Code 80243004 – Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

When trying to install Windows Updates, you receive the following error:

Code 80243004 – Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

Code 80243004 - Windows Update encountered an unknown error

This is a documented issue by Microsoft and has a weird workaround.  Please follow the steps below for updates to continue installing.  Office KB article can be found here:

  1. Right click on the taskbar and select Properties.
    Code 80243004 - Properties
  2. Click the Customize… button on the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window.
    Code 80243004 - Customize
  3. On the Notification Area Icons window, make sure Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar is checked and click OK.
    Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar
  4. At this point, try running Windows Update again and the updates should begin to install properly.

Not sure why this fixes the issue, but it worked for me on a couple of virtual machines running in a VMware environment.  An additional thing I noticed is you can see the tray has “null icons”, where they are blanks of open applications; once you hover over them, they disappear/close.  Not sure if this is a bug with Windows and VMware VMs, but just thought it was a weird coincidence.  If you have had this same issue, could you please drop a comment below stating whether or not you received the same issue in a virtual environment?

67 thoughts on “Code 80243004 – Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

  1. Name

    Got this error in a VirtualBox-VM (Win7Ult64). Updated the machine a while ago, then used it, restored the old restore point to get a clean base, then tried to install updates. The symbols in the system tray where mostly blank, and when i hovered over them, they disappered. Must have been 10 or 20 blank symbols. Got 80243004, changed the Windows-Update-Symbol from “show notifications only” to “show notifications and symbol”, working again. Strange.

  2. Gareth Lawson

    I had the same problem, but the check box for show all notifications was already checked and just clicking ok didn’t solve the problem. I had to go back into the settings as described above and UNCHECK the show all notifications setting and that did the trick for me. I’m not sure if the server is a physical server or virtual, but I am pretty sure it is virtual (it is rented from a dedicated hosting provider). Windows Server R2 SP1 x64.

  3. Tonia

    Had the same issue on some VMs in a VMWare environment. Changing the icon in the notification area immediately resolved the issue. Thanks for the post!

    1. Jack Post author

      Hiding or showing the icon will not prevent windows updates from installing. The referenced Microsoft article is worded poorly in stating that if you experience this error, Windows Updates will not install with the icon hidden. If you do not experience this error and hide the icon, Windows Updates will still install properly.


      1. Andrew

        Jack. When I selected show all icons, it did not work. Had to individually select to show icon and notifications. Retried the updates and it worked properly

  4. Ron DeFulio

    Wow.. I’ve seen a lot of ridiculousness from Microsoft but this one takes the cake.. Thanks for this! Toggled the box (was unchecked, checked it) saw a slew of empty icons, moved my mouse over them all to make them go away, then clicked “try again” and sure enough the updates started downloading. Thanks Micro$oft!

  5. Rushikesh Kalyani

    Thank you so much Jake ! 🙂

    This worked like a charm for me 😛

    I too having this VM in VMware environment with exact same symptoms you mentioned.

    Bust still I am wonder, what the hell is this 🙁

    Anyways.. Thank you so much again!!


  6. Peter Engrav

    Thanks! Had somewhat ancient Win Server 2008 R2 guest running on 2012 R2 Hyper V host, hadn’t updated in ages, tried to catch up, hit exactly this. Fix worked! Crazy. You should add “hold your nose and spin around once clockwise” to the incantation…

  7. Aron

    Worked for me! Thanks so much.
    Now this is supper supper weird, what is the connection of this setting to the bug??
    What I’m more amazed is, how in the world did you figure that???????


  8. James

    I’m running three Windows 2008 R2 servers in Hyper-V 2012 R2 and was having the same issue. I used your fix and it worked. Thanks for helping me quit pulling my hair out.

  9. Theo

    I looked at this fix and thought WTF are these people thinking.
    Tried the Fix and my VM is now updating……

    And Thanks for the FIx

  10. Alain Therrieur

    Wow Windows 7 x64 running on hyper-v 2012R2. Checking the always show notification fixed the windows update issue. Wth microsoft why u do this

  11. Seth Lipscher

    This absolutely worked on my non-vm physical PC. No reboot or anything. Just checked that box and updates started working.

  12. Steve

    We have 12 VMware virtual servers, most 2012/R2 but a couple 2008 and R2. Our print server is 2008 R2 and it refused to update, coming back with Error Code 80243004. This workaround did the trick perfectly! Thanks for the advice.

  13. Bugenhagan

    Came across this article when I ran to this error on a desktop on our LAN. Makes no sense to me how this would work but it sure did. Thanks!

  14. Lydia Rice

    Many thanks. This fixed it for me, too. I had the problem running a VM under AWS, which may be VMWare inside for all I know, but it could just as easily be some mutant home-grown Amazon virtualisation platform.

  15. Jeff

    This worked perfectly on Win 2008 vms running on vmware that I have never been able to get to sucessfully update. I really wish I knew why this worked. How did you discover this trick????!

  16. Kevin

    Too funny everyone, Thanks JS, totally saved my a$$ from having to report 4 fails tomorrow morning 🙂

  17. Amit Shetye

    Its awesome… in first look I was thinking is it the solution? but yes its worked for me.. !! Thanks you.

  18. Pedro

    That was a totally random solution. I could never think of something like this myself. But it works like a charm, so crazy how Windows OS is…. Btw, you did find this issue yourself by trial and error? It is just curiosity, because no relationship can be established if u didn’t program Windows and know whats going behind it.

    1. Jack Post author

      Just a combination of what others have posted around the web and filtering out what did and didn’t work for me.

  19. Per

    Worked for me as well, thanks for posting this! Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. STRANGE! 🙂 But happy to get the patches in to hopefully get rid of WannaCry… 🙁

  20. Dale

    Dell Asus X401A, Windows 7 Pro (upgrade from Win 7 Home). Switching back and forth from checking and un-checking “Always show all icons” to run updates. Had a few empty icons that did not go away after hovering or clicking on them. Thank you Jack!

  21. Sam

    Colour me stunned but super happy! 43 critical updates, 10 optional ones, and no luck for two days, then I find this page and BAM! All downloaded and installed within a few hours. Windows 7 Home Premium, the laptop hasn’t been out of it’s bag for over TWO YEARS, but YAAY! It’s now available for my latest project….

  22. liktor

    Old, but gold 🙂 This post helped me with an old machine, thank you. This taskbar-thingy-quick-fix magic saved my day. One of my friend told me: This is an easter egg with bug which fix another issue 😀

  23. Kosuke

    I had exactly same issue on VMWare virtual machine environment and this works!!
    Thank you so much for sharing this info!!

  24. Anna

    Thank you very much Jake!
    I have a 2008 r2 on a VMware environment, with all the symptoms you mentioned. The solution you shared with us allowed the installation of the WU.

  25. M. Woodland

    Running Windows 2008 R2 on VM. This fixed the Error code 80243004 issue and allowed me to install Windows updates. Many thanks!!

  26. Dave P

    Definitely an odd solution. It would be interesting to hear the backstory on how this was discovered.

    Thanks for writing up this ‘fix’

  27. chad

    I really can’t believe this just worked. I mean, a part of me expected nothing less, but I really doubted it.

    Thanks for the post and saving me from having to wade through MS documents.

  28. Douglas Schmidt

    It worked. Seems like a strange fix, but hey it worked, and the updates are now applying. I had the additional problem first that the update service was not running so had to recreate the SoftwareDistribution file by stopping, renaming the file, then starting the service wuauserv:
    net stop wuauserv
    ren c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution softwaredistribution.old
    net start wuauserv
    This was done from an administrator command prompt.

  29. Noel

    Thanks Jack it worked for me on a Dell Latitude laptop running windows 7. I checked the show all notifications and icons in taskbar and saw all the blank programs as you stated and they disappeared as I hovered over all of them. Then I tried to install updates again and it worked. About to restart the laptop now. Thanks again.

  30. Richard In Willesden

    Worked for me with Win 7 Home Premium. Last updated 6 months ago with no issue, laptop (Acer Aspire 1410) then not used until now and suddenly the problem occurred. Update worked but Taskbar not working properly for some reason which I’ll investigate….


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *