right-click it
  • Select Properties and open General tab
  • Find Startup Type and select Automatic
  • If the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) process is not running, right-click it and select Start
  • Confirm the changes and close Services windowWindows Update Error 0x80070020 - restart BITS

Solution 3. Reset Windows Update components

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For most of Windows 10 users, restarting BITS service helped to fix 0x80070020 error. If, however, that did not help, we would recommend resetting all Windows Update components. That’s a quite complicated task, but the instructions provided in this post carefully will guide you to the right direction.Windows Update Error 0x80070020 - reset Windows updates components

Solution 4. Run System File Checker

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System File Checker is a scanner that is built-in Windows operating system by default. To run it, you need to open Command Prompt as Administrator:

  • Type in Command Prompt into the search box
  • Locate the program, right-click and select Run as administrator
  • User account control will show up. Click Yes
  • When Command Prompt window opens, type in sfc /scannow and hit Enter
  • Let the scanner run – it will repair all found issues automatically

Solution 5. Run an inbuilt Windows Update Troubleshooter

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Windows Troubleshooter is an excellent built-in tool that is capable of detecting and fixing various Windows issues. Follow these simple steps to run it:

  • Right-click on Start button and select Settings
  • Type Troubleshoot into the search box
  • In the Troubleshoot window, select Windows Update and click Run the troubleshooter
  • Let the troubleshooter run. If any issues are found, Windows will attempt to repair them automatically Error 0x80070020 - Run Updates troubleshooter

Solution 6. Scan the system for malware

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If none of the fixes helped, the last thing you should try is to check the system for malware.[4] It might be that a malicious program is hiding in the depth of the operating system and causing its malfunctions. To verify system’s condition, we would highly recommend using Reimage.

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Private Internet Access is a VPN that can prevent your Internet Service Provider, the government, and third-parties from tracking your online and allow you to stay completely anonymous. The software provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, ensuring optimal performance and not slowing you down. You can also bypass geo-restrictions and view such services as Netflix, BBC, Disney+, and other popular streaming services without limitations, regardless of where you are.

A VPN is also crucial when it comes to user privacy. Online trackers such as cookies can not only be used by social media platforms and other websites but also your Internet Service Provider and the government. Even if you apply the most secure settings via your web browser, you can still be tracked via apps that you are connected to the internet. Besides, privacy-focused browsers like Tor is are not an optimal choice due to diminished connection speed.

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Recover your lost files quickly

Unforeseen circumstances can happen at any time while using the computer: it can turn off due to a power cut, a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) can occur, or random Windows updates can decide to reboot the machine when you went away for a few minutes. As a result, your schoolwork, important documents, and other data might be lost.

Additionally, you might also be attacked by malware that can corrupt your Windows or encrypt files with a robust encryption algorithm, and ask for a ransom in Bitcoin for the decryption tool. Cybercriminals might not deliver what they promised, however, so it is better to attempt alternative file recovery methods that could help you to retrieve at least some portion of the lost data.

Data recovery software is one of the options that could help you recover your files. Once you delete a file, it does not vanish into thin air – it remains on your system as long as no new data is written on top of it. Data Recovery Pro is recovery software that searchers for working copies of deleted files within your hard drive. By using the tool, you can prevent loss of valuable documents, school work, personal pictures, and other crucial files.

About the author

Julie Splinters - Computer optimization specialist

When it comes to computer optimization, Julie Splinters is the expert. Whether it is a slow smartphone, Windows, Mac or Linux operating system, she will find a solution within minutes.

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