Feb 092008

When you try to install Vista SP1 from windows update you may receive the error code 80073712.This is the most common problem for many users.I hope this solution will work for you.


The issue is that the WUA 3.0 (7.0.6000.374) upgrade is corrupted,essentially the system reports the WUA to be 7.0.6000.374 but the files on the disk are still from the old version (you can check some of the DLLs like wups.dll, wuaueng.dll etc… in the windows\system32) … and you cannot install the WUA 3.0 even manually.

delete the following file


Since Windows security will not allow you to do this, here under the procedure to take ownership of the file

run a command prompt with “Run as Administrator”.

Type in the following commands

takeown /f C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml

cacls C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml /G <YourUsername>:F

then delete the file and Reboot the machine

Reinstall the Windows Update Agent

Windows, x86-based systems download from here

Windows, x64-based systems download from here

save to the desktop, and run from an elevated command prompt, adding /wuforce to the end of the command

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  22 Responses to “Fix for Vista SP1 install error 80073712 through windows update”



  2. i don’t have the pending.xml file
    only pending.GRL
    i have vista 64 ultimate

  3. No pending.xml file.
    I’ve decided to share the pain. Microsoft has free support for SP1 installations, so I’ve spent the last 5 hours with them, trying to install SP1. Many reboots, black screens and different methods…
    So far, not installed.

    What’s the point trying to debug Microsoft’s problems? They have staff, let them do it.

  4. I have Vista SP1 Ultimate and this error exists still in trying to download anything. I also can’t install Windows Live Messenger.

    I have two separate MS support calls that have been working for over a week and no solution.

    Like others, I have no pending.xml file, and the KB947821 does not apply to SP1.

  5. even after deleting the pending.xml still getting the same error 80073712 during SP1 instyallation.

  6. No pending.xml, what is the next step from here now?

  7. This worked great for me. I also combined it with the following from another windows help log:

    Click the Start button . In the Search box, type Command Prompt, and then, in the list of results, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.

  8. I ended up have to do an in place upgrade using a Windows disc that MS sent me with SP1 already installed. It worked – thank goodness but I tried everything else and this was the only thing that worked. At least I didn’t have to do a clean install and lose everything already on the machine. Worked quickly and well.

  9. This fix worked for me:

    Throw your Vista PeeCee in the trash.

    Go to the Apple Store and get a Mac.

    Problem solved.

  10. I have windows system 32. The commands given above are obsolete for this. Please suggest appropriate directions. While updating I het error 80073712.

  11. I’d been getting this coded error ever since I upgraded from XP to Vista. The following link and download make this error go away. Finally! Microsoft has software to analyze and then fix (hopefully) these type of installing update issues. It’s called, System Update Readiness Tool for Windows Vista and for Windows Server 2008 at this site:


    Good luck.

  12. Bonjour
    Je n’arrive pas à configurer la mise à jour KB961260 pour IE 7 pour VISTA
    code errer 800719E4
    voila merci pour votre aide
    a bientot la solution

  13. Uninstall google desktop. there is a conflict with vista and google desktop. I have had this problem several times and this has always fixed the issue.

  14. I did not have the pending.xml file. I only had a cleanup.xml
    So I followed the same steps with cleanup.xml just to see (instead of deleting, I cut and pasted it to my desktop incase I was wrong and had to move it back.. either that or its a fresh install.. which Id have to do anyways from all the stuff Ive tried to fix)
    and it worked!

    Follow the same steps as above to remove the pending.xml, but instead replace with cleanup.xml
    follow the link, restart.. then update the annoying file.
    THIS worked for me, HOPEFULLY this solves others same problems as well.

  15. I tried going through the steps with cleanup.xml, but when I got to the last step and tried to install the update agent with the /wuforce argument it said, “Windows Update Agent Installer encountered unrecoverable error.”

  16. Tom’s comment on Feb 22, 2009 didn’t work for me either. The service was already started.

  17. 1. download the system readiness tool (the latest version), run and reboot after.

    2. if it still fails, check %windir%/logs/cbs/checksur

    3. check any corrupted or missing files indicated.

    4. provide a clean copy of that file on another working vista unit.

    This step fixed my 80073712 error.

  18. Thank you very much. I was not able to follow what was going on and bumped on to your post while searching the error message. Saved my day!

  19. Hello

    when I get to the last step and tried installing the update agent with the /wuforce argument it said, “Windows Update Agent Installer encountered unrecoverable error.”

    Please suggest an alternative to fix this error message.


  20. Hi, I tried the fix for 80073712 and it said the system could not find the file. So what do I do next my machine is slowing down and I cannot get any updates?

  21. At some point I had to format my laptop and full restore the entire thing when I came up with the problem in Vista Basic.
    I tried using the procedure above but I had a problem beacuse I still did not release administration priviledges to me…

    run a command prompt with “Run as Administrator” and map the
    file pending xml using (cd .. & cd winsxs)
    Type in the following commands

    takeown /f pending.xml
    cacls /E /G “YourUsername”:F
    del pending.xml

    Reinstall the Windows Update Agent

  22. Nothing works .. but only this method saved the day!!!

    System Update Readiness Tool for Windows Vista and for Windows Server 2008 at this site:


    Remember 32bit version is called 86 so download that if you have 32bit version. “All supported x86-based versions of Windows Vista”
    Good luck!

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