Still hitting Error 0x8000FFF when installing the Win7 Monthly Rollup? There’s a reason.

There’s a well-known bug in the Win7 update installer that can throw error 0x8000FFF unless you pre-install an upgrade to the installer. I wrote about this Servicing Stack Update (SSU) requirement about a month ago.

Three weeks ago, Microsoft promised to fix the problem. Superficially, the problem shouldn’t exist anymore. But because of sloppy implementation, the bug’s still there, and people are still hitting error 0x8000FFF when they try to install Win7 Monthly Rollups. Fellow columnist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols hit the same problem yesterday.

To understand why the bug keeps appearing, you need to understand the concept of an “exclusive” Windows Update. 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.

On Patch Tuesday, Microsoft improved upon the years-old SSU for Windows 7, KB 3177467 and, this being Microsoft, released a new version with the old version’s KB number. As John Wilcox promised three weeks ago, that update is marked as both “critical” and “security.” (Many folks didn’t install it years ago because it wasn’t marked as a “security” update.)

Unfortunately, the new SSU is also marked “exclusive.” There’s a reason for that. Microsoft wants you to install the SSU separately from any other patches — you don’t want to fix the blender blades while they’re whirling, eh? Unfortunately, the installer logic isn’t robust enough to first scan for an update to itself, install only that update, reboot and continue.

The antiquated alternative is to force Windows Update to wait until it doesn’t have any other updates listed, and to then offer the SSU. That’s “exclusive.”

It’s also a very 1960s-style solution to an ongoing, and predictable, problem.

I’m sure you can see the chicken-and-egg problem. The Win7 Monthly Rollup appears. If you haven’t installed the SSU, it’ll die on an error 0x8000FFF, and then the Monthly Rollup gets added back to the Windows Update queue, thus hiding the SSU.

We have many posts on AskWoody describing the problem.

Perhaps we’ll get an answer, other than, oh golly, you have to manually install KB 3177467 before you install the Monthly Rollups — and you should know that by osmosis.

Thx, @abbodi86, @PKCano, @geekdom

There’s life left in the old, battle scarred Win7. We prove it daily on the AskWoody Lounge.

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