Windows Update 80070002 Error with Vista

On June 30, 2009, in Technology, by Mike Waldron
Windows Update 80070002 Screen Shot

Windows Update 80070002 Screen Shot

First question: Do you have McAfee installed (or WAS it ever installed)?  If so, keep reading.  For those of you who don’t have McAfee, this article may help you – check and see if the file %windir%\system32\wuauclt.exe exists.  If it doesn’t keep reading.

McAfee at some point decided that the factory SP1 Vista System file c:\windows\system32\wuauclt.exe in VISTA was a virus.  On a system I was recently working on, I kept banging my head on the wall wondering what had happened to the Vista system in question.  No matter how you tried to apply Windows Updates, it would immediately fail with the error code 80070002.  The system was a Dell with the factory McAfee security suite installed.

After trying many fixes from multiple Google searches, such as removing pieces of c:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Downloads & Backup, Windows Updates still wouldn’t work.  Somewhere I stumbled on someone who had this same issue – it turns out McAfee will quarantine that file thus removing your Windows Update capabilities.

The fix is simple: restore the c:\windows\system32\wuauclt.exe from your Vista DVD or if you still have McAfee installed, un-quarantine the file.

In case you are lazy like I am, I have provided a SP1 version of the file at the end of this article which you can put into place instead of restoring from the DVD.  I have many computers on Vista and I just took the file from a working setup (Service Pack 1) and copied it in.  As soon as I replaced the file everything was right in the world and the computer started updating again.

One more reason to hate McAfee products.

Download wuauclt.exe (from Vista SP1) here!

Update 10/7/2009:
I’m so glad this article is helping people with the fix!  I remember that day spending 5 hours on that computer and wondering why no one had posted a solution elsewhere!

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23 Responses to Windows Update 80070002 Error with Vista

  1. Matt says:

    Thank you for the fix. It saved me a ton of time I’m sure.

  2. Glen says:


    Thank you! Not a techie and pulling my hair out trying to resolve this issue with all of the differing info out there.

    Again, can’t thank you enough.

  3. Chaithra says:

    Thanks a TON on this post!! This helped me get the Windows Update running and install the software I had been trying for 2 days. Thanks once again!

  4. Lanny says:

    Wow! I have been trying to install my updates for four months. Microsoft has sent me on more wild goose (geese?) chases that my head was spinning. I was ready to do a total reinstall. I know next to nothing about computers so that was not a very attactive option. After finding your web page and following the instuctions, 30 minutes later all my updates are installed. I had already changed my antivirus software so the wuauclt file was gone. The download you provided was a great help. I cannot thank you enough.

  5. Rick says:

    Bullguard did same thing.
    Have been trying for half a year now!
    Big thanx !!

  6. Ken says:

    Dude, thank you so much !!

  7. lou says:

    Thank you so much. I’ve been trying to fix this problem for a friend for two days. Unbelievable that microsoft has not been able to see this and offer such a simple fix. Thanks again!

  8. Robot says:

    Tank you very much, i have been searching for weeks to fix this problem.

    Thanks !!!

  9. Banditt says:

    You are da man! Many thanks to you. I have not encountered the McCrappy anti-virus taking out said file. What a bonehead move on their part. This fix worked like a charm.

  10. Bert says:

    YOU ARE THE MAN! This site needs to be published further so others can find this fix.

    Also… Fuck you McAfee!

  11. Bert says:

    By the way, I found that this was relevant even pre SP1.

  12. Kev says:

    I am going to try this because I have had such a torrid time with a similar problem – however can I be certain McAfee will not quarantine the file again?

  13. Paco says:

    Thank you! I have spent SO much time trying to solve this issue over the last few months. I can’t believe McAfee haven’t sorted this issue. It’s been almost six months since I last was able to run Windows Update successfully – now installing 80+ updates…


  14. paul says:

    bang on mate how useless is microsoft 32 emails n still dint fix the problem 2mins on your site and bingo thanks a bunch

  15. Bashar says:

    I have replaced this file in c:\windows\system32\wuauclt.exe but i saw that i have this file already but i copied it again but i stil have the same problem.

  16. salvador says:

    ey dude!! i tried doing your proceedure, but, the system asks me for administrator’s permission and i’m the administrator of this computer… what could i do?

  17. ss says:

    This solution did not work.

    1. Tried using the wuauclt.exe from the recovery disk.
    2. Used the one posted in this article.

    Both came back with the same error.

  18. May says:

    I have dell computer with Macafee, the file wuauclt.exe
    is aready existed in folder systems 32. Should I replace it from your download? I’m keep getting error 80070002 when I try uddating 🙁

  19. Ahsan says:

    lol, i just solved the issue on my windows 7.

  20. giesi says:

    thank you sooo much..:)

  21. Bill says:

    You are the man! Microsoft solutions suck! I spent at least an hour trying to solve this before I stumbled on your solution. I don’t have McAfee, I have Avira & Spyware doctor. I’m thinking one of them deleted this file.

  22. Steve says:

    Thank you very much!!! I can’t say that enough. I had been pulling my hair out for almost a year trying to get this problem fixed. I would work on it 1-2 hours here and there. I was to the point of having to do a complete format/install. Which would of taken me hours to get my tower programs loaded/installed correctly.

    I thought it funny that I didn’t find the answer on Microsoft’s website.

    Thank you again.!!! It fixed my computer. I had over 200 windows updates. But now it is good to go.

    YOU ROCK!! 🙂

  23. teenna says:

    this didn’t work for me.. .this wuauclt.exe that keeps popping up won’t quit. my windows defender is mess up; only part of the screen shows up so I cannot do anything with it. and this little window that pops up trying to run wuauclt.exe won’t run…. i turned off my spyware and firewall. still comes up; interupts anything i am in.

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