Windows 7 patch KB 2952664 fails with error 80242016

Microsoft sends KB 2952664 through the automatic update chute for the seventh time -- and still can't get it right

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Microsoft bills its newly released KB 2952664 as a "compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7," but provides no other details. The patch has now been released through automatic update (and Windows Server Update Services) seven times: on April 16, April 22, May 13, June 10, July 8, Aug. 12, and Oct. 14. Microsoft still can't get it right.

I last talked about KB 2952664 when it mysteriously appeared on April 22 -- a "Fourth Tuesday" patch that arrived without any forewarning and precious little explanation. Even now, the Knowledge Base article for the patch says:

This update helps Microsoft make improvements to the current operating system in order to ease the upgrade experience to the latest version of Windows.

That's it. If Microsoft has posted any additional information about the six-times-and-yer-out patch, I haven't seen it.

Back in April, I speculated that KB 2952664 was a patch for Win7 to make it easier to perform in-place upgrades to Windows 8.1. Now it's starting to look like the patch may also ease the transition to Windows 10. Heaven only knows, your speculation is as good as mine.

This particular version of the botched patch exhibits strange behavior. Microsoft's Answers forum poster DuaneG puts it this way:

KB2952664 failed with error code 80242016 (typically means that another installation is in progress - Windows Update was the only app running).  Reviewed WU history and noted that this same KB was successfully updated on 8/15/2014.  Opened WU again and performed Check for Updates with nothing returned.

Poster JeffConklin99 stumbled on a solution that seems to work: uninstall the patch, then install it again:

[Go to] Control Panel\Programs & Features\View Installed Updates (Left Column Selection), Right Click on KB2952664, select Uninstall, Close Control Panel. Go back to Windows Update and Search for updates. KB2952664 will appear, run the update in my case it then installed successfully.

I have seen no advice from Microsoft about the problem or its solution. People who are concerned about such matters wonder if version 2 of the patch is the same as version 4 or version 6, if they should ignore the problem because it goes away, or if there's some magical incantation they need to perform.

I think Microsoft MVPs TaurArian and dvk01 nailed it:

If you don't intend to update the Windows 7 computer to either windows 8 or Windows10 TP, then uninstall the buggy KB2952664 update. It isn't needed... This is the sort of update that should be offered ONLY when you intend to update as part of the pre check by Microsoft when you do a compatibility check on a new OS to see if it will be suitable.

The lack of information from Microsoft is disconcerting. I, for one, have done an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows Technology Preview, on a test machine, with nary a hiccup. No doubt others weren't so lucky. Perhaps KB 2952664 is a work-in-progress, intended to be updated as new problems ooze out of the woodwork. That would make sense -- but why isn't Microsoft talking about it? Why no version numbers? (The KB article incredulously sits at version 2.) Why no advice about uninstalling older versions?

I would only add that if you intend to do an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, wait and see if there's a KB 2952664 version 7 or 8 or 9. You shouldn't install the Windows Technical Preview on a production machine anyway (even if Microsoft's Joe Belfiore says that 64 percent of all Windows Technical Preview installations go onto bare metal, not virtual machines -- a scary statistic). Wait until we get closer to Win10 general availability, and when you're ready to make the leap, patch Win7 with the then-current version of KB 2952664.

If you're thinking about upgrading in-place from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, believe me, there are easier ways to give yourself a headache.

Perhaps KB 2952664 version 8 will work properly. I'm not holding my breath.

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