Windows Update 0x80071ab1 Error Resurrecting an Old Laptop -Solved

I recently ran into a strange problem which turned out to have an even stranger solution. I was resurrecting an old laptop for use in my model railroading hobby. It had not been used since 2021 when I got a shiny new one for work. I had lost the shift key on one side and the screen was failing. Simple: order the parts; fix the laptop; bring it up-to-date. Which I did but I ran into a wall bring it up-to-date. Like everything I do, it seemed easy but turned into an adventure.

Windows Update applied a bunch of updates to Office and other installed software. It updated the OS (Windows 10 Pro) from the 2021-11 update of 21H2 to the 2022-08 update of 21H2 and applied some .NET updates. Then it tried to do the feature update to 22H2, but that failed error code 0x80071ab1 and when it restarted it announced:

We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer“.

The Event Log detail:
Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80071AB1: Feature update to Windows 10, version 22H2.

I looked on the Web and got the standard reset Windows Update, clear the manifest files, run the trouble shooter, and try SFC. None of these produced anything but the same result. Also references to hardware comparability but the laptop while old was not ancient (2.5GHz i5 with 8GB). I found nothing that helped.

So I looked up the prerequisites for the update and found two listed:

  • A servicing stack update KB4577266. I downloaded it and tried to apply it manually but got the message it was already installed and,
  • July 26, 2022 — KB5015878 (19041.1865) or a later cumulative update. That’s a Preview. I did notice my version was less than 19041.1865. As I mentioned earlier, I showed cumulative updates to 21H2 to 2022-08? Why did it stop there?

So I downloaded KB5015878 from the catalog site and installed it manually. That broke the logjam, and the version was now 19041.1865. I showed updates t0 2023-10 of 21H2 and the feature update to 22H2 now installed. Wallah Success!!

So, what are the conclusions. Looks like if you don’t update the OS for a long time you can just miss something you need and, apparently, Windows Update will not offer it. In this case it was a preview of 22H2. Checking the perquisites of the failing update may be the fastest way to success. I didn’t do that right away but I will next time.

I am sure there are a myriad of other causes for 0x80071ab1 errors but I see nothing on the Web about this one. Hope it helps someone.


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