Q: Code 800736B1 Windows Update

I keep receiving the following when trying to install a windows update. 

Code 800736B1 Windows Update encountered an unknown error. 

I have 26 pending "important" windows updates and for some reason, each time i try to install them i get the above error. I've tried stopping the windows update service, renaming the SoftwareDistribution folder and then re-downloading the updates but that did not work. I've tried installing the updates individually and that did not work either. I'm at a loss as to what else to try.



Thank you for contacting Microsoft community and we will be glad to assist you with your concern.


From your description, I understand that you receive a Windows update error 800736B1.

Please don’t worry; I’ll help you.


Method 1: Follow the instructions in the link below:


Unable to install updates in Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Note: This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

322756 ( )

How to back up and restore the registry in Windows


Method 2: Try to install the update in clean boot state:


How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7


Note: Put your computer back to normal mode after you have finished troubleshooting the issue (as described in Step 3 in the article above).


Please perform these recommended steps, review the additional information provided and post back if you are still experiencing the issue. I will be glad to provide you with additional options available that you can utilize to get this issue resolved.

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Thanks for your response. 

I went through both methods and still get the unknown error when trying to install the windows updates. I even went through and renamed the softwaredistribution folder after the cleanboot, and still getting the error. I'm starting to think that maybe I just need to wipe my hard drive and reinstall the OS.

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Thank you for the reply.


If you have tried all the steps, please perform a repair install or clean install of Windows 7. Below are the methods:


Method 1:


How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 & Windows Server 2008 R2


Warning: Before you perform an in-place upgrade, you should be prepared for a worst case scenario that results in your existing data on your computer being deleted. This data includes personal data, settings, hardware driver information, and software programs. If a worst case scenario occurs, you may have to reinstall all programs. Make sure that you back up personal data to disks or to other external storage devices before you perform an in-place upgrade.


Method 2: Perform a clean install of Windows 7.


Note: Make sure you backup the data before performing the steps.


Installing and reinstalling Windows 7


Please post back with the result. We’ll be glad to assist you further.

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What if this issue is when you try to open any browser and install any microsoft base program ? what I don't get is how microsoft can't make software for there own os an it not work.   I've been working with this issue for over 10 hours and about ready to say screw it move to mac 
Knowledge is power

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Question Info

Views: 2,497 Last updated: May 22, 2018 Applies to: