FIX: Windows Update error 0x800f0986

Windows Update error 0x800f0986

Numerous users have posted on the Microsoft forum about a 0x800f0986 Windows Update error. That error arises when they try to download cumulative patch updates via Settings in Windows 10 1909.

Instead of downloading the updates, Settings displays an Updates failed error message with the 0x800f0986 code. Consequently, users can’t download various patch updates for Windows 10.

How do I fix Windows Update error 0x800f0986 ?

1. Check the Windows Update service is enabled

  1. Press the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Input services.msc in the Open box, and press the Enter button.
  3. Double-click Windows Update to open its properties window.Windows Update Properties window 0x800f0986 windows update error
  4. Click the Startup type drop-down menu to select Automatic.
  5. Press the Start button on the properties window.
  6. Click Apply, and click OK to exit the window.

2. Open the Windows Update troubleshooter

  1. Open Windows 10’s search box.
  2. Type the keyword troubleshoot in the search utility.
  3. Click Troubleshoot settings, which will open the Settings app as shown directly below.The Troubleshoot tab 0x800f0986 windows update error
  4. Select the Windows Update troubleshooter.
  5. Click the Run the troubleshooter button to open the window in the snapshot directly below.
    Windows Update troubleshooter 0x800f0986 windows update error
  6. Select the Apply this fix option for anything suggested resolutions.

3. Clear out the SoftwareDistribution folder

  1. Stop the Windows Update service by pressing the Stop button on its properties window.
  2. Click the File Explorer button on the taskbar.
  3. Open this folder path:
    • C: > Windows > SoftwareDistribution > Download.
      Download folder 0x800f0986 windows update error
  4. Press the Ctrl + A hotkey to select all contents in that folder.
  5. Press the Delete button.
  6. Click the Start button on the Windows Update service’s properties window.
  7. Restart Windows.

4. Reset Windows Update

  1. Open the search box with the Windows key + S hotkey.
  2. Input cmd in the search box.
  3. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator to open it with elevated user rights.
  4. Input these separate commands into the Command Prompt’s window:
    • Net stop wuauserv
    • Net stop cryptSvc
    • Net stop bits
    • Net stop msiserver
  5. Enter the following line in the Command Prompt, and press the Return keyboard button.
    • Ren C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old Rename command 0x800f0986 windows update error
  6. Input the Ren C:WindowsSystem32catroot2 Catroot2.old command, and press the Enter button.
  7. Thereafter, input these separate commands:
    • Net start wuauserv
    • Net start cryptSvc
    • Net start bits
    • Net start msiserver
  8. Reboot your desktop or laptop.

5. Disable third-party antivirus utilities

Error 0x800f0986 could be due to third-party antivirus utilities blocking cumulative updates. So, turning off antivirus software might fix the error.

To do that, right-click an antivirus utility’s system tray icon to open a context menu from which you can often select an option that will disable the software.

You could also remove the antivirus utility from the system startup on Task Manager’s Startup tab so it doesn’t start with Windows 10. Then try downloading the patch updates with the antivirus software disabled.

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6. Reset Windows 10

  1. Enter the keyword reset in the platform’s search box.
  2. Click Reset this PC to open the Recovery tab in Settings.
    Get started button 0x800f0986 windows update error
  3. Click the Get Started button to open Reset this PC.Reset this PC window 0x800f0986 windows update error
  4. Select the Keep my files option.
  5. Press the Next button to continue.
  6. Click Reset to confirm.

Note: This method has the highest success rate of fixing pretty much any Windows 10 issues. However, it comes with the drawback of deleting all of your data. Thus, it is good to create a backup before proceeding with this solution.

By following these steps, you should be able to get rid of the Windows Update error 0x800f0986 in no time.