How to fix Service Registration is Missing or Corrupt in Windows 10?

By ivan.diskin | March 18, 2020 |

greater than 13 minutes

When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be the last iteration of the Windows operating system, the importance of Windows Update grew exponentially. The move meant that future updates, builds, and bug fixes that will be released for Windows 10 will be installed by the Windows feature.

Microsoft designed Windows Update to be simple to use. The component does all the heavy lifting: from downloading updates to installing them automatically, and even scheduling the appropriate time for applying major changes. However, like every Windows process, Windows Update comes with its share of problems and errors.

One error that has caused panic among users is the “Service registration is missing or corrupt” error message. Normally, Windows Update errors are fished out and automatically resolved when users run the Troubleshooter tool; but it’s quite different for this particular problem, as it can only be taken care of using manual steps, even though the Troubleshooter tool reports it.

If you’re experiencing Windows Update issues and have run the Troubleshooter tool and still find that the tool is giving you back this error without a solution, not to worry: we’ll show you how to manually troubleshoot the “Service registration is missing or corrupt” error and update your PC. While the error might sound complex, we’ve broken down the processes involved in fixing it in simple steps.

What does “Service registration is missing or corrupt” mean?

Usually, when Windows Update fails to download and install available updates, the process ends in an error. This is when users utilize the built-in Troubleshooter tool, which finds and fixes different issues. However, with the Service registration error, the Troubleshooter can only point you to it without fixing the problem.

Whenever the “Service Registration is missing or corrupt” error shows up in the Troubleshooter tool, it means you have to manually apply the appropriate fixes to get Windows Update running again.

What causes the “Service registration is missing or corrupt” error?

The error usually happens when you pause the update for a while or when the process abruptly ends due to one issue or the other. Below, you’ll find some of the reasons you’re facing the annoying error:

Services related to Windows Update are inactive

Windows Update, on its own, runs as a Windows service, and you can find it in the Services app. That said, there are other Windows services that enable Windows Update to operate properly. Some of these services include the Background Intelligent Transfer Service and the Cryptographic Service. You could be experiencing the error because one or more of these services aren’t running. We’ll show you how to fix the problem by activating these services.

Antivirus conflict

Antivirus programs are known to often conflict with operating system processes, and Windows Update isn’t left out. Sometimes, the malware definitions of an antivirus become old and begin to mistake certain update files as malicious, thereby halting the process. It’s possible that your antivirus program is responsible for the error, and fixing the problem, in this case, involves easy steps.

Misconfigurations in the Windows registry

The Windows registry is a repository for different functions and settings that affect every aspect of the operating system. If the values and settings related to Windows Update are misconfigured by a third-party program or other system elements, the error might show up in the Troubleshooter tool. You’ll need to apply a registry tweak manually in this case, and we’ll walk you through the process later on.

Corrupted system files

Various core system files are important to Windows Update. If these files are deleted or corrupted, Windows Update will malfunction, which could be the reason for the error. To fix this issue, you can run a built-in Windows command tool. The procedure is quite plain and simple. Keep reading to find out how to apply the fix.

Problems with .NET files

Files with the .NET extension are integral to many processes and programs that run on Windows. Windows might produce the “Service Registration is missing or corrupt” error if one or more .NET files associated with Windows Update go missing or become corrupt. To solve the problem, many users prompted Windows to refresh their NET files.

Issues with your user account

It could be that the user profile with which you’re trying to perform the update is now corrupt or might not have certain privileges. Some users discovered this to be the case while troubleshooting the problem and were able to update their computers by creating a new user account with administrative privileges.

How to fix “Service Registration is missing or corrupt”

Let’s get right into the different fixes for the problem. Following the solutions sequentially will help you find the right fix for your computer.

First Solution: Make sure every service related to Windows Update is running

The first step you should take is to ensure that the services required by Windows Update to run properly are active. This is a common problem. Many users who experienced the error found this to be the reason for the issue after going through the stress of other troubleshooting methods. The guide below will show how to activate these services:

  1. Right-click the empty space on your taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.
  2. Once Task Manager opens, navigate to the Services tab.
  3. Under the Services tab, click on Open Services.
  4. The Services app should now come up.
  5. Now, locate the following services:

Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Cryptographic Service

Windows Update

  1. Right-click each service and click on Properties.
  2. In the Startup drop-down, select Automatic.
  3. Now, click on the Start button under the Startup type drop-down.
  4. Click on Ok to save your changes.

Now, reboot your PC to apply the changes. Once your computer comes up, try opening Windows Update and make sure your internet connection is strong.

Second Solution: Modify folders related to Windows Update

If the above fix does not get rid of the issue, it could be that certain files related to Windows Update are corrupt. This usually happens when the update process ends abruptly due to issues such as  an unstable internet connection. When the files become corrupt, they hinder the update process. These files are located in the Catroot2 and SoftwareDistribution folders. To fix the problem in this case, you’ll have to rename these folders and force Windows Update to create new ones.

The process involves using Command Prompt, and you’re required to log into an administrator account. Follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the magnifier icon next to Start and then type command prompt.
  2. In the results, right-click Command Prompt and then click on Run as Administrator.
  3. Click Yes in the User Account Control dialog that requests permission.

Note that before you can modify these folders, you have to stop the services that are using them.

  1. Once Command Prompt shows up, type the following commands into the black screen to stop services that are actively using both folders and make sure you hit the Enter key after typing each command:

net stop wuauserv

net stop cryptSvc

net stop bits

net stop msiserver

  1. Now, type the following commands to rename the folders and hit the Enter key after typing each line:

ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old

ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old

  1. Lastly, restart the services you stopped by entering these commands:

net start wuauserv

net start cryptSvc

net start bits

net start msiserver

  1. Allow the process to complete and check for the error.

Third Solution: Reinstall your .NET files

Files with the NET extension are an integral part of Windows. They are used to store configurations for different programs. Some of these files are important for storing network values and settings, while others, such as the netViz Enterprise program, are used for diagramming. Bad .NET files can be the reason you’re facing the error, and you can fix the issue by removing and reinstalling them. Follow the steps below to perform this operation:

  1. Search for Control Panel in the Start menu and launch it.
  2. Click on Programs once the window opens.
  3. Click on the “Turn Windows features on or off” option under Programs.
  4. The Windows Features dialog will now come up with a list of every feature and program on your computer.
  5. Now, uncheck all the boxes associated with .NET features in the list. The .NET files on your computer will be uninstalled once you uncheck the boxes under Windows Feature.
  6. Once done, go back to the Windows Features dialog and check the .NET features. This action will prompt Windows to reinstall the files.
  7. Wait for the process to complete, then reboot your system and try updating your computer again.

Fourth Solution: Run the System File Checker tool

Apart from .NET files and files in the SystemDistribution and Catroot2 folders, certain system files might be corrupt or missing, which could lead to the “Service Registration is missing or corrupt” error. You can use a built-in command line tool known as the System File Checker to restore or repair the affected system files. The guide below will walk you through the process:

  1. Go to the search function next to Start, and then type command prompt.
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt in the results and then select Run as Administrator.
  3. Click on Yes when the User Account Control dialog pops up.
  4. Next, type the following command into the elevated Command Prompt and hit the Enter key:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

This command normally prompts DISM to use Windows Update to download the files that will be utilized by the System File Checker to fix the corrupt system files. But since we’re dealing with a Windows Update error, you might need to get the files from a Windows 10 installation media such as a DVD.  So, run the command below if the above command doesn’t work:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\FileSource\Windows /LimitAccess

Note that you’ll have to replace Source:C:\FileSource\Windows with the path to your installation media.

  1. Now, type the following into the elevated Command Prompt to run the System File Checker tool:

sfc /scannow

  1. Give the tool a while to complete the process as it will scan all your system files. Once the tool is done, it will replace any corrupted file it finds from the compressed folder provided by the inbox Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool.
  2. Once the verification is complete and you see a success message that reads, “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them”, reboot your computer and try installing your updates again.

Fifth Solution: Remove your antivirus program

As noticed by certain users, antivirus programs can trigger the error. This is because the virus definitions in some antivirus tools are outdated and are mistaking certain files for malicious entities. This misconception leads to clashes between Windows Update and your antivirus, which can lead to the error you’re experiencing. To fix the issue, try uninstalling your antivirus and then check if the issue is resolved.

To remove the program:

  1. Open the Start menu and click on the gear icon to launch the Settings application. You can also press Windows+I to open the app.
  2. In the home screen of the Settings app, click on Apps.
  3. Now, use the search utility under Apps & features to summon your antivirus program, click on your antivirus when it shows up, and then click on the Uninstall button that fades out.
  4. Follow the subsequent on-screen instructions and then reboot your system to apply the changes.
  5. Now you can check to see if you can update your computer without any roadblock.

While this fix involves removing your antivirus from your computer, you don’t necessarily have to leave your computer vulnerable. You can install a malware protection tool such as Auslogics Anti-Malware, whose malware definitions are regularly updated and don’t clash with system files or other legitimate applications on your computer.

Sixth Solution: Disable your firewall

Your Firewall is responsible for regulating what has access to your computer. The policies set up by your Firewall are intended to keep you safe, but there are times when the program overreacts and blocks harmless processes. This could be the reason you’re facing the error. To grant Windows Update access to your network, you need to disable your Firewall program temporarily. If you’re using a third-party program, you can refer to the manual of the developer to find out how to disable the Firewall.

The native Windows Defender Firewall can also restrict the network access of Windows Update. Here’s how to disable the tool:

  1. Go to the home screen of the Settings application by pressing the Win+I combo.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Go to the left pane in the Update & Security screen and then click on Windows Security.
  4. In the Windows Security screen, click on the Open Windows Defender Security Center button.
  5. Now, in the window that pops up, click on the Firewall & Network Protection label.
  6. Click Domain Network in the next screen and then toggle off Windows Defender Firewall. Repeat this step for Public Network and Private Network to turn them off.
  1. Now check to see if the error persists. Once you’re done, you can go back to the Firewall & network protection tool to turn Domain, Public, and Private networks back on.

Seventh Solution: Make some changes to the Windows registry

You can also fix the issue by changing some Windows registry values using Registry Editor. Just as we mentioned, certain registry configurations can come in the way of the update process and cause the Troubleshooter tool to bring back this error without any remedy. The steps below will show you how to apply the Registry fix:

Before you start, back up your Registry. Use these steps to avoid making permanent changes that could harm your Registry:

  1. Press Win+R to open Run and then type regedit and hit Enter.
  2. Click Yes in the confirmation dialog that comes up.
  3. Now, click on File in the upper-left corner of the window and then click on Export.
  4. In the next Window, select All in the Export range section, type a name for the backup and then click on Save.
  5. That’s it. Whenever you want to restore your registry, click on File, select Import and then browse and open the file you exported.

Now to the fix:

  1. Go to the left pane of the Registry Editor window and then expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  2. Next, open the SOFTWARE registry key folder and then expand the Microsoft folder.
  3. Under the Microsoft folder, navigate to WindowsSelfHost and expand it.
  4. Now, left-click Applicability.
  5. In the right pane, right-click the ThresholdOptedIn value and then choose Delete from the context menu.
  6. Reboot your system and try updating your computer to check if the issue has been resolved.

If you have a folder named Recovery From under the Applicability folder, you can try deleting it as well. This move worked for many users, according to reports.

If the only value in the right pane of the Accessibility folder is the Default value, you can solve the issue by adding a number of values. Follow these steps:

  1. Once you left-click on Accessibility, go to the right pane and then right-click on the empty surface.
  2. Place your mouse over New and then choose String Value.
  3. Rename the new string to BranchName.
  4. Double-click the BranchName string, enter “fbl_impressive” (without the quotes) into the text box under Value Data, then click on OK.
  5. Next, create a new string following the same process as detailed above and then set its name as Ring. Double-click it and change its Value Data to low.
  6. Now close the Registry Editor and reboot your computer to check for the error.

Follow the steps below if the error continues to show up:

  1. Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsSelfHost\Applicability

  1. Left-click on Accessibility and change the Value of the newly created Ring string to WIF.
  2. Now create another string and change its name to ThresholdRiskLevel and set its value as Low.
  3. Close Registry Editor, reboot your system and then check for the error.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, move on to the next fix.

Eight Solution: Create a new user account

The “Service registration is missing or corrupt” error could be showing up because your user profile is corrupt or lacks enough privileges. To troubleshoot the problem in this case, create a new user account and try updating your PC. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Press the Windows and I keys on your keyboard simultaneously to summon the Settings application.
  2. Click on Accounts.
  3. Go to the left pane of the Accounts screen and click on Family & Other People.
  4. Now click on “Add someone else to this PC” under Other People in the right pane.
  5. Once the new screen pops up, click the “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” option located towards the bottom.
  6. Click on “Add a user without a Microsoft account” in the next page and then enter the name and password of the account when the next screen shows up.
  7. Now go back to the Family & other people tab in the Accounts section of settings.
  8. Locate the user account you just created, click on it and then click on the Change Account Type button.
  9. Choose Administrator under the Account type drop-down and then click OK.
  10. Reboot your system and log into the new account, then try updating and see if that solves the issue.

Ninth Solution: Use the Windows Update Reset tool

You can completely reset Windows Update using a tool provided by Microsoft and check if the issue will go away. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Microsoft’s website and download the Reset tool.
  2. A compressed file will be saved on your computer.
  3. Now, unzip the file, right-click on the CMD file you find in the unzipped folder and then click on Run as Administrator.
  4. Once the Command executes successfully, reboot your system and check for the error.

Tenth Solution: Restore your system

If you have applied the fixes above without any luck, try taking your computer back to a previous state and check if that solves the problem. It could be that some recently installed or uninstalled application messed up the Windows registry. To perform a System Restore:

  1. Click on the search bar in the taskbar and then type restore.
  2. Click on Create a restore point in the results.
  3. Now, the System Properties dialog will pop up, showing the System Protection tab.
  4. Click on the System Restore button, and on the first prompt of the following screen, click on Next.
  5. Select a restore point then click the Next button again.
  6. Click on Yes in the confirmation box.
  7. Once Windows has taken your system back, you should now be able to update your computer without problems.

Concluding

You should never use an outdated computer. You could be exposed to serious risks and miss out on new superb quality and feature upgrades that other users are enjoying. With the fixes above, we believe the “Service registration is missing or corrupt” error will be one less thing to worry about.

Don’t hold your comments back! We want to read your thoughts concerning the “Service Registration is missing or corrupt” error or other issues that you may be experiencing.

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