Windows 11 updates are still failing to install with mysterious error messages

Woman annoyed at laptop
(Image credit: / Butsaya)

Windows 11’s latest updates have been hit by yet another bug that causes the installation process to fail while producing a mysterious and unhelpful error message.

This problem has been plaguing Windows 11 users for some time now, and as Windows Latest reports, it’s continuing to frustrate some folks who can’t install the January update from Microsoft (known as patch KB5022303), and the recent optional update for January released last week (KB5022360 – a preview update which will be fully honed and released in February).

Those encountering the glitch will simply be told that the installation has failed with an error code, the most commonly witnessed one being ‘0x800f0831’, but other mysterious strings of hexadecimal code which mean precisely nothing to the average user can also pop up. Like good old ‘0x800f0988’ for example.

As highlighted by Windows Latest, a typical report from a user (on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub) runs like this: “My HP laptop has been unable to successfully install the most current update: 2023-01 Cumulative Update for Windows 11 Version 22H2 for x64-based Systems (KB5022303) in which the following message/error code is given: ‘Failed to install on 1/15/2023 – 0x800f0988’”.

Another poster on Microsoft’s support forum writes: “Struggling with a windows update: Cumulative Update for Windows 11 Version 22H2 for x64-based Systems (KB5022303). Install error – 0x800f0988. Have run troubleshooting on the updates and tried to reinstall but this does not seem to work. Is there a simple fix? It’s been a problem for a while and it seems others have the same issue.”

Analysis: An ongoing issue that really needs to be put to bed

Is there a simple fix, then? Well, the short answer to that is nope, apparently not. And the bug has been ongoing for some time now, as that last poster mentions; indeed for a good six months now, Windows 11 updates have been stumbling into failure in this manner for some users.

The advice we’ve seen in the past as a potential workaround is to try (temporarily) turning off your third-party antivirus, and we guess it can’t hurt to give that a whirl – but you may well get just as much mileage from crossing your fingers and praying to the silicon deities that all will be well.

Microsoft has said in the past that it’s investigating these ongoing installation errors, but we’ve heard nothing about any progress on this front, and clearly, this is still a thorn in the side for some users. Hopefully not for much longer…

While an optional update, like the very latest one, is no big deal, the main patch for January certainly is, and being unable to install KB5022303 means that you’re lacking a bunch of security fixes, so your PC could potentially be vulnerable to attack.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).