Resolving Windows Update error code 80246002

I don’t know exactly what sequence of updates caused the proliferation of the 80246002 errors when attempting to run Windows Updates, but it appears to be a fairly wide-spread problem on Windows 7 machines.

The problem manifests itself as an inability to manually search for Windows Updates. If you are on a domain that uses a Software Update Server, this check is done by selecting the “Check Online for Updates from Microsoft Update” link at the bottom of the Windows Updates window. Typically the manual check will quickly fail with the error code 80246002.

Searching the net for a solution comes up with a few suggestions, most commonly to change your DNS server to (Google’s DNS) and try again. This does seem work to allow for updates to be downloaded immediately, but it doesn’t solve the problem going forward (you will have to do it again the next time you want to check for updates), and you can’t access any of your local domain resources until you switch it back.

A co-worker and I discussed this problem yesterday, and she worked out a procedure that has corrected the problem on all of the PCs we have tried it on so far:

  • Open Windows Update from the Control Panel
  • Click on “Change Settings” on the left hand side of the screen
  • Uncheck “Give me updates for Microsoft products and check for new optional Microsoft software when I update windows”
  • Restart the PC
  • Optional – I suggest completing the rest of this process and seeing if it works before you do this step, as this will eliminate your Windows Update history. If after completing the procedure you still receive errors when attempting to check for updates, try the following to remove the directory Windows Update uses to store the items it downloads (It will get recreated when the WUAUSERV service is restarted):
    • Open a command prompt as administrator (Click Start, type CMD, right click on the “cmd” entry at the top of the start menu and select “Run As Administrator”)
    • Run the command “net stop wuauserv”
    • Run the command “CD %WINDIR%”
    • Run the command “RENAME SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution_Old”
    • Run the command “net start wuauserv”
  • Open Windows Update and check for updates. Install any updates other than the language packs.
  • When prompted, restart the PC
  • Open Windows Update again and click on the “Find Out More” link which talks about getting updates for other Microsoft products. This will take you to the Microsoft Update page.
  • Install the Microsoft Update client and check for updates.

After that, manually checking for updates seems to work normally on the machines we have tested. It seems that reverting back to Windows Update and then opting back in to Microsoft Update repairs the problem with the update client on the PC.

Some extra keywords for searches : 0x80246002, Microsoft Update, Windows Update, errorcode, fails, Windows 7, Win7, Win 7, search for updates, check for updates, manual update, manually update, wus, wsus, software update services

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