Fix for Windows Update Error – 80243004

This is a problem that had been annoying me for quite some time. One day in 2015, my Windows7 laptop simply stopped installing updates. I didn't notice for a while, but when I tried to manually apply update, it simply refused to install any updates. It kept giving up with error 80243004

I searched around a LOT at the time, and tried the numerous suggestions, but to no avail. As a result, my laptop stayed unupdated for almost two years. Not a good look for someone who works in the field of computer/software engineering! It also meant that I missed the patches for nasties like WannaCry, but luckily I am careful about what I download and run on this machine, and I escaped unscathed.

It did however allow me to escape Microsoft's nagging and sneaky forced updates for Windows10, which I refuse to subject this machine to. (Pity this problem doesn't exist on Win10, with its random forced updates and reboots, but that's another post)

The Solution

In mid 2017 I tried again, and this time stumbled upon a forum post that led me to the solution. Described by the author as "Without a doubt the strangest fix I’ve ever seen!", it actually isn't as strange as it might seem. My variant of the solution goes like this:

  • Right click on the clock in the notification panel (bottom right of most PCs)
  • Select "Customise notification icons"
  • For Windows Update, tick "Always show icons and notifications"

The author's instructions had said to select "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar", but this isn't necessary (and why it seemed strange to the author). The key is the Windows Update notification. The bug appears to be that if this notification doesn't get shown, then Windows Update fails mysteriously with the error "Windows Update Error – 80243004". Also, if you have this problem, then you're probably like me and have lots of notification icons, so showing them all isn't practical.


After applying this solution, voila! 2 years of Windows 7 updates!

As a side, this also appears to have addressed two other Windows oddities that had plagued my computer:

  • When expanding the notification area by clicking on the up arrow, lots of blank notification icons would appear. They would disappear when hovering over them. I presume this was Windows Update attempting to create an icon, but giving up when it wasn't visible
  • Windows user agent (processes names wua*) would sometimes consume excessive CPU and need to be manually killed, especially after a reboot. I guess this again was Windows Update trying to appear and failing.
That took me 2 years to find an answer, so I thought I'd share that here and hopefully help others too!