Fix Windows Update Error Code 8E5E03FA

I have Windows Vista installed on a virtual PC and recently I’ve not been able to install any Windows updates because I keep getting an error saying that the update failed. Taking a look at the error, it says the following:

Failed error code 8E5E03FA

Not very helpful! The event viewer does not show anything either that helps to determine what the problem is. Eventually, I found a post on some forum that helped me solve this. Apparently, one of more of the updates or patches becomes corrupt and therefore stops any update from being installed.

In order to fix this and get your updates installing again, you have to rename a particular folder in your system32 directory. Here’s how:

Step 1: First click on Start, then Programs, then Accessories, and right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run As. Make sure to enter an Administrator account.

run as administrator

Step 2: At the command prompt, type in net stop cryptsvc and wait for the service to stop.

net stop cryptsvc

Step 3: Type CD\ and press Enter. Now type CD windows\system32 and hit Enter.

windows update error

Step 4: Now type ren catroot2 catroot3 and press Enter. Catroot2 is where all the Windows certified drivers for the successful download and installation of Windows Updates are stored.

When these files get corrupted, Windows Update can fail. However, if you delete it, then Windows will re-create the folder using the protected system files, which are not corrupt, and therefore hopefully fix your problem.

So if you have not been able to install any Windows updates on Windows XP or Windows Vista, try the above method of renaming the catroot2 folder. Do not simply delete what’s inside the folder as this will not work.

Also, if you get an Access is Denied error when trying to delete catroot2, you have to make sure you are running the command prompt as an Administrator. You can also try to restart the computer in safe mode and then try to rename the folder.

Problems or questions? Post a comment and I will try to help! You can also quickly update multiple Windows computers with the latest updates using AutoPatcher. Enjoy!

Comments [15]

  1. Thank you sooooo much!! I've had so much trouble with my computer and after hours on the phone with both Windows and Dell I still was having problems. It worked and was easy to follow. Thank you very much!

  2. I tried to follow these instructions but for some reason my command prompt is not under my accessories tab. I was able to find it under search but when I typed in the net stop cryptsvc it said that an error 5 occured. I'm getting very frustrated and I was hoping you could help?

  3. You da man! Updated last week and ran into this issue out of no where, thanks to your straight forward instructions its back to updating successfully. Thank you.

  4. Have the same problem on windows 7 64-bit.

    Is it the same?

  5. @Eli

    Yes, I just used it to flawlessly fix my Windows 7 x64 bit, which encountered this error out of nowhere.

  6. Thanks for the help. Works for me.

  7. Many thanks for this advice. It worked in minutes and I have been able to receive all the new downloads.

    Much appreciated. Finding this has saved me time, money and a lot of worry!!

  8. Thanks a billion. The directions were so simple and easy to follow that I doubted it would work! Needless to say it did.

  9. Administrator account? Where do I find that or how to I make one?


  10. I have Windows 7 64-bit and not computer savy at all. I tried the fix but get access denied. My Prompt Window heading is Administrator: Command Prompt. Any ideas?? Thank you??

  11. works great on windows 7 64bit. Just one thing, dont forget to start the services again, otherwise it wont work.

    Thanks for the fix.

  12. I have this problem on a Win 7 64-bit Professional machine but my attempts to fix it haven’t worked.

    No problem stopping the service. On this machine the catroot2 folder is located in a different place: c:\Windows\SysWOW64\catroot2. I renamed it, restarted the service and tried the update but it failed the same way. I tried rebooting and doing the update but still get the failure. The catroot2 folder is not getting regenerated at all.

  13. The client, in this instance, asked questions about his VISTA operating system (that’s what I’m using). Your directions & graphics clearly shows Windows XP. Where the last line in your documentation reads: “Version 5.1, and then the last line reads Documents and Settings\akishore”, my VISTA reads: “Version 6.0, then my last line reads C:\Windows\system32”. So when I choose “Run as administrator” and then type in “net stop cryptsvc”, absolutely nothing happens. Is there a distinct difference between Windows XP and VISTA in this case ?(see top of box under steps 2 & 3)

  14. Just did it on windows 7 64-bit and it corrected the problem! Thank you very much and Happy New Year!

  15. Just used this to fix Vista 32 problem. Thank You!

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