80073712 error and Windows Servicing corruption fixing [EN]

Windows Update fails is quite a common issue at my work. Usually it is enough to press Check for Updates one more time (especially when first check for updates is running after a fresh installation of Windows and WU service needs to download a huge amount of updates information). Sometimes a simple Windows reboot is enough. Or various other simple solutions. But recently i had a really nasty issue. Most probably PC was forcefully turned off while installing updates (or downloading them) and the Windows Servicing system got corrupted. While searching for a fix (because reinstalling a machine is always the last choice) i had to try various suggestions and tools. In the end i have stumbled upon this Microsoft article, which helped me to solve the problem and around which i have compiled this short instruction. But first i will provide the quicker and simplier solutions, which work most of the time.

First you can try stopping the Windows Update service and deleting the %Windir%\SoftwareDistribution\ directory. Then run the service again and do a check for updates.

Sometimes it is also helpful to do sfc /scannow and let it fix system files.

You can also try System Restore and restore the system to a point you believe everything was fine.

If nothing from above works, then try this procedure:

  • Download and install the System Update Readiness Tool update (e.g. for Windows 7 64-bit). It will take 10-15 minutes.
  • Then check this tool’s log at %Windir%\Logs\CBS\CheckSUR.persist.log or CheckSUR.log. Look for Unavailable repair files list (usually at the bottom). It should list .manifest, .mum and .cat files.
  • From a healthy PC’s %Windir%\Winsxs\Manifests\ directory copy the healthy .manifest files which are listed in the log and put them into corrupted PC’s %Windir%\Temp\CheckSUR\manifests\ directory.
  • Again, from a healthy PC’s %Windir%\servicing\packages\ directory copy .mum and .cat files into corrupted PC’s %Windir%\Temp\CheckSUR\servicing packages\ directory.
  • Run the System Update Readiness Tool update again and wait till it finishes (it is run by installing it again). Should take 10-15 minutes again.
  • Try to run the update’s installation which was causing 80073712 error again. This time it should install normally.