I'm an advanced level user here with an odd issue. I have two Windows Updates that are failing to install, every single time. I'm getting a mysterious "Code 1" error on both updates, an error for which I'm having difficulty finding a solution.

The updates in question are:

  • Security Update for Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package (KB2538243)
  • System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB947821) [May 2011]

Because these updates are failing, the Shut Down button in my start menu always has the shield icon next to it, indicating that "new" updates will be installed on shut down. But, of course, they'll fail and when the PC is restarted, the shield icon is still there.

When checking the update history and viewing the details of the failed updates, I get the following:

Security Update for Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package (KB2538243)
Installation date: ‎6/‎29/‎2011 3:00 AM
Installation status: Failed
Error details: Code 1
Update type: Important

A security issue has been identified leading to MFC application vulnerability in DLL planting due to MFC not specifying the full path to system/localization DLLs. You can protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

More information: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=216803


System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB947821) [May 2011]
Installation date: ‎6/‎28/‎2011 3:00 AM
Installation status: Failed
Error details: Code 1
Update type: Important

This tool is being offered because an inconsistency was found in the Windows servicing store which may prevent the successful installation of future updates, service packs, and software. This tool checks your computer for such inconsistencies and tries to resolve issues if found.

More information: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947821

About My System

I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. This is a custom PC build and the OS was installed fresh, not an upgrade from a previous version. I've been running this system for about four months. Windows Updates aside, the system is usually quite stable.

  • In my experience, (automatic) updates usually fail because I am too low on free space. I don’t know if that applies to you. – Synetech Jun 30 '11 at 2:15
  • I sure hope someone comes up with the answer to this. I have exactly the same problem (Windows 7 Enterprise, x64). I've tried every trick and method suggested by every article I can find. The kicker? I'm running a build from Microsoft IT and (usually) get my updates from internal MS servers. – BillP3rd Jul 2 '11 at 0:02
  • 1
    Have you looked in %systemroot%\windowsupdate.log? Whole lotta info in there! – kreemoweet Dec 29 '11 at 7:54
  • You may want to follow the diagnostic methodology mentioned on Mark Russinovich's Blog that uses the logging capabilties of Sysinternals Process Monitor to get more information about what is going on during installs. It's not a guaranteed fix, however, it may get you a little closer to the root cause. – Trav Dec 24 '12 at 7:54

The best way to attack this is to download them directly and run them that way. You will get more verbose errors in many cases.



Post back any errors.

  • 2
    Okay, so when I tried to run vcredist_x64.exe, I receive this helpful error, even when running with admin privileges. i54.tinypic.com/26449hi.jpg In another real SHOCKER, the System Update Readiness Tool resulted in the following: i52.tinypic.com/2euiyde.jpg So much for "more verbose." :( – Chris C. Jun 30 '11 at 3:14
  • Silly enter key. Sorry if you got a partial post at first. – Chris C. Jun 30 '11 at 3:20

I'm assuming that you're not running any antivirus programs other than Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). If you are, then try uninstalling the other antivirus programs, then installing MSE before continuing.

Now, I know this might sound silly, but you should try running the Windows Update Troubleshooter. I tend not to trust these built-in troubleshooters, either, but this one has worked for me in the past.

If that fails, try doing a "clean boot," then run Windows Update again.

If THAT fails, then I'd try contacting Microsoft. Believe it or not, they have an entire team dedicated to helping people install security updates. They helped out a buddy of mine last year with a similar problem. The twitter is @MicrosoftHelps and phone numbers are available at support.microsoft.com .

Best of luck!


Whenever I come across Windows Update problems, I find this http://www.thewindowsclub.com/repair-fix-windows-updates-with-fix-wu-utility tends to fix the majority of issues.


I've found that the Windows Update Program does not always install multiple updates in the correct order. If a group of updates fails, try again without enabling the first update listed, and do not try the first update again until you get at least one other update installed and do a restart or a reboot.

If the first update in the group succeeds, but a later one in the group fails, just do a restart or a reboot, then try again.

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