Fix potential Windows Update database error detected

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Affiliate Disclosure
Share this article:

  • Windows update errors occur often enough to be considered a common issue in the world of PC computing.
  • If you get the message potential Windows update database error detected, some bad registries inside the Windows 10 system prevent the operating system to access the C:/Windows folder.
  • At this point, you may run the Troubleshooter or refresh your PC and immediately correct the problem.
  • When facing similar issues, you’ll most probably find the help you’re looking for in our dedicated Windows 10 errors hub.
How to fix Windows Update database error

When trying to repair your Windows 10 Update feature, you might get the error message potential Windows update database error detected.

This can be fixed by applying the steps posted below for the potential Windows Update database error detected issue and get back to your normal usage of Windows 10.

What does potential Windows Update database error detected mean? This error means that your operating system cannot access the C:/Windows folder. This is due to some bad registries inside the Windows 10 system.

However, if you follow the instructions below in the correct order you will be able to fix this in just a few minutes of your time.

There are many problems that can occur with Windows updates, and in this article, we’re going to address the following issues:

  • Repair Windows update database corruption failed – According to users, sometimes issues with Windows Update database can occur. However, many users reported that the database repair process failed on their PC.
  • Windows Update database error 0x800f081f – This problem sometimes comes with an error code. Many users reported 0x800f081f code along with this error message.
  • Windows Update database error registration is missing or corrupt – This is a variation of this problem, but you should be able to fix it by using one of our solutions.
  • Windows Update database error update service not running – Many users reported this problem as well. According to them, it seems that update service isn’t running on their PC at all.
  • Windows Update database error code 80072ee2 – This error message sometimes comes with an error code, and many users reported error code 80072ee2 on their PC.
  • Windows Update database was stuck – Sometimes issues with Windows Update can occur, and several users reported that their database was stuck.

How can I fix potential Windows Update database error detected?

1. Run the Troubleshooter

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the upper right side of the screen.
  2. After the Charms bar opens up you will need to left click or tap on the Search feature.
  3. In the search box type Control Panel. Click or tap on the Control Panel icon.
  4. Left-click or tap on the Troubleshooting feature.
    Repair Windows update database corruption failed
  5. Left-click or tap on the View All button situated on the left side of the screen.
    Windows Update database error 0x800f081f
  6. You will have a list of options now and you will need to left click or tap on the Windows updates.
    Windows Update database error registration is missing or corrupt
  7. Left-click or tap on the Next button you have in the lower side of that window.
    Windows Update database error update service not running
  8. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the Windows updates troubleshooter.
  9. Reboot the Windows 10 device after the troubleshooting process finishes.
  10. Try again and see if you still have the same error message.

You can’t open Control Panel on Windows 10? Take a look at this step-by-step guide to find a solution.


2. Refresh your PC

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Left-click or tap on the General option.
  3. Move-in the listed window to the Refresh your PC without affecting your files feature.
  4. Left-click or tap on the Get Started button in that Windows 10 feature.
  5. From here you will need to follow the instructions you have on the screen and wait for this process to finish.
    Note: It will take up to thirty minutes.
  6. After this process is finished reboot your Windows 10 device.
  7. Check again if you still have the potential Windows Update database error detected message.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.


3. Perform an SFC scan

If you’re getting the same error message, you might be able to fix it by performing an SFC scan. By performing this scan you’ll fix file corruption that might be causing this error.

To perform an SFC scan, do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Now select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list. If Command Prompt isn’t available, you can use PowerShell (Admin) instead.
    Windows Update database error code 80072ee2
  2. When Command Prompt starts, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter to run it. SFC scan will now start and try to repair your PC. Keep in mind that this process can take about 15 minutes, so don’t interrupt it.
    Windows Update database was stuck

After the SFC scan is finished, check if the problem still appears. If you’re still having this problem, you might want to try using DISM scan instead. To do that, open Command Prompt as administrator and run DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth command.
Repair Windows update database corruption failed
Keep in mind that DISM scan can take 20 minutes or more, so try not to interrupt it. After the scan is complete, check if the issue still appears.

If you were unable to run an SFC scan before, try running it after the DISM scan and check if the problem is resolved.


scannow command has stopped before the process finished? Don’t worry, we’ve got an easy fix for you.


4. Restart Windows update service and rename the affected files

Sometimes you can fix the error message simply by disabling Windows Update service and renaming the affected directories. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator. For more information on how to do that, check the previous solution.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter the following commands:
    • Net stop wuauserv
    • Net stop cryptSvc
    • Net stop bits
    • Net stop msiserver
    • Ren C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    • Ren C:WindowsSystem32catroot2 Catroot2.old
    • Net start wuauserv
    • Net start cryptSvc
    • Net start bits
    • Net start msiserver

After running these commands, restart your PC. Once your PC restarts, try to install Windows updates again.

If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look at this guide.


5. Perform a clean boot

Sometimes, the issue can appear due to third-party applications. Applications can interfere with Windows and cause this message to appear.

To find the problematic applications, you need to perform a clean boot by doing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter msconfig. Press Enter or click OK.
    Windows Update database error 0x800f081f
  2. Go to the Services tab and check Hide all Microsoft services. Click on the Disable all button.
    Windows Update database error registration is missing or corrupt
  3. Now navigate to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
    Windows Update database error update service not running
  4. A list of startup applications will now appear. Right-click the first application on the list and select Disable. Repeat this step for all applications on the list.
    Windows Update database error code 80072ee2
  5. Now go back to System Configuration window and click on Apply and OK to save changes. If you’re asked to restart your PC, choose the Restart now option.
    Windows Update database was stuck

If you’re interested in how to add or remove startup apps on Windows 10, check out this simple guide.


Can’t open Task Manager? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you.


After your PC restarts, check if the issue still appears. If not, one of the disabled applications or services was causing the issue.

To fix the cause of the problem, you need to enable disabled apps and services one by one until you find the one that is causing this issue.

Keep in mind that you need to restart your PC after enabling a set of applications or services. After you find the problematic application you can uninstall it, update it or keep it disabled.


That is it, five methods on how you can fix your potential Windows Update database error detected error message in Windows 10.

You can write to us below if these solutions worked for you or if you need further assistance with this issue.

FAQ: Learn more about the Windows Update database

  • How do you fix Windows Update components must be repaired?

Firing up SFC and DISM scans are both recommended procedures to quickly fix the problem. You may also run the Windows Update Troubleshooter.

If necessary, use this guide on how to fix Troubleshooter has stopped working issues.

  • How do I fix Windows Update database error?

As described in this guide on how to solve potential Windows Update database error, there are a few working solutions for you to apply. For example, you may refresh your PC.

  • Where is the Windows Update database stored?

The Windows Update database is stored on the system drive. More precisely, you may find it in C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and was revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Was this page helpful?
Thanks for letting us know! You can also help us by leaving a review on MyWOT or Trustpillot.
Get the most from your tech with our daily tips
Tell us why!
  • Hi, I tried to fix my problem with win 8 but i am still having the issue Windows update database error detected” in Windows 8 I tried both options the refresh didn’t work don’t know what to do can you help me please.