The 0x800f0831 error is typically discovered by affected users in the WindowsUpdate.log using the Event Viewer after the conventional installation of a cumulative update fails. Although the issue is mostly occurring in relation to Windows Server Update services, it’s also confirmed to appear on end-user Windows versions.
As it turns out, the most popular cause that will trigger this error message is a missing manifest of the previous update package. In other words, the WU (Windows Update) component is not aware of what was last installed, so it refuses to install new update packages. If this scenario is applicable, you can get the issue resolved by installing the missing update manually.
Another potential cause that will lead to the 0x800f0831 error is a scenario in which your end-user machine cannot communicate with Windows Update servers. This can either be facilitated by system file corruption or VPN connections or Proxy servers.
However, the issue can also be caused by a disabled WU service or a missing .NET 3.5 Framework. In this case, you’ll need to enable the framework from the Windows Features menu or you can install it from a compatible installation media.
In rare circumstances, Windows updates might fail with the 0x800f0831 error due to some type of system corruption. This can either be resolved by using System Restore, performing SFC & DISM scans, or by refreshing the components of your OS (via Clean install or Repair install).
How to Troubleshoot and Fix Error 0x800f0831 during Windows Update?
Method 1: Install the missing update manually
If you’re looking for a quick way to expedite the issue, your best chance at getting the problem fixed in one shot is to install the failing update manually. As it turns out, there is one failing update that is mostly reported to cause this issue (KB4512489).
If this scenario is applicable, you can use the Microsoft Update Catalog to find and install the missing package manually. This is effective in those situations where the issue is being caused by a corrupted WU dependency. Several affected users have confirmed that this operation worked for them.
Here’s a quick guide on using the Microsoft Update Catalog to fix the 0x800f0831 error:
- Use your default browser and access this link (here) to access the Microsoft Update Catalog.
- Once you manage to land in the correct location, use the search function in the top-right corner of the screen to search for the update that refuses to install conventionally.
- When you see the result list, look for the appropriate driver and decide which one to download according to your CPU architecture and affected Windows version.
- After you manage to find the correct Windows update for your situation, click on the Download button associated with it and wait for the process to be complete.
- As soon as the download is complete, navigate to the location where you downloaded it, then right-click on the .inf file and choose Install from the newly appeared context menu.
- Inside the driver installation screen, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process, then restart your computer.
In case this operation didn’t allow you to circumvent the 0x800f0831 error or you’re looking for a method that will fix the component that is causing the issue, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 2: Disable VPN or Proxy server (if applicable)
The second largest cause that might trigger the 0x800f0831 error is some kind of interference that ends up blocking communications between your Windows end-user version and the Windows Update server. In the vast majority of reported cases, this problem was either created by a VPN client or a Proxy server.
Some users that were struggling to fix this problem have confirmed that they managed to fix the issue by uninstalling their VPN client or by disabling the Proxy server (depending on the scenario that was applicable).
We created two separate guides to accommodate both scenarios that might be applicable, so follow whichever one applies to your current situation.
Note: If you use neither a VPN connection or Proxy server, skip the sub-guides below and move directly to Method 3.
Disable a VPN Connection
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features menu.
- Once you manage to get inside the Programs and Features screen, scroll down through the list of applications that you have installed and located a 3rd party VPN that you suspect might be causing the issue.
- When you locate the 3rd party VPN solution that you suspect might be causing the issue, right-click on it and choose Uninstall from the newly appeared context menu.
- Once you get to the uninstallation screen, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process, then restart your computer.
- After the next startup sequence is complete, attempt to install the failing update again and see if you’re still encountering the same issue.
Disable a Proxy server
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Inside the text box, type ”ms-settings:network-proxy’ and press Enter to open up a Proxy tab of the native Settings menu.
- Once you’re inside the Proxy tab, scroll down to the Manual proxy setup section, then simply disable the toggle associated with ‘Use a proxy server‘.
- After you successfully manage to do this modification, restart your computer and see if the problem has been fixed at the next computer startup.
If none of these two scenarios where applicable, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 3: Set the status of Windows Update to Automatic
If the computer that’s experiencing the failed Windows Update installation is part of a shared domain, it’s possible that a network policy or a 3rd party system optimizer tool has ended up disabling the main service responsible for the updating function.
If this scenario is applicable, you can get the issue resolved by accessing the Services screen, set the Startup Type to Automatic and start the Windows Update service forcefully.
Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:
Note: The steps below should be universal, so you should be able to follow it regardless of the Windows version that you’re using.
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘services.msc’ inside the text box and press Enter to open up the Services screen.
Note: If you are prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant administrative privileges.
- Once you’re inside the Services screen, scroll down through the list of local services and identify the Windows Update service. Once you see it, either double-click on it or right-click and choose Properties from the context menu.
- After you manage to get inside the Windows Update Properties screen, select the general tab and start by setting the drop-down menu associated with Startup type to Automatic.
- Click on Apply to save the changes, then restart your computer and see if the issue is resolved at the next computer startup.
In case the startup type of Windows Update was already set to Automatic and this didn’t resolve the issue, move down to the next method below.
Method 4: Enabling .NET Framework 3.5
If you’re encountering the issue when trying to install a cumulative update, you should explore the possibility of a disabled .NET 3.5 framework. The installation process of cumulative updates is more complex and might fail unless every needed dependency is enabled.
Several affected users have confirmed that they managed to fix the issue by using the Windows Features menu to ensure that .NET 3.5 framework is disabled.
Here’s a quick guide on ensuring that .NET Framework is enabled on your Windows computer:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Inside the text box, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features menu.
- Once you’re inside the Programs and Features menu, click on Turn Windows features on or off (from the left-hand section of the screen).
- Inside the Windows features screen, ensure that the checkbox associated with .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) and click on Ok to save the changes.
- Click Yes at the confirmation prompt, then wait for 3.5 .NET Framework to be enabled. Once it is, restart your computer and see if the issue is resolved after the next computer startup.
In case you’re still encountering the same 0x800f0831 error, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 5: Installing .NET Framework 3.5 via CMD
In case the method above triggered an error once you tried to enabled .NET Framework 3.5 or the option wasn’t available inside the Windows Features screen, you might force the installation yourself by installing the missing framework from an elevated CMD terminal.
We are going to create a custom CMD script that will force the installation of .NET Framework 3.5 and enforce the commands automatically.
But keep in mind that in order to do this, you will need a compatible Windows installation media. If you don’t have one at the ready, you will need to create one.
Once you got the installation media at the ready, follow the instruction below to force the installation of .NET Framework 3.5 from an elevated CMD prompt:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘notepad.exe’ and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up an elevated Notepad window. When you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant administrative privileges.
- Inside the elevated Notepad window, paste the following code:
@echo off Title .NET Framework 3.5 Offline Installer for %%I in (D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z) do if exist "%%I:\\sources\install.wim" set setupdrv=%%I if defined setupdrv ( echo Found drive %setupdrv% echo Installing .NET Framework 3.5... Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFX3 /All /Source:PLACEHOLDER:\sources\sxs /LimitAccess echo. echo .NET Framework 3.5 should be installed echo. ) else ( echo No installation media found! echo Insert DVD or USB flash drive and run this file once again. echo. ) pause
Note: Replace PLACEHOLDER with your letter of the drive that’s currently holding the installation media.
- Once the code is successfully inserted, go to File > Save As and select an appropriate location where you want to save the file.
- You can name the fix however you want, but it’s crucial that you end it with the extension *.cmd*. Next, click on Save to create the script that will hopefully fix the 0x800f0831 error.
- Navigate to the location where you saved the .cmd file, then right-click on it and choose Run as administrator from the context menu. Next, click Yes at the confirmation prompt and wait for the process to complete.
- Once the .NET 3.5 Framework is installed, restart your computer and see if the issue is resolved at the next computer startup.
In case you’re still encountering the same 0x800f0831 error, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 6: Performing SFC and DISM Scans
If none of the methods below have allowed you to fix the 0x800f0831 error, it’s very likely that the issue is actually being caused by some kind of system file corruption. In case this scenario is applicable, you should start by running a couple of utilities (DISM and SFC) that are equipped to fix and replace corrupted instances.
DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) is a tool that’s heavily reliant on a sub-component of WU. It requires an internet connection in order to fix corrupted system files.
On the other hand, SFC (System File Checker) is 100% local and uses a locally cached archive to replace corrupted data with healthy equivalents.
Because the two utilities operate differently, we encourage you to run both in quick succession in order to maximize your chances of success.
Here’s a quick guide on performing SFC and DISM scans from an elevated CMD prompt:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘cmd’ and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up an Elevated Command Prompt. When you see the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant admin access.
- Once you’re inside the elevated CMD prompt, type the following command and press Enter to initiate an SFC scan.
sfc / scannow
Note: This utility will use locally cached data to replace any bad Windows files with a healthy equivalent. But once you initiate this scan, do not close it early – Doing this leaves your system exposed to bad sectors that might create different problems.
- Once the SFC scan is complete, restart your computer and wait for the next startup to complete.
- At the next startup, follow step 1 again to open up another elevated CMD terminal. This time, run the command below to initiate a DISM scan:
dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
Note: Before you initiate this procedure, ensure that your Internet connection is stable. DISM uses Windows Update to download healthy copies for the broken system files that need to be replaced.
- Once the operation is complete, restart your computer and see if the problem is fixed at the next computer startup.
In case you’re still dealing with the same 0x800f0831 error, move down to the final fix below.
Method 7: Using System Restore
If you only started noticing this issue recently after a driver or update installation or after an unexpected machine shutdown, and none of the pending updates are installed, it’s likely that a recent system change has brought about this inability to install updates.
If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to fix this issue by using the System Restore utility to revert your computer back to a healthy state when this issue wasn’t occurring.
Keep in mind that by default, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 are configured to save new restore snapshots regularly (at important system events). So unless you’ve modified this default behavior (or a 3rd party application did it for you), you should have plenty of restore snapshots to choose from.
But keep in mind that using a System Restore snapshot means that any change you made after the snapshot was created will also be lost. This includes any installed applications, games, and any other system changes that you made during that time period.
If you are aware of the consequences, here are the step-by-step instructions to using System Restore to restore your computer back to a healthy state:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘rstrui’ and press Enter to open up the System Restore menu.
- Once you’re inside the initial System Restore screen, click on Next to advance forward to the next menu.
- At the next screen, start the operation by checking the box associated with Show more restore points. Next, start by comparing the dates of each saved restore point and select one that is older than the apparition of this issue.
Note: But don’t select a restore point that’s too old so you don’t lose that much data.
- With the correct system restore point selected, click on Next to advance to the next menu.
- Once you get this far, the utility is configured and ready to go. To enforce this fix, simply click on Finish to start the process. After you do this, your computer will restart and the old state will be enforced at the next system startup.
In case the 0x800f0831 error is still occurring or this method wasn’t applicable, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 8: Performing a clean install/repair
If you’ve come this far and none of the methods above have allowed you to fix the issue, it’s most likely due to some kind of system corruption that cannot be resolved conventionally. If this scenario is applicable, your only chance of fixing the issue is to reset every Windows component.
When it comes to doing this, you have two choices:
- Clean install – This is the easiest solution out of the two. You don’t need an installation media and you can deploy this fix directly from the GUI of Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. However, unless you back up your data in advance, expect total personal data loss.
- Repair install – If you’re looking for a more focused approach, you should go for this method instead. You will need a compatible installation media, but the major advantage is that you will be able to keep all your personal data including apps, applications, personal media, and even some user preferences.
Follow whichever method you find more comfortable with.