Windows 7 won’t update: error 80072EFE [Fixed]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things surrounding it. He is passionate about the...
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  • The Windows could not search for new updates 80072EFE error can appear due to various reasons, including malware.
  • Sometimes anti-malware software might fix this error in Windows 7 and 10 for users.
  • Users have confirmed a specific update package can fix this error message.
  • Clearing certain system folders might also fix the Windows could not search for new updates 80072efd error.
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The 80072EFE error can arise in Windows 10 and 7 when some users try to update those platforms.

The error message for the 80072EFE issue says Windows could not search for new updates. Consequently, Windows doesn’t update when that error occurs.

Fix: Windows could not search for new updates (80072efe)

1. Run a malware scan

Malwarebytes windows could not search for new updates 80072efe

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2. Run the Windows Update troubleshooter

  1. First, open the search tool with the Windows + S key combination.
  2. Next, enter the keyword troubleshoot in the search text box.
  3. Click Troubleshoot settings to open Settings.
  4. Click Additional troubleshooters to open a list of troubleshooters.
    Additional troubleshooters list windows could not search for new updates 80072efe
  5. Select Windows Update and click Run the troubleshooter to open it.
    Windows Update troubleshooter windows could not search for new updates 80072efe
  6. Then go through the troubleshooter’s suggested fixes.

After the troubleshooter is finished, check if the Windows could not search for new updates 80072efd error is still there.


3. Run the Network Adapter troubleshooter

Network Adapter troubleshooter windows could not search for new updates 80072efe

The Network Adapter troubleshooter might also help some users resolve the 80072EFE error.

To open it, open the troubleshooter list as outlined within steps one to four of the second resolution. Then click the Run the troubleshooter button for Network Adapter.


4. Delete the catroot2 folder for Windows Update

  1. Press the Windows and R keys simultaneously to launch Run.
  2. Input this command in Run’s Open box and press Enter: services.msc
  3. Next, double-click Cryptographic Services to open the window in the shot directly below.
  4. Press the Stop button on the Cryptographic Services window.
  5. Then click Apply and OK to exit the window.
  6. Open File Explorer by pressing the Windows and E keyboard key combination at the same time.
  7. Navigate to this folder path in File Explorer: C:\Windows\System32
  8. Then right-click the catroot2 folder and select Delete.
    catroot2 folder windows could not search for new updates 80072efe
  9. Open the Cryptographic Services Properties window again.
  10. Click Start to restart that service, and press the Apply button.
  11. Click OK to close the window.

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Note: You can only delete the catroot2 folder with an admin user account.


5. Clear the SoftwareDistribution folder

  1. Open the Run window.
  2. Type this command into Run: cmd
  3. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter key combination to open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  4. Then input this command to stop Windows Update service and press Enter: net stop wuauserv
  5. Also, type in this command press Enter: net stop bits
  6. Open File Explorer’s window.
  7. Open this folder: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
  8. Hold the Ctrl key to select all content within the SoftwareDistribution folder.
    SoftwareDistribution folder windows could not search for new updates 80072efe
  9. Click the Delete button on the Home tab.
    The Delete option windows could not search for new updates 80072efe
  10. Open an elevated Command Prompt window again.
  11. Restart Windows Update by inputting this command and pressing Enter: net start wuauserv
  12. To restart the BITS service, press the Enter key after inputting this command: net start bits

After doing that, Windows Update services will be restarted and the Windows could not search for new updates 80072efe message should be gone.


6. Manually install the KB3138612 update (Windows 7 fix)

  1. Open the Windows Update Client for Windows 7 page in a web browser.
  2. Then click a suitable Download the package link there for your Windows 7 platform.
  3. Click the Download button to save the KB3138612 update to your PC.
    The Download button windows could not search for new updates 80072efe
  4. Thereafter, open the folder you downloaded the KB3138612 update to.
  5. Click the downloaded KB3138612 standalone installer file to install the update.

This is a quick and easy workaround, but it should help you fix Windows could not search for new updates 80072efd error with ease.


7. Disable third-party firewall and antivirus software

To disable third-party antivirus software, right-click the system tray icon for it. Then look for a disable setting on its context menu and select it.

If you can’t find a disable option there, have a look through the settings on the antivirus utility’s window.

The disable settings for Avast Antivirus windows could not search for new updates 80072efe

It’s also recommended to disable any third-party firewalls installed before trying to update Windows.

Zone Alarm, McAfee, AVG, and Panda firewalls are known to generate issues for Windows updates. So, have a look through the settings for any installed firewall to disable it.


Users have confirmed some of the above fixes can resolve the Windows could not search for new updates 80072efe error.

If you have fixed the same issue with different solutions you’re welcome to share them in the comments below.

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