How to fix Windows Update Error 80072EE2?

May 14, 2020 |

greater than 17 minutes

There are numerous bugs that can affect Windows 10, but few are as annoying as those that have to do with Windows Update. Given that Microsoft has basically made updates automatic and obligatory, being unable to update your system through no fault of your own can be both annoying and depressing.

In this guide, we will walk you through the best ways to solve the Windows Update Error 80072EE2. This error code has been popping up frequently, annoying both Windows enthusiasts and skeptics of the OS alike.

This error isn’t even limited to one version or edition of the OS. It has been observed on Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and Windows Server. Whether you’re merely using the direct method of downloading from the Windows Update server or using the local WSUS server, the result is the same — Error Code 80072EE2.

What Is Windows Update Error Code 80072EE2?

It is known that Microsoft deploys updates to computers at least once a month. These help to nuke known bugs and glitches on the system. Normally, updates install automatically, bringing security patches and bug fixes that further tighten the security of your PC against known and unknown attacks and general issues.

Sometimes, Windows Update inadvertently brings along new bugs instead of solving the ones it is meant to solve. These usually have to do with the update process itself being unable to complete. Hence, an error like the Windows Update error with code 80072EE2.

When the user tries to check for updates, the tool stops suddenly and displays an error notification such as this:

Windows could not search for new updates. An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer. Error(s) found: Code 80072EE2

The error code 80072EE2 is formally known as the ERROR_INTERNET_TIMEOUT (-2147012894) error. This is because it is often accompanied by the “The request has timed out” message as well. It basically points to the computer being unable to connect to the Windows Update server or Microsoft update sites.

How to Fix Error 80072EE2 in Windows 10

Many reasons have been advanced for the Windows Update error with code 80072EE2. These include an unstable connection or the total absence of one, issues with one’s proxy and firewall, a virus infection, problems with Windows Update components and services, incorrect date and time settings, bugs, and missing or corrupt system files.

Irrespective of the reason, solving it is the pressing thing. Use the fixes and workarounds below to make short work of the error.

  1. Reboot the Machine

Sometimes, the most overlooked solution is also the most effective. Sadly, many users scoff at rebooting their machines as a potential fix for whichever error they are experiencing. The truth is that clearing the system memory — which is what a reboot essentially does — is exactly what is needed for some bugs to go away.

Many users simply close the lid of their laptops when not in use. Others use the Sleep or Hibernate functions. Shutting down the system from time to time helps to keep the memory clean while solving problems associated with prolonged system use.

So, restart your machine and check if the Windows Update Error 80072EE2 is gone.

If this simple action works, hurray. If not, you didn’t lose anything and can try the main fixes in this guide.

  1. Check Your Internet Connection

You will be amazed at how many so-called Windows 10 bugs actually turn out to have nothing to do with the OS at all. There are so many network-related issues that end up having to do with external network hardware rather than the software. Many people who complained about various Windows Update issues have ultimately found that, in some cases, their connection is to blame.

We are not saying you definitely fall into this category, but it wouldn’t do any harm to first check that your connections are working before you try any hardcore fixes. You can simply browse with that connection on another device and see whether it works or how fast it is. It has been observed that slow connections can hamper Windows Update. Perhaps you’re in an area with bad reception, in which case you can move somewhere with stronger signals.

Loose cables cannot be discounted for those that use wired connections. Basically, check that everything is in good working order by plugging the cable into another device and checking how it goes.

Also, open any browser on your computer and visit the Microsoft Windows Update page.

If your PC has no problems with internet access, the page will load and you will see a message telling you to use your Start Menu to check for updates.

  1. Check Your Proxy and Firewall

It is possible that the reason you’re getting constant error code 80072EE2 notifications is because of your firewall. It is possible that your firewall has inadvertently blocked your PC from connecting to the Microsoft servers. You can check whether this is the case by going to your firewall and verifying whether the following web addresses are allowed or barred:

HTTP: //*.update.microsoft.com

HTTPS: //*.update.microsoft.com

http://download.windowsupdate.com

If they have been blocked, unblock them and Windows Update will be able to do its job without further complications.

Issues can also arise due to proxy servers. Your organization might be using a proxy that requires a username or password to connect. You can disable the proxy for the duration of the Windows Update activity, but that isn’t an elegant solution since the program checks for updates fairly regularly.

You can also try the reset proxy command in an elevated Command Prompt window with the ” netsh winhttp reset proxy” command. This will work if your proxy has been changed, perhaps by malicious software you’ve since removed from the machine.

  1. Check the Date and Time

Many people don’t know this, but having the correct date and time on your machine goes beyond just being factual. It is actually very important that the operating system is set to the correct date, time and even time zone. Apart from just being able to know the time with a glance downwards to the right of the taskbar where the clock is, you need the right time on your system because core system components depend on it to work properly.

For example, Windows Update is automatically set up to deliver updates at a specific time each week. Now, if you have an incorrect date or time, it obviously won’t be able to follow this schedule faithfully on your computer. Therefore, always remember to check that your PC has the correct date.

With respect to the Windows Update Error 80072EE2, some services that Windows depends on to push updates may stop working if the time on your computer isn’t aligned with the time on the Windows servers. This can happen if you move to another time zone but the time on the machine isn’t automatically adjusted.

Therefore, if you keep getting the error with code 80072EE2, check whether your computer time matches the time on other devices. If there is a discrepancy, this might be the reason why Windows can’t check for new updates.

In the event that your time settings are incorrect, you can easily adjust them by following these steps in Windows 10:

  • Move the cursor over to the time displayed on the left of the taskbar.
  • Right-click the Time icon and select Adjust Date/Time.
  • You will be taken to the Time tab of the Time and Language option in Settings.
  • In the right pane, click the Set Time Automatically toggle so it moves to the Off position.
  • You will see the Change button under the “Change date and time” section. Click it.
  • Now, simply adjust your date and time in the “Date and time” window.
  • Click Change and exit the window.
  1. Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter

Microsoft certainly isn’t omniscient. No one is. But it can be remarkably prescient when it wants to be. It probably knew there would be all sorts of complaints about bugs in Windows 10 so it included various troubleshooting tools to help users figure out what is wrong every time. There are tools to check issues with audio, video, graphics, network connections, and Windows updates as well.

The Windows Update Troubleshooter can be deployed to resolve the Windows Update Error with code 80072EE2 and other errors pertaining to the update process. Using it doesn’t require any knowledge at all. The interface is simple and designed to guide even novice users towards figuring out the issue.

  • Press the Windows logo key and click the Gear icon to select Settings.
  • In the main Settings window, select Update & Security.
  • Next, choose Troubleshoot from the left menu pane of the Update & Security window.
  • In the right plane, you will find the focus of various troubleshooters listed. Scroll down that pane till you find the entry for Windows Update.
  • Click the Windows Update panel once to expand it.
  • Click the small “Run the troubleshooter” button to start the Windows Update Troubleshooter.

Follow the instructions provided on the Windows Update Troubleshooter window while it looks for a solution to the issue. If it provides you with a recommendation, go ahead and carry it out.

Hopefully, the troubleshooter should have made everything alright. If not, simply use another method in this guide.

  1. Empty the Software Distribution Folder

If you’re wondering where Windows places the updates it downloads regularly before installing them, it is the Software Distribution folder. This folder is a temporary system folder in the sense that the contents stored within aren’t meant to be permanent. On a PC that works perfectly fine, the OS regularly deletes the contents of this folder when they have served the purpose for which they were downloaded.

Windows, as you’ve no doubt known by now, is anything but perfect. Sometimes, it so happens that the files in the Software Distribution folder remain there despite that there’s no further use for them. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Suffice it to say that their presence can cause issues with newer updates. The Windows Update mechanism might not be able to download fresh updates while the older ones are still in this folder.

Therefore, deleting the contents pronto can help with the Windows Update error with code 80072EE2. It should be noted that this method doesn’t work for everyone. Some are unable to delete the folder because the system tells them the contents are in use. There is a workaround for this: you need to first stop two Windows components that utilize the folder. The first, naturally, is the Windows Update Service (wuauserv), and the second is the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).

Open an elevated Command Prompt window and run the following commands, one after the other:

net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

With both services stopped, you will be able to empty the Software Distribution folder without issues. Close or minimize the CMD window (it’s better to minimize since you’ll still use it) and open a File Explorer window. Go to the following location to find the contents of the Software Distribution folder:

C:/Windows/SoftwareDistribution

Select everything within this folder and delete all the items in one go. Don’t worry about removing any important files. None of them is critical to the OS. Next, go up one folder (i.e. C:/Windows) and find the System Resources folder. Open it and delete everything here, too. Confirm the deletion if you get a UAC prompt to do so.

After this, you need to restart the two Windows component services you stopped earlier. Windows can’t download fresh updates unless they are running. Maximize the Command Prompt window and run these commands, one after the other:

net start wuauserv

net start bits

Next, reboot the machine, go to Windows Update and check for new updates.

  1. Reset Windows Update Components with Command Prompt

Windows Update components like the two above are the services that collectively make up the Windows Update tool. If any one of them has an issue, it can affect the service they collectively provide. If emptying the Software Distribution folder doesn’t do anything, you can try to restart each of these components and see if that makes a difference. In some cases, this rectified the error code 80072EE2 issue right away.

With an elevated Command Prompt (Win Key+X, then select Command Prompt (Admin)), everything will proceed rapidly. The alternative is to disable them manually through the Services window. The CMD method is better, so we shall use it here:

The components we’re concerned about are Windows Update Service, Background Intelligent Transfer Service, Application Identity Service, and Cryptographic Service. Each one needs to be disabled in turn:

In the elevated CMD window, run these commands, ensuring you press Enter after each line:

net stop bits

net stop wuauserv

net stop appidsvc

net stop cryptsvc

Next, run the command below. Doing so will delete the Queue Manager data file:

Del “%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\

Next, run the commands below:

rename %windir%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bak

xcopy %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 %systemroot%\system32\catroot2.bak /s

Finally, run these commands to restart the services you disabled earlier:

net start bits

net start wuauserv

net start appidsvc

net start cryptsvc

Everything is done. Restart the computer and run Windows Update without further issues.

  1. Use Auslogics BoostSpeed to Clean Up the System

Inasmuch as deleting the contents of the Software Distribution folder removes most Windows Update files that are no longer of any use, there are other temporary files hidden elsewhere in locations that are hard to find. As a matter of fact, most users aren’t aware of all the possible dumping grounds for unneeded files within the system. It is one thing if they are merely taking up valuable space. However, they often play an accidental role in various errors, including the Windows Update error with code 80072EE2.

For this reason, it is recommended to use third-party software that can totally rid your PC of unwanted files. What better program than one approved by Microsoft for this purpose? Auslogics BoostSpeed is used by individuals and enterprises all over the world to regularly maintain their machines, keeping them in mint fresh condition with no junk files in sight.

Simply download and install the tool, and your PC will get a performance and stability boost in no time. After launching the program, you will notice plenty of different features. For this purpose, the one you need is the Deep Disk Cleaner, and this is how to use it:

  • Select the Clean Up tab on the Auslogics BoostSpeed home page.
  • In the next window, choose the drive that contains the Windows installation you’re trying to update.
  • Select the “Deep Disk Cleaner” button, which will appear just below the drive you choose.
  • The next window is the interface for the Deep Disk Cleaner tool. Look at the left pane in that window, and you should notice a list of different selectable file types.
  • Pay attention to the items under System Files. Tick the boxes next to the following: Windows Update Files, Windows Installer Cache, Files in the Prefetch Folder, Windows System Cache, and Windows Defender Files.
  • Next, tick “wipe files being removed” in the central pane and click the Scan Now button.
  • The program will scan the PC and bring up a list of all the files that match your selection.
  • When you’re satisfied with everything, click the Clean Up button to erase all the discovered hidden files related to Windows Update.

Reboot the computer and run Windows Update once again. You should be able to view and download the latest updates now.

  1. Delete the WUServer and WUStatusServer Registry Keys

Users are warned off the Windows Registry for a reason. The registry agglomerates information and settings for software programs, hardware devices, user preferences, operating system configurations, and much more under one roof. Changing values in the registry indiscriminately can have severe consequences.

Even so, you can use the Windows Registry Editor to remove a couple of keys that might be related to the code 80072EE2 error in Windows Update. Don’t bother with this solution if you’re using Windows 10 Home. This method is better for a user whose machine is part of a domain.

  • Before anything, go to the Services window and stop the Windows Update Service. Ensure the contents of the Software Distribution folder have been deleted as well.
  • Press the Windows logo and R keys simultaneously to open the Run box.
  • Type “regedit” (without quotes) in the Run field and click OK.
  • When the Registry Editor window opens, navigate to the following path or search for it by pasting the following in the path bar at the top:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

  • Look in the right pane for the two keys named WUServer and WUStatusServer. Right-click each one and select Delete.
  • Close the Registry Editor window and open the Services window.
  • Start the Windows Update Service.

With this, Windows should recommence checking for updates automatically.

  1. Scan Your PC for Malware

If none of the solutions you’ve tried so far has come close to fixing the problem, it might be that there is interfering malware on your computer. At this point, you should get it into your mind that no type of file on Windows is absolutely secure from infiltration or infection by malicious code.

Even Windows Update files have been known to be corrupted by viruses. Sometimes, even if the files themselves are left untouched, the virus might be designed to stop Windows Update services from installing any new update that can either override or reset unauthorized changes made to the system by the malware.

Thus, if your attempts to make Windows check for updates (or do it yourself) keep resulting in the error code 80072EE2, whip out your antivirus software and commence a full scan of the system to fish out any security vulnerabilities. In most situations, the beefed-up Windows Defender Firewall in Windows 10 is good enough to carry out cursory scans like this. However, to be on the safe side, you can supplement it with a full scan using an anti-spyware and anti-malware tool like Auslogics Anti-Malware to remove threats that Defender might miss.

  1. Scan System Files with DISM and SFC

When attempting to fix Windows Update issues, you can use various tools provided by Microsoft. We have already explained how to use the Windows Update Troubleshooter, but it isn’t the only program you can deploy to troubleshoot issues with update files. Microsoft also enabled a host of tools for scanning Windows and restoring damaged files that might be causing system settings and programs not to work as they should.

One of these is the System File Checker (SFC) tool. It is used specifically to check files used by the OS for corruption, damage and other issues. When problematic files are found, it fixes them by using fresh, clean copies of these files. Sometimes, a file might have problems but the user can’t even begin to search for which file that is among the hundreds of system files. With SFC, the process is automated and solved without you having to lift a finger.

So, for Windows Update errors and the like, the SFC tool is worth using. If you’re ready to use it, you should follow Microsoft’s recommendation and run a DISM scan first.

DISM stands for Deployment Image Servicing and Management. Whereas SFC primarily checks individual system files for damage, a DISM scan checks the OS image as a whole and fixes what is corrupted.

First, let’s go ahead with a DISM scan:

  • You need to open a Command Prompt window with administrative privileges to perform both DISM and SFC scans.
  • Press the Windows logo and X keys at the same time to display the Quick Access menu in Windows 10.
  • Select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu. On some editions of Windows 10, the Command Prompt and Command Prompt (Admin) options in this menu have been replaced by PowerShell and PowerShell (Admin). In that case, simply type “command prompt” in the Start menu, right-click the top result, and select Run as Administrator.
  • When you’re in the elevated Command Prompt window, run this command — type it in the window and press Enter:
    • exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

That’s the DISM scan done. If there are no problems, you should see a message that your scan is successful. You can now run the SFC scan, which is the main thing as far as finding a solution to Windows Update Error Code 80072EE2 is concerned.

  • Run this command in the elevated CMD window:
    • sfc /scannow

If your PC doesn’t come with reasonably good hardware, be prepared to wait a while for the process to finish. It can take anything from a few minutes to an hour depending on your hardware configurations. Make sure not to close the window while the process is in operation.

When the scan is finally completed, the CMD window will display a message notifying you of this fact and telling you how the scan went. You can see any one of these four messages:

  • Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.
  • Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation.
  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log.
  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log

You should be hoping to get the third message as it means SFC found the issue and it’s been fixed. You can go ahead and try to check for updates, and chances are you will succeed this time. The fourth message is a bit promising — the tool found multiple errors and fixed some. Trying the scan in Safe Mode might help. The second message simply means the tool couldn’t work. Either try running it in Safe Mode or use another solution. The first message, meanwhile, means that there is no issue with system files, so the cause of the error lies elsewhere.

  1. Use a Clean Boot to Resolve Windows Update Error 80072EE2

If you are somehow still grappling with how to remove the “an error occurred while checking for new updates” error message in Windows Update, clean booting Windows is one of the few options still available for you. Don’t worry if the name sounds intimidating; there is nothing much to it. Booting Windows in a clean environment simply involves disabling all third-party services and startup programs so that they cannot interfere with whatever you’re trying to do.

This way, startup services and other programs that might clash with Windows Update’s search for new updates won’t be able to run. The tool, therefore, has free rein to search for updates without interference since only the core OS is loaded. In the event that this method solves the Error Code 80072EE2 issue, one of the services you’ve disabled is most likely triggering the problem.

Before you think of catching culprits, though, perform a clean boot first using the steps here and see if it succeeds:

  • Log into your Windows 10 PC with an administrator account. If you don’t, Clean Boot won’t be able to load.
  • Next, open the System Configuration utility. The fastest way is to launch the Run box with Win Key+R, type “msconfig” (without quotes) in the box, and press the Enter key.
  • When the System Configuration window shows up, click Services at the top where the tabs are listed.
  • Tick the “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox. After this, all native services won’t be available for selection.
  • Next, click the “Disable all” button on the right.
  • Select the Startup tab and click the Open File Manager link.
  • Right-click each enabled startup item and select Disable.
  • Close Task Manager.
  • Click the OK button in the System Configuration window.
  • Reboot the PC.

Log in again with the same administrator account and open Windows Update. Check for updates again, and it should work this time. You can also try some of the other troubleshooting steps above in Clean Boot. It will markedly increase the chances of one of them finally enabling Windows Update to deliver the latest available cumulative or feature update.

Assuming that the issue has been resolved with this method, you can go ahead and troubleshoot the cause if you want. Keep disabling certain services and startup programs and checking the effect on Windows Update until you narrow the culprit down.

  1. Reset Windows

If you have come this far and tried everything but the error with code 80072EE2 lingers, it is time to bring a bazooka to a fistfight. Resetting Windows is the one-size-fits-all ultimate solution you need. Sure, it is more like nuking the system and starting all over again; but there isn’t much choice if nothing else works.

Moreover, only system files are affected through a reset. You still get to keep your personal files if you so desire.

  • Open the Settings app and select Update & Security.
  • Select Recovery.
  • In the pane on the right, click the Get Started button under Reset this PC.
  • When the Windows 10 Reset wizard starts up, follow the instructions on each window. Don’t forget to select the option to keep all your files and folders.

When the reset is finished, the problematic system files will have made way for a new set of files, which shouldn’t have any issues. Thus, you can run updates from here on out. If you want, you could also just download the latest version of Windows 10 you’re trying to update to and install that instead.

Parting Shots

With Microsoft basically forcing you to update regularly, you’re going to be frustrated by the Windows Update Error 80072EE2 because you can’t simply turn the update off for good. However, with one of the fixes here, this error will be a thing of the past.

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