About the “Windows Update error 80072F8F” error

The following information on this error has been compiled by ByeError, based on the information gathered and reported by our global network of engineers, developers, and technicians or partner organizations.

Description and Symptoms

While you are checking for updates, you may receive the error Windows Update error 80072f8f that means your computer’s date and time might not be the same as the date and time for the online Windows Update service. Your computer and the service don’t need to have an identical date and time, but if they vary too much, it will prevent you from checking for updates.

Symptom 1: “Windows Update error 80072F8F” error screen


Windows Update

Windows could not search for new updates

An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.


Error(s) found:

Code 80072F8F        Windows Update encountered an unknown error.
                     Get help with this error

Most recent check for updates:    02/26/2018 at 4:39 PM
Updates were installed:           07/31/2017 at 6:26 PM.  View update history
You receive updates:              For Windows and other products from Microsoft Update

Get updates for other Microsoft products. Find out more

Causes of this Error

There are four main causes that will lead to the error 80072f8f:

Cause 1: Incorrect Time and Date

Cause 2: Missing Root Certificate Update

Cause 3: Invalid Proxy Settings

Cause 4: Firewall Blocking SSL Connection

Fixing “Windows Update error 80072F8F” on Windows

To fix this issue, I suggest you to try the following methods and check if it helps.
Fix #1: Check your date and time settings
  1. Click the Start button, type control panel and press Enter.
  2. Change the View by to Small icons, double click to open Date and Time.
  3. Press Change date and time to specify the current date/time/year in your computer.
  4. When finished with date/time, press Change time zone and ensure that you have the proper time zone according to your location. Set your current Time Zone and press OK.
  5. Then, at Internet Time tab, choose Change settings.
  6. Check the Synchronize with an Internet time server checkbox & then choose a Time Server from the list. (e.g. time.windows.com). Press Update Now.
  7. When the time is updated, press OK twice to close all open windows and check for Updates.
Or otherwise, there is a better solution to the error 80072f8f problem. Just sync your computer clock with any Internet time server. To do it, just follow the succeeding steps.
  1. Click the Start button, click Control Panel, click Clock, Language, and Region, and then click Date and Time.
  2. Click the Internet Time tab, and then click Change settings. If the system ask for Administrator password, then you may need to enter it.
  3. Click Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server, select a time server, and then click OK.
Fix #2: Modify Advanced Security Settings in Internet Explorer.
  1. From Internet Explorer main menu, click Tools and choose Internet Options.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab, under Security section, uncheck the following: Check for publisher’s certificate revocation. Check for server certificate revocation.
  3. Click OK. Restart Internet Explorer.
  4. Try to Update your computer now.
Fix #3: Checking for Invalid Proxy Settings
Invalid Proxy Settings could also be a cause for the 80072F8F error, as the MS protocol is very picky about how a secure connection should look like. Here’s a quick guide on how to disable proxy settings on Windows:
  1. Click the Start button, and type inetcpl.cpl. Hit Enter to open the Internet Properties window.
  2. Click the Connections tab and then click on LAN settings.
  3. If the box under Proxy server is checked, disable it and hit Ok. Then, click Apply in the Internet Properties.
  4. Reboot your system and attempt to apply the Window Update again.
Fix #4: Reset the Windows Update Components
If the issue persists, I suggest you to reset the Windows update components manually and check if it helps.
  1. Press WinKey + X on the desktop screen of the computer.
  2. Select Command Prompt (Admin)
  3. On the open Command Prompt window copy and paste the commands (all at once).
    net stop wuauserv
    net stop cryptSvc
    net stop bits
    net stop msiserver
    ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old
    net start wuauserv
    net start cryptSvc 
    net start bits
    net start msiserver
    
  4. Exit the command prompt and check if it helps.
After resetting the Windows update components, you may try installing the updates one at a time in clean boot state and check. A clean boot helps to verify if any third-party application services or startup item is causing this issue. How to perform a clean boot to troubleshoot a problem
Fix #5: Modify Firewall settings and Add exceptions.
If all the above methods didn’t work, try to disable firewall program until you install updates or add the following Windows Update websites to the exceptions list.
http://*.update.microsoft.com
https://*.update.microsoft.com
http://download.windowsupdate.com

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