Fix: Error 0x80070103 on Windows 10

Some users have been reporting that WU (Windows Update) fails to install several different updates with the 0x80070103 error code. The error is mostly encountered in the Windows Update screen inside the update reports, but it’s also known to occur when the user tries to install a peripheral driver – but only if Windows Update offers to update the driver via a prompt and the user clicks Yes.

What causes the 0x80070103 error 

After investigating the issue and looking at various user reports, here’s a list of scenarios where the 0x80070103 error is typically encountered:

  • Windows Update (WU) is trying to install a particular driver a second time – This typically happens when WU gets confused by an additional piece of identical hardware such as a graphics adapter.
  • Windows Update (WU) is trying to install an update to an already installed driver – This is known to happen with unsuitable versions of the already installed driver.
  • The error is occurring due to 3rd party interference – A security software or a utility program that is using the same driver might trigger the 0x80070103 error it’s conflicting with Windows Update.

How to fix the 0x80070103 error

If you’re currently struggling to resolve the 0x80070103 error, this guide will provide you with an effective list of troubleshooting steps. Below you have a collection of methods that other users in a similar situation have used to get the issue sorted out.

Since the fixes are ordered by efficiency and severity, we urge you to start following them in the order that they are presented. Start with the first method and continue down with the next ones until you discover a fix that is effective in helping you deal with the error code. Let’s begin!

Method 1: Running the Windows Update troubleshooter

Before you do anything else, let’s see if Windows is equipped to resolve the issue automatically. If the issue is caused by an inconsistency in how WU (Windows Update) functions, running the Windows Update troubleshooter might identify and treat the inconsistency automatically.

The Windows Update troubleshooter holds a collection of repair strategies for those instances where WU glitches or files belonging to it become corrupted. The built-in troubleshooter will start by scanning your system and then apply the correct repair strategy if any of them apply to your particular scenario.

Here’s a quick guide on running the Windows Update troubleshooter:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Next, type “ms-settings:troubleshoot” and press Enter to open the Troubleshooting tab of the Settings app.
  2. In the Troubleshoot tab, click on Windows Update (under Get up and running).
  3. Next, click on Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Wait until the initial scan is complete. Once the process is over, click on Apply this fix if a repair strategy has been identified.
    Note: If no problems have been found, jump straight to Method 2.
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the repair strategy, then close the Windows Update troubleshooter and reboot your computer.
  6. At the next startup, try to apply the update again and see if it installs without the 0x80070103 error.

If the issue is still not fixed, continue with the next method below.

Method 2: Install the update while in Clean Boot

Some users finding themselves in a similar situation have managed to get the issue resolved after clean booting and re-installing the failing update via Windows Update.

It turns out that certain security suites or even utility program can conflict with WU (particularly when WU needs to update an already existent driver). In this case, the solution is to reboot your computer into a Clean Boot state to ensure that there’s no 3rd party interference.

To make the whole process easier to you, here’s a step-by-step on rebooting your computer in a clean boot state and installing the failing update:

  1. Make sure you are signed in with a user that has administrative privileges.
  2. Press Windows key + Start o open up a Run box. Next, type “msconfig” and press Enter to open up the System Configuration window. If prompted by the UAC (User Account Control) click on Yes.
  3. Inside the System Configuration screen, go to the Services tab, tick the checkbox associated with Hide all Microsoft services, then click on Disable all to prevent any 3rd party service to be enabled at the next startup. Once all third-party services have been disabled, hit the Apply button to save the changes.
  4. In the same System Configuration window, move to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
  5. For each startup item present in the Startup tab of Task Manager, select the item and click on Disable.
  6. Once all services have been disabled, close Task Manager and the System Configuration screen and reboot your computer.
  7. If you followed the instructions correctly, your machine will restart in a Clean boot state.
  8. Now, press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Next, type “ms-settings:windowsupdate” and press Enter to open the Windows Update tab of the Settings app.
  9. Use this screen to install the update that was previously failing with the 0x80070103 error.
  10. Regardless if this method is successful or not, revisit steps 2 to 5 and re-enable all those services that you previously disabled.

If the update is still failing with the 0x80070103 error, continue down with the next method below.

Method 3: Install the failing driver without using WU

If the clean boot state wasn’t helpful, let’s see if a manual approach will yield better results. Some users struggling to resolve the very same error where finally able to make the error code go away by updating the driver manually.

You can do this either by using Device Manager or by downloading the driver manually from the manufacturer’s website. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Pay attention to the detail report of the failing update and identify the device that is involved in the operation that is failing.
  2. Once you know the device associated with the driver that is failing to update, press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Then, type “devmgmt” in the Run box and press Enter to open Device Manager.
  3. Inside Device manager, navigate to the device you’re targeting, right-click on it and choose Update device.
  4. If a newer driver version is identified, follow the prompts on screen to install it on your system.
    Note: If a new driver is found, ignore the next steps and reboot your computer to see if the issue is resolved.
  5. If Device Manager wasn’t able to find the newer version automatically, you need to do it yourself manually. Do an online search and surf to the device manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver version available.
  6. Once the download is complete, install the driver and reboot your computer to see if this method was effective.

If the newer driver is installed but the failing driver is still appearing in WU as a pending update, you can follow this guide (here) to prevent Windows update from trying to install it again.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Error 0x80070103 on Windows 10

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