Windows Update error messages have always been part of the Windows experience, much to the annoyance of users. When a patch for one is applied, another comes to take its place.

By and large, update errors on Windows point to an issue that stops the system from adding updated files to the firmware. Sometimes, the bug is serious enough to stop upgrades to a new build of the OS.

The update error 0x800703e6 is just one in a long line of update-stalling issues on Windows 10. This article explains what it is, its potential causes, and the ways to fix it.

What Is the Error 0x800703e6?

When the error 0x800703e6 happens, it’s usually accompanied by the following message: “ERROR_NOACCESS: Invalid access to memory location.” The bug seems to be related to memory issues that prevent the system from loading necessary update files into memory.

Many affected users discovered this error when trying to upgrade their Windows 10 build from 1903 to 1909 or later. But this isn’t the only Windows edition that it affects. Several users on versions 2004 and 20H2 found that they couldn’t install the cumulative updates KB4023057, KB5003214, and KB5003173 because of the error.

The error 0x800703e6 has persisted on the latest Windows 10 versions. Checking forums reveals that installation of the 2021-08 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 21H1 for x64-based systems (KB5005033) often gets interrupted as well.

What Causes the Error 0x800703e6?

The net result of Windows update errors is the inability to upgrade system files using official means. In addition, specific errors might be triggered by different issues within the system.

When it comes to the Windows Update error 0x800703e6, the following have been observed as the main causes in the majority of cases:

  • System Glitch. If the system suffers a bug that stops it from processing certain operations, it may make the Windows update installation process fail.
  • Memory Clash. When Windows Update and another application try to use the same memory location, the error 0x800703e6 can happen. This is because two applications can’t use the same memory location at the same time on Windows.
  • Registry Issues. Any number of errors related to the system registry can cause this issue. Invalid registry keys, broken or deleted entries, corrupted keys, etc. can lead to the error 0x800703e6. These issues are generally caused by uninstalled software that leaves behind files that conflict with Windows Update.
  • Missing Files. These can be DLL files, WU files, or protected system files.

Now that you know the possible causes of the problem, here are the various ways to eliminate the error and get Windows Update working properly.

How to Fix the Update Error 0x800703e6 on Windows 10

Windows errors might feel inevitable, but with proper care of the PC, they can be avoided. Ways to care for the machine include deleting junk files regularly, cleaning the registry, removing memory hogs, and optimizing your PC for various tasks. When you perform regular computer maintenance and use the right tools to do so, you won’t face issues like the error 0x800703e6.

Here are several tips to fix the Windows Update error 0x800703e6. Each method has worked for several people. You can apply them in any order you like.

Fix 1: Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

The Windows Update troubleshooter is ready-made for situations like this. It’s a small preinstalled Windows tool that scans the system for bugs preventing Windows Update from working. Once the scan is completed, it suggests a fix the user can apply.

To run the WU troubleshooter, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. Navigate to Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
  3. On the Recommended Troubleshooting screen on the right, click the Additional Troubleshooters link.
  4. Select Windows Update under “Get up and running”.
  5. Click Run the Troubleshooter.

If the WU troubleshooter doesn’t automatically apply a fix, click the “Apply this fix” button.

Fix 2. Clean Up the Hard Drive

Leftover files can stop Windows Update from running and bring up the error 0x800703e6 instead. This can happen if files from a previous installation remain on the system. When WU downloads an update, the process could fail due to the leftover files interfering with the operation.

To avoid this, you can scan your hard drive with the native Disk Cleanup utility. Here’s how:

  1. Press Win + R to open Run.
  2. Type “cleanmgr” into the Run field and click OK to launch the Disk Cleanup utility.
  3. When Disk Cleanup opens, click the “Clean up system files” button.
  4. Under “Files to delete”, tick the checkboxes beside the locations you want cleaned up. Make sure that the box beside “Windows Update Cleanup” is checked.
  5. When you’re all set, click OK.
  6. You’ll get a confirmation prompt. Click Delete Files.

Once Disk Cleanup has done its job, close the program and try updating Windows again.

Fix 3. Clear the Software Distribution Folder

The Software Distribution folder is where Windows Update stores installation files before running updates or upgrades. Typically, these files are cleared after the installation.

In some scenarios, old installation files aren’t deleted but remain in this location and prevent new ones from being downloaded.

Disk Cleanup checks all Windows Update locations for files to clear. However, it might fail to eliminate files from this folder. If this happens, you can run a command to specifically clear this folder.

Here’s the method. To apply it, you need to open a Command Prompt window with elevated privileges. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Hit the Windows key and type “cmd”.
  2. Command Prompt will show up as the main search result.
  3. Under Command Prompt, click “Run as administrator” and click Yes on the UAC prompt.
  4. Stop the Windows Update service. To do that, in the cmd window, type the command below and hit the Enter key:

net stop wuauserv

  1. To clear the Software Distribution folder, run this command:

rd /s /q %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution

  1. Next, restart the Windows Update service with the following command:

net start wuauserv

Close the Command Prompt. Then try running the update to check if the issue is gone.

Fix 4. Perform a Clean Boot

Clean boot is a Windows mode that runs the system with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. In this mode, all third-party and non-essential items are disabled. This gives users a clean environment to troubleshoot in.

Performing a clean boot is a somewhat lengthy, if straightforward, process. The procedure below explains how to do it:

  1. Hit the Windows key and type “msconfig”.
  2. Select System Configuration in the search results.
  3. When System Configuration opens, move to the Services tab.
  4. Tick “Hide all Microsoft services”.
  5. Click the “Disable all” button.
  6. Switch to the Startup tab.
  7. Click the Open Task Manager link.
  8. In the Task Manager, disable every startup program. To disable one, right-click it and select Disable.
  9. Return to the Startup tab of System Configuration.
  10. Click Apply and then OK.
  11. Restart the system when prompted.

After the restart, move to Windows Update and try updating the OS. If the operation succeeds, great. You can exit clean boot and return to the normal Windows environment.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Return to System Configuration.
  2. In the General tab, tick Normal Startup.
  3. Switch to the Services tab and untick “Hide all Microsoft services”.
  4. Switch to the Startup tab and open the Task Manager from there.
  5. Enable the startup items you previously disabled.
  6. Return to System Configuration.
  7. Click Apply and then OK.
  8. When you get a prompt, click Restart.

If Windows still fails to update or you keep getting the error 0x800703e6, it means that none of the disabled services or startup items is the problem. You can try another solution then.

Fix 5. Run Scans with DISM and SFC

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is a Windows tool that scans and restores system images. It will check for errors and fix damage to your Windows image.

System File Checker (SFC) is another Windows utility. It scans protected system files for errors and fixes them. It deletes corrupt files and replaces them with fresh copies from the local Windows cache.

You can run both in tandem to solve the Windows Update error 0x800703e6 issue when it’s caused by faulty or corrupt files:

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt window as explained earlier.
  2. Microsoft recommends running a DISM scan first. To do so, run the two commands below, one after the other:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

  1. Be patient while DISM scans the system image for bad sectors, etc.

Note: You must have an active Internet connection when running a DISM scan.

  1. To run an SFC scan, type “sfc /scannow” into the CMD window and hit Enter.
  2. Again, wait for the tool to scan system files for errors and apply a fix.

When the scan is complete, close all windows and restart the computer.

Hopefully, you’re now able to update Windows without coming across the Windows Update error 0x800703e6.


There are various reasons for the error code 0x800703e6 to occur on Windows 10. When you’re unable to update Windows, it can be annoying. Much more so when you’re in a rush and need to make better use of your time.

Hopefully, the tips here have helped you to eliminate the error. You can also try using the Media Creation Tool to manually upgrade Windows.