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What is Windows 10 error 0x80070003, and how do I fix it?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / September 1, 2017 4:12 PM PDT

I have a HP laptop with Windows 10. When it goes to update, it goes for about 20 min and then says it can't update and goes about another 20 minutes to uninstall the incomplete updates. It gives an error code of 0x80070003. I've tried a lot of fixes and then went for this program to fix it, but backed out because they wanted a monthly fee. Can someone tell me how to fix this (in very simple language) or recommend a program that will work for a small fee? Thank you in advance.

--Submitted by Larry D.

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A quick Google shows this.
by Dafydd Forum moderator / September 1, 2017 4:41 PM PDT

Post was last edited on September 1, 2017 4:48 PM PDT

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Error Messages
by lsjparalegal / September 8, 2017 6:38 PM PDT

Unfortunately this link does not pertain to OS 10.

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Do not worry
by djps55 / September 1, 2017 5:10 PM PDT

If it ask for a fee it’s not coming from Microsoft
They would not ask for a fee to fix any errors you get when trying to do updates
Google that error number you will find info to correct this error message
Good luck

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Reply from Dafydd is Best But Here's an Alternative
by gaucherre / September 1, 2017 5:31 PM PDT

Post was last edited on September 1, 2017 5:35 PM PDT

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Something Neither Fix Seems to Mention Clearly
by Hforman / September 2, 2017 3:11 AM PDT

Both your solution and the one that Dafy mntioned: neither seems to clearly mention that the account you are using to login to Windows must be an "Administrator" account. If the user tries and gets "Access Denied", they need to be running as an admin.

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Don't Waste Time or Money - MS Will Fix For You Immediately
by mijcar / September 1, 2017 10:21 PM PDT

Find the app named "Get Help". This should be on your computer: Just click Start, then begin typing. They app should be at the top of list or a link will appear to the free app in the store. Run it.

When it asks for a description of the problem, don't waste time with elaborate explanations. The problem is your "system won't update." That is sufficient.

You will probably be given a choice of "Call Me" or "Chat". Either one works -- you will be given the opportunity to have the technician sign on to your computer long distance to fix it. It's free. Follow their instructions to set it up, let them do the work. And it's done.


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MS will fix it for you?
by PMasters666 / September 8, 2017 10:57 PM PDT

Is this actually to Microsoft, or is it to some con artists, perhaps in India, who will fix your computer with a boatload of viruses, etc.

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It is really Microsoft
by bgcbgc / September 9, 2017 10:06 AM PDT

It is really Microsoft and they fixed it for me.

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Yes, it really is MS
by mijcar / September 9, 2017 11:34 AM PDT
In reply to: It is really Microsoft

It's their built-in "Contact Support" app. It's their employee who responds. And their scripts are up-to-date.

They fixed it for two computers in my household and at least one other that I maintain for someone else.


This is not like the parasites who call up and claim they have contracts with MS and have discovered that your computer has a virus. (MS never calls you unsolicited.)

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This is actually Microsoft and they solved the problem
by bgcbgc / September 9, 2017 10:05 AM PDT

Used this option and worked with a Microsoft techie for about an hour to get this resolved. Something had broken in the update process and as a result I had an older version of Windows 10 on the machine. The technician, Jaime L., was great and informed me of each step of the process. You do have to observe and interact with the tech during the entire process even though they have control of your machine.

I recommend going this route as it solved the problem and I had already wasted time on the MS troubleshooting process and their other suggestions.

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Don't Waste Time or Money - MS will fix for you immediately
by bhannah1 / September 10, 2017 6:02 AM PDT

While I appreciate the the thought, I have encountered this issue multiple times on several Windows platforms. Microsoft support has been worse than useless and has not helped in the slightest. I now 2 Win 7 machines that are trashed because of bad patches and a Win 8.1 machine that is also the same way. I initially signed into the Microsoft Support site then searched the error messages. I then tried to correct the issues with steps provided. This did not correct the issue. I also have observed on the Microsoft site that there was a large number of people with the same issue, and they were also dealing with the inability to correct the problem. When I posed the question that steps did not work they tried to pass the issue off as an Hardware issue which is amusing since the drive itself if locked by the failed patches. I am still waiting for a way from Microsoft to correct the issue that they created with the failed patches.

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Some Tips for getting help (yourself)
by Jediram / September 1, 2017 10:44 PM PDT

Hello there,

the important answers where mostly told, so here the thought process:

1. Google or any other search machine is your friend
- Type your OS Name and version followed by error and the number you get
- in this case "Windows 10 error 0x80070003"

2. you will get probably a long list, these search yielded 86,200 results
- you see you are not alone, so at least one other person has the same error

3. Try some of the specific forums or the microsoft support page
- for example has Microsoft Staff lingering there and waiting to help you.
- In most times there is already a thread with the same topic created, try to choose one for your
- OS version as there can be the same error but different ways to solve it.

- The Microsoft support page is the "official" answer to your problem, so at least give it a try or check point 4
- pointed out by Dafydd ""
- On this page we can already see that the update is missing files even after successfully downloading and extracting the files.
- Other forums can also come in handy but these are mostly for the experienced users
- example the techfaqs page mentioned by gaucherre is perhaps viable but not perfect check the posts in the bottom.

4. Try the Troubleshooter
- Microsoft has for nearly every component a handy troubleshooter
- use
- you can download the tool and start it from your download location and will be guided through the process.
- If the troubleshooter can help you, you are good to go but sometimes it will stumble and can't repair the faulty component.

5. Let your friend help
If you can't do it yourself, ask your friend or colleague as they should understand that not everyone can be technically adept

6. Reinstall Windows
- If nothing helps just do a clean install (Warning loss of Data and/or personal documents is possible) and you can brag like in old times "yeah, had to reinstall windoze because ...."

the Internet has the answer use Google-fu to get it
select best option
You are now officially a Tech-expert

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DIY Is Not Always The Best Strategy
by mijcar / September 1, 2017 11:32 PM PDT

This particular problem is common, but I have not found any of the linked suggestions on the MS site to be useful for myself or any of the systems I help maintain.

Reinstalling Windows is Easy, but you will lose all third party apps and even some MS apps -- these will need to be reinstalled, will require the installation apps and original keys. Some apps may not allow for a fresh installation will your providing an explanation.

A clean reinstall should be the absolute last option!

MS takes full responsibility for any updating issues and will help you directly.

Use the Get Help option and ... well ... get help.

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You can reinstall Windows system files without losing apps,
by Gordon_Hay / September 2, 2017 2:49 AM PDT

third-party programs and files etc. as long as you are still able to boot into windows on your PC, by using installation media.

If you don't have an installation drive follow the instructions here -

Plug the USB in with windows up and running, open the folder and run the setup.exe file - you will then be given the option to reinstall only the system files leaving all your apps, third-party programs and files intact. The process will also download the latest updates before proceeding with the installation.

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Slight Problem
by bhannah1 / October 6, 2017 6:55 AM PDT

If the existing drive is locked due to the error caused, this will not work. it will boot into the install area, and then return an error that says the drive is locked and will need to be repaired. I have 3 HD's that have this error and will not boot. You boot into install feature, it returns the error, your then go to advanced and run the fix commands to remove the drive locking and then attempt to repair it and does not.

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Worked Great
by bgcbgc / September 9, 2017 10:32 AM PDT

Great suggestion. I took it and it worked out very well.

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Error code approach
by SEinson / September 2, 2017 6:38 AM PDT

Search for the error code online with the following text:

Win 10 error code 0x80070003

There will be many hits.
Follow any tips from or any of the respected Win 10 Forums.
Read more than one before proceeding.

Here is a typical link.

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This is One of The Easier Issues to Resolve
by AjTrek / September 2, 2017 2:41 PM PDT

Hi Larry

I agree with Dafydd. Follow the link provided in his post. Go through steps 1 thru 5. On step 5 be sure to heed the warning to Home Users and select one of the Blue Boxes. The results are the same as they are both governed by Microsoft Article ID: 10164 - Last Review: Jul 12, 2017 - Revision: 49.

As far using Command Prompt...I’m going to make a SWAG and caution you against that level of trouble shooting. Command Prompt is an excellent tool if you know how to use it properly. Typing a wrong symbol and hitting enter (before you realize it was typed incorrectly) can lead to dire complications with your operating system. Command Prompt and the Registry are two areas not intended for the novice. However, that said…we all learn by doing. Just be careful. Mischief

Note: Command Prompt in Windows 10…there are two levels_Standard and Elevated. I’m not sure if you’ll need Elevated…but you’ll know right away because you won’t be able to execute the commands given in the link provided by SEinson. To reach the elevated level after typing Command Prompt in the Cortana search field and before you LEFT click on the result…RIGHT click and select_Run as Administrator.

As Hforman said you need to have Administrator privileges to perform any of the tasks mentioned. If you setup your computer yourself you have them. To verify that you do go to: Settings > Accounts. You will see Your Info and just below it you’ll see either Administrator or Standard User. If Standard User you obviously had someone else setup your computer which means they are the Administrator. If that is the case they will have to change your access level or perform the tasks for you.

There has also been talk about Clean Install of Windows 10 and the downside to wipe out your files. If it comes to that point where you need to Refresh Windows 10 you can do so with a feature called Reset This PC. There you will have two options: Keep My Files or Remove Everything. Keep My Files means just what it says although you will have to re-install Apps and update your settings. The upside is that before you execute the Refresh…Windows will give you a list of what will be removed so that you can write it down and know what must be re-installed. Often you may find things that you forget were on your PC and decide not to re-install them. Just go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery to access the Reset This PC feature.

If enabled you may want to consider not delaying Windows Updates. There are more Pro’s IMO than Con's but that’s another can of worms for discussion that my fellow Community members like to debate. Wink

I hope this with all the other great advice you’ve received resolves your problem with Windows 10 Update.

Together Everyone Achieves More = TEAM

Post was last edited on September 5, 2017 1:43 PM PDT

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Great info!
by sea.bass / September 9, 2017 4:23 AM PDT

Only read a few responses but this one I will treasure for its advice about Refresh. I hope that I am not mistaken in thinking that this would be one way of ridding viruses/Trojans/whatever if ever it came to it?
Thank you very much. John

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The short answer is yes, however...
by AjTrek / September 9, 2017 9:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Great info!
Reset This PC (aka Refresh) in Windows 8 thru 10 should be a LAST resort. I could write a long answer just to show how smart I am; Wink but that would be self-serving and a waste of your valuable time.

Here’s a link to a trusted site that has excellent advice, analysis and graphics to help you through the process of determining if Reset This PC is warranted. There’s also recommendations on Best Practices regarding how to protect and prevent your computer from being infected and how-to-steps for removal.

Note: Be forewarned there are product recommendations made. I personally use Malware Bytes.

I hope this answers your question. Also, thanks for liking my post…very much appreciated.

Together Everyone Achieves More = TEAM
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I have malwarebytes but
by sea.bass / September 9, 2017 10:19 AM PDT

I thought that malwarebytes didn't do the anti-virus/Trojans type stuff, just ... I'm not sure now what it does do! Those niggly little pop-ups for one. Which reminds me, from day one when I used IE on my new w10 machine it my searches got directed via some other site. Never use it now. \ But sorry I am getting off track

Many thanks again and for what-to-do-if-you-get-a-virus-on-your-computer


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You are correct..sort of...
by AjTrek / September 9, 2017 11:10 AM PDT

Malware Bytes is not intended as a full-on Antivirus Suite. I use Norton Compete as my everyday antivirus protector. In fact I'm also testing BitDefender 2017 on another Win10 PC. I use Malware Bytes as a periodic scan engine for Trojans and deep down embedded spyware, rootkits and the like. For reference you might compare Malware Bytes to a Windows Defender on steroids. The link I gave you speaks more to Malware Bytes and how it fits into your arsenal of PC protectors. Hope this clarifies things. Cheers!

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by Glenn51 / September 9, 2017 10:35 AM PDT

AWESOME program! I use the free one as I'm cheap! LOL! I use Malwarebytes, which has saved the wife's, daughters and my bacon MORE than once, Plus Norton Utilities and Norton Security Suite is "MY" fabulous threesome for our computer security!!!
Yes I know some people hate, loathe and detest anything Norton but that's my story and I'm a sticking to it!!

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This is One of The Easier Issues to Resolve
by bhannah1 / September 20, 2017 5:55 AM PDT

While I will agree with some of the statements made, what do you do when the drive is locked by the failed patches, it tells you to run the repair utility on the install media. You insert the install media in the CD / DVD drive and reboot and it immediately returns an error saying that it cannot repair / refresh / or back up to another restore point. You go to advanced and run the command line commands and they do not fix the issue either even though they say that they completed successfully and repair still will not run. Next, due to the drive being locked, it is impossible for someone to remote into the system because it will not boot into a state where someone can actually remote in. I have seen this error occur in Win 7, Win 8, and Win 10. I have actually exchanged emails and talked to Microsoft support, and gotten no where.

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Just Curious...
by AjTrek / September 20, 2017 7:00 AM PDT

although you said the drive " will not boot into a state where someone can actually remote in" ...did you try booting into Safe Mode? If not here's a link on how to remove Windows Updates and Patches for Win 7, 8, and 10 via Safe Mode. Just remember there's always a chance a drive has been "Bricked" and in that case we're SOL (without seeking the help of a professional recovery service for $$$). Cry

Together Everyone Achieves More = TEAM

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Just Curious
by bhannah1 / September 20, 2017 9:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Just Curious...

The Boot error and drive locked occurs before it will allow you to go to safe mode. It is one of the things that I initial tried. The drive can be accessed while it is in an external enclosure when it is not seen as a boot drive. I am not sure what Microsoft locked in the boot sector of the drive and in another forum that is on the Microsoft site there are a lot of others that are having the same issue.

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by AjTrek / September 20, 2017 11:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Just Curious

That the drive will boot when in an enclosure. So tell me was the drive in question swapped out from another PC? Some of the newer PC's have the HD serialized to the Motherboard or UEFI. Long story short if the HD doesn't recognize the Motherboard or UEFI or vice-versa due to serialization the PC won't boot.

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by bhannah1 / September 21, 2017 5:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Interesting

It is not booting and is not being used as a boot drive when it is in the enclosure. It is being recognized as an external HD. It is locked when it is mounted as the primary drive in the PC.

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You didn't answer my question
by AjTrek / September 21, 2017 6:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Interesting

Was the drive with which you are having the boot issue ever used in another PC?

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You didn't answer my question.
by bhannah1 / September 22, 2017 6:34 AM PDT


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