What to do about the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected Issue

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 version 2004 (May 2020 feature update) release is causing issues for many users trying to update their devices through Windows Update. It’s important to update your operating system for efficient app performance and protection from the latest threats.

To install updates on Windows 10/11, all you need to do is navigate to the Start menu > Settings > Settings > Update and Security, then click the Check for updates button. If there is an available update that you need to install, it will begin downloading automatically. Then you can either install it after downloading or choose a time that is convenient for you. Most people choose to install updates at night when their computer is not in use.

Unfortunately, installing Windows updates can bring up all sorts of errors. One of them is the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected error. If you encountered this error and you have no idea what to do, then this article should be a big help to you.

What is the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected Problem?

The Potential Windows update database error detected error message can pop up at any stage of the Windows update installation. It usually appears when you are installing a Windows update or upgrading your OS version to a newer build. However, it can also occur when you are running other processes related to Windows Update, such as when troubleshooting the utility or deleting corrupted files related to it.

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Most Windows updates are automatically installed unless the user chooses to install the updates manually, which means navigating to the Windows Update utility. However, installing some updates before the system detects them automatically might lead to some issues during the installation process, such as the Potential Windows Update Database Error error. When this error happens, the installation process cannot proceed and the system is not updated as a result. Trying to install the updates again would only lead to the same error, leaving a lot of affected Windows users frustrated.

What Are the Causes of the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected Problem?

The Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected issue generally appears when you disabled the automatic Windows update service and install the Windows 10/11 updates manually. However, it is also possible that the error was caused by other factors, including:

  • Corrupted update installation files
  • Damaged registry entries
  • Issues with any of the components of the Windows Update service
  • Old installation files that are interfering with the new installation
  • Malware infection

It is important to find out the cause of the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected issue, but doing so might be time-consuming. Instead of wasting your time trying to get to the root of the problem, you can try the methods below instead and see which one works for you.

How to Fix Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected

If you’re getting the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected message, the first thing you need to do is restart your system. The error might be temporary and should be easily fixed by rebooting your computer. You should also check your internet connection to make sure the download is not interrupted.

But if the error still persists after doing all of the above, you can then try the methods below:

Step 1: Repair Corrupted System Files.

One possible reason why you’re getting the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected message is a corrupted registry or system files. Fortunately, Windows is equipped with built-in tools to scan for corruption in Windows and restore them, if possible.

The first utility you should try is the System File Checker tool or SFC tool. This scans your system files and repairs any missing or corrupted entries. To use this tool, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Start menu and type in cmd in the search dialog.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt from the search results, then choose Run as administrator.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type in the following command: sfc /scannow.
  4. Press Enter and wait for the scan to be completed.

The SFC tool should automatically fix any corrupted system file detected. But if the Potential Windows Update Database error detected message did not go away after running SFC, you should try the DISM tool instead.

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management or DISM utility is used to repair Windows images, including the Windows Setup, Windows Recovery Environment, and Windows PE. To run the DISM command, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Command Prompt using the instructions above.
  2. In the Command Prompt window, type in the following command, then press Enter: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  3. Wait for the scan and repair to be completed before trying to install the updates once again.

But if the error is not fixed after running this command, then you need a special command to repair the corrupted Windows Update System Files. For this purpose, you need to use this command: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess.

Step 2: Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

The Windows OS is also equipped with various troubleshooting tools, designed to fix specific problems. The Windows Update Troubleshooter, for example, is able to resolve common issues associated with the update installation, including the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected problem.

To run this tool, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Control Panel by searching for it using the search dialog in the Start menu.
  2. Click Troubleshooting from the Control Panel menu.
  3. Next, choose View All from the left, and scroll down to the Windows Update at the bottom.
  4. Right-click on Windows Update, then choose Run as administrator.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions as the tool tries to detect and fix any errors associated with the Windows Update service.

Step 3: Reset the Windows Update Components.

If deleting the corrupted files and running the Troubleshooter does not work, then the problem could be related to any of the Windows Update components. To fix the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected, you need to reset these components using commands. To do this:

  1. Launch Command Prompt using the instructions above.
  2. Stop the Windows Update Services, MSI Installer, BITS, and Cryptographic processes, using the commands below, followed by Enter after each line:
    • net stop wuauserv
    • net stop cryptSvc
    • net stop bits
    • net stop msiserver
  3. Delete the qmgr*.dat files using this command, followed by Enter: Del “%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Downloader\qmgr*.dat”
  4. Rename the SoftwareDistribution and Catroot2 folders using these commands, followed by Enter after each line:
    • ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    • ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old
  5. Reset the services using these commands, followed by Enter:
  6. Re-register all the BITS files and the Windows Update files by using these commands, followed by Enter after each line:
    • regsvr32.exe atl.dll
    • regsvr32.exe urlmon.dll
    • regsvr32.exe mshtml.dll
    • regsvr32.exe shdocvw.dll
    • regsvr32.exe browseui.dll
    • regsvr32.exe jscript.dll
    • regsvr32.exe vbscript.dll
    • regsvr32.exe scrrun.dll
    • regsvr32.exe msxml.dll
    • regsvr32.exe msxml3.dll
    • regsvr32.exe msxml6.dll
    • regsvr32.exe actxprxy.dll
    • regsvr32.exe softpub.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wintrust.dll
    • regsvr32.exe dssenh.dll
    • regsvr32.exe rsaenh.dll
    • regsvr32.exe gpkcsp.dll
    • regsvr32.exe sccbase.dll
    • regsvr32.exe slbcsp.dll
    • regsvr32.exe cryptdlg.dll
    • regsvr32.exe oleaut32.dll
    • regsvr32.exe ole32.dll
    • regsvr32.exe shell32.dll
    • regsvr32.exe initpki.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wuapi.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wuaueng.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wuaueng1.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wucltui.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wups.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wups2.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wuweb.dll
    • regsvr32.exe qmgr.dll
    • regsvr32.exe qmgrprxy.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wucltux.dll
    • regsvr32.exe muweb.dll
    • regsvr32.exe wuwebv.dll
  7. Reset Winsock using this command, followed by Enter: netsh winsock reset.
  8. Restart all services using these commands, followed by Enter after each line:
    • net start wuauserv
    • net start cryptSvc
    • net start bits
    • net start msiserver

Once the Windows Update services have been reset, you should try and see if the error message has been fixed when you install the latest Windows updates.


Getting the Potential Windows Update Database Error Detected notification can be troublesome because you won’t be able to proceed with the installation process unless you fix it first. This leaves your device with an outdated operating system that might open it up to vulnerabilities and attacks. To fix this error, you can work your way down our troubleshooting guide until you find a solution that fixes this error for you.

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