I have Windows Vista installed on a virtual PC and I have been unable to install any Windows updates lately because I keep getting the update error message. Looking at the error, you will see the following:
Failed error code 8E5E03FA
Not very helpful! The Event Viewer also doesn’t show anything to help determine what the problem is. In the end, I found a post on some forum that helped me solve this problem. It appears that one or more updates or patches are corrupted and therefore prevents any updates from being installed.
To fix this and install updates again, you need to rename a specific folder in the System32 directory.
Fix error code 8E5E03FA
Step 1. First click “Start”, then “Programs”, then “Accessories”, right-click Command Prompt and select “Run As”. Be sure to log into an administrator account.
Step 2. At the command prompt, enter net stop cryptsvc and wait for the service to stop.
Step 3: Type CD and press Enter. Now type CD windows system32 and press Enter.
Step 4: Now type ren catroot2 catroot3 and press Enter. Catroot2 is where all certified Windows drivers are stored to successfully download and install Windows updates.
When these files get corrupted, Windows Update can fail. However, if you delete it, Windows will re-create the folder using protected system files that are not corrupted, and therefore will hopefully solve your problem.
Therefore, if you were unable to install Windows updates on Windows XP or Windows Vista, try the above method to rename the catroot2 folder. Don’t just delete what’s inside the folder, it won’t work.
Also, if you receive an “Access Denied” error when you try to uninstall catroot2, you need to make sure you run Command Prompt as an administrator. You can also try restarting your computer in Safe Mode and then trying to rename the folder.
Problems or Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll try to help! Enjoy!