Windows administrators who install the October 2018 rollup patch on a Windows 7 device may run into error 0x8000FFFF once again.
Microsoft explained when update error 0x8000FFFF happens on Windows Update last month.
It boiled down to this: Microsoft released a Servicing Stack Update for the operating system back in October 2016 and made that update a requirement for the August 2018 update for Windows 7 Service Pack 1.
Systems threw error 0x8000FFFF when administrators attempted to install the monthly update rollout in August 2018 if the Servicing Stack Update was not installed on the device.
Microsoft promised to resolve the issue by pushing the Servicing Stack Update again to Windows Update. Previously, while it was marked critical back then, it was not installed on devices serviced with security updates only.
Microsoft wanted to avoid the same scenario by adding the security tag to the reissued update so that admins would not ignore it anymore.
Ideally, the issue should have been resolved by now. Admins should notice the Servicing Stack Update and install it on devices so that monthly rollup patches can be installed.
Problem is, this is not necessarily the case. Microsoft marked the Servicing Stack Update as exclusive and that turned out to cause another issue. Exclusive updates are not distributed with other updates. So, any other update pushed to the queue needs to be installed before the exclusive update can be installed using Windows Update.
As Woody Leonard puts it:
In simplest terms, a Windows update that’s marked “exclusive” won’t appear in the Update list until the whole queue is cleared out, either by installing everything that’s backed up, or by hiding available updates.
In other words: the required update to install the monthly rollup patch does not show up until the rollup update is installed. Since the rollup update requires the Servicing Stack Update to be installed, error 0x8000FFF is thrown and the vicious circle of getting nowhere continues.
Microsoft has yet to respond to the issue. Administrators who run into the issue may want to download the Servicing Stack Update from the Microsoft Update Catalog website to install it manually prior to running Windows Update or using other automated update systems to push the most recent updates to these systems.
It is clear that the updating system is still flawed in regards to Servicing Stack Updates, at least on Windows 7 devices. It would be a lot better if the update system would check for updates for components that it depends on first before it starts to check for other updates.
Issues like error 0x8000FFF would never have happened in that scenario.
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