Fixing Windows Store error 0x80073cf9 on Windows 8.1

So I was having a problem with the Windows Store on Windows 8.1. Apps couldn’t install or update, they would give the error 0x80073cf9. After having tried a few of the solutions online, none of which worked, I decided to see whether Microsoft could help. So I went to Microsoft’s site, and eventually arrived at the Answer Desk, where they offer chats with technicians. After a stupid mistake on my part when I accidentally closed the window on the first technician I was chatting with, I ended up reconnecting with Farah V. She was happy to help, and offered to remote into my computer to fix it. I consented, and watched as she typed commands, created folders, renamed folders, rebooted and so on. Below follows the commands she typed and actions she did that eventually fixed the error, in case anyone else is experiencing it.

PLEASE NOTE THAT A LOT OF THESE COMMANDS CAN BE DANGEROUS! ONLY RUN THEM IF YOU’VE TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE. All the standard disclaimers about not bearing responsibility if you break your own system of course apply.

 

Firstly, in an administrator command prompt, “sfc /scannow” claimed there was file corruption. Then, running the App Troubleshooter claimed that the graphics driver was not up to date. This proved to be a false lead.

She seemed to know where the file corruption might be present, so she navigated to C:\Windows and checked whether the folders “C:\Windows\AppReadiness” and “C:\Windows\AUInstallAgent” were there. One of them wasn’t, so she created it. She then further rebooted into safe mode and renamed “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution” to “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old”. She also renamed “C:\Windows\System32\catroot2” to “C:\Windows\System32\catroot2.old”. One of these folders was difficult to rename, so she had to stop some services to be able to rename them. And furthermore, this caused the programme signatures to go bad, so the publishers of programmes could no longer be verified. Scary. But this fixed itself a few hours later it seemed.

The final thing she did was to reboot again, and first in an administrator command prompt type “dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restore-health”  and in an administrator Windows Powershell type “Get-AppXProvisionedPackage -online | Remove-AppXProvisionedPackage -online”. Finally, the apps in Windows Store would install, and she had fixed it. Well done Microsoft for knowing your way around your system, but this was honestly a bit too difficult a fix to do. I’ve typed out this post because I haven’t seen all these fixes listed on the web previously, and it might be useful to someone out there.

Anway, big thanks to Microsoft for having patient technicians employed like this. But somehow, I’d rather that they listed these commands somewhere so that one could run them one at a time to observe the effects.