Error when you install an update for Windows: "Error Code FFFFFFFE"

Article ID: 2525311 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you try to install an update for Windows, the installation fails. Additionally, you receive the following error:
Error Code FFFFFFFE

CAUSE

This issue may occur if the system is infected by malware (malicious software).

RESOLUTION

If you receive Windows Update error FFFFFFFE, this means that an update cannot be installed because of a problem on your computer. This problem is usually caused by a malware (malicious software) infection. To prevent your computer from becoming unstable, Windows does not install the update.

To resolve this problem, we recommend that your reinstall Windows 7 by using the Custom installation option and that you format the hard disk. Make sure that you back up your files before you reinstall Windows 7. After the installation is complete, you can restore your files and then install or reinstall antivirus software.

Warning Formatting erases any existing files on a hard disk. If you format a hard disk that contains files, the files will be deleted.

Reinstall Windows 7, and then format the hard disk

To reinstall Windows 7 and then format the hard disk drive, follow these steps:
  1. Back up your files. For more information about how to create a backup, visit the following Microsoft website:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Back-up-your-files
  2. Reinstall Windows 7 by using the Custom installation option, and then format the hard disk. For more information about how to do this, see the "Using the Custom installation option and formatting the hard disk" section of the following Microsoft webpage:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Installing-and-reinstalling-Windows-7
  3. Install antivirus software. For more information about how to defend your computer against malware, visit the following Microsoft website:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/How-can-I-help-protect-my-computer-from-viruses
  4. Restore your files. To learn how to restore files, visit the following Microsoft website:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Restore-files-from-a-backup
Note Some antivirus software is sold with annual subscriptions that can be renewed as needed. However, much antivirus software is also available for free. Microsoft offers Microsoft Security Essentials, free antivirus software that you can download from the Microsoft Security Essentials website. You can also visit the Windows Consumer security software providers website to find third-party antivirus software.
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

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Article ID: 2525311 - Last Review: March 22, 2011 - Revision: 1.0
APPLIES TO
  • Windows 7 Service Pack 1, when used with:
    • Windows 7 Home Basic
    • Windows 7 Home Premium
    • Windows 7 Professional
    • Windows 7 Ultimate
    • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
Keywords: 
kbtshoot kbexpertisebeginner kbsecurity KB2525311

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