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Mystery Error Code 0x80242016 Follows KB4524147

Boy howdy! MS has been pushing updates at a furious rate lately. Just yesterday, KB4524147 bumped production-level 1903 to Build 18362.388. That install went swimmingly on 4 of 5 machines on which it was run. But machine #5 — my production desktop, as fate would have it — threw an interesting error code on the first try. That code  is 0x80242016. According to MS Docs Update Error Code Reference, it indicates that “The state of the update after its post-reboot operation has completed is unexpected.” As far as I can tell, this means that something odd about the state of the update registers following the reboot. Thus, it shows up in Update History as “failed.” Obviously, because not even Microsoft knows what’s up in this case, this mystery error code 0x80242016 follows KB4524147. Here’s a snapshot:

Something unexpected showed up the first time I attempted a KB4524147 install. Fortunately, the second try succeeded.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

When Mystery Error Code 0x80242016 Follows KB4524147, Then What?

My reaction recaps the old saying that begins: “If at first you don’t succeed . . .” And indeed, as the preceding screenshot shows, a success followed the initial failure on a second try. But I’m mystified as to what happened on my production PC. But not even Microsoft can tell for sure, apparently. I monkeyed around with a Registry key for Windows Update memory reservation before that reboot, though. And because this apparently causes deep changes to the way Windows Update behaves, that change could very well have messed with successful completion of the KB4524147 update. But I’m definitely guessing here.

Above all, I’m bemused by an encounter with an error code that essentially says “Something unexpected happened after reboot, so the update is cancelled.” Things do go sideways occasionally with Windows, as I’ve observed on many occasions. I guess I should be grateful that what failed on the first try, succeeded on the second. Otherwise, I’d still be trying to figure out — and fix — whatever it is that went wrong. Had that second attempt failed, my series of next steps would have been as follows (each subsequent step assumes the preceding one has failed):

1. Download the KB4524147 manual self-installing update package from the Microsoft Update Catalog (32-bit, 64-bit, ARM64), and attempt a manual install.
2. Use DISM to apply the update package on an offline version of the OS image.
3. Perform an in-place upgrade install of 1903, and attempt the update again on a cleaner OS.

Surely, one of those would have done the trick. But if not, it would then be time to ponder a clean re-install of 1903, or a wait to see if the next cumulative update works instead, with a fallback strategy of upgrading to 1909/19H2 when it becomes available in the next month or two. And so it goes, here in Windows-World!

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