How to Fix the Windows Media Creation Tool Error Code 0X80072F8F – 0X20000

Man holding his chin facing a laptop

The Windows Media Creation Tool is a user-friendly way to upgrade your Windows version from Windows 10 to Windows 11 – or even upgrade older Windows versions. But the tool is known to suffer from the error code 0x80072F8F – 0x20000, which leaves users scratching their heads over the cause of the problem. This guide sheds light on what could be behind this error and how you can fix it.

Tip: is the System Cooling Policy missing from your Windows computer? Learn what to do about it.

Why Does the Error 0X80072F8F – 0X20000 Occur?

The 0x80072F8F – 0x20000 error code is a fairly frequent occurrence when using the Windows Media Creation Tool, with the following prompt appearing on the screen: “We’re not sure what happened, but we’re unable to run this tool on your PC. If you continue experiencing problems, reference the error code when contacting customer support. Error code: 0x80072F8F – 0x20000.”

There can be various reasons for your system not being able to run the tool properly. These are:

  • Incompatible system requirements
  • Poor Internet connection
  • Lack of administrator privileges
  • TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 might be turned off
  • Conflicting software
  • Registry issues
  • Windows Update issues

Before implementing the fixes described below, make sure that your system meets the minimum requirements to upgrade to the next version. Additionally, your Internet connection needs to be stable, and you should run the Media Creation Tool as an administrator.

1. Enable TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2

Transport Layer Security or TLS 1.1 and 1.2 are internet security protocols that ensure data is encrypted when transferred over networks. TLS was created as an upgrade to Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocols but was later developed as a separate protocol. TLS 1.2 is the latest TLS version, but both TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.1 need to be enabled to make the Media Creation Tool work as intended.

Follow the steps below to ensure TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 are enabled in the registry:

  1. Open a new Notepad file and paste the following text:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\WinHttp] "DefaultSecureProtocols"=dword:00000a00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\WinHttp] "DefaultSecureProtocols"=dword:00000a00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\TLS 1.1\Client] "DisabledByDefault"=dword:00000000 "Enabled"=dword:00000001 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\TLS 1.2\Client] "DisabledByDefault"=dword:00000000 "Enabled"=dword:00000001
Copy paste text in Notepad.
  1. Click “File -> Save As” and save the file as .REG on your desktop.
Saving Notepad file with .REG extension.
  1. Close the file and double-click it on the desktop. Click “Yes” if prompted to apply the settings to the registry.
Double-clicking new .REG file on Windows desktop.
  1. Restart your computer and check whether you can run the Media Creation Tool successfully.

Good to know: did the latest Windows update break some functionality on your PC? We can show you how to fix it.

2. Troubleshoot Windows Update

Sometimes outdated Windows installations can be the reason you’re experiencing issues with the Media Creation Tool. Another Windows update-related issue could be that important services are not running properly. Follow the steps below to resolve each of the these issues:

  1. First, ensure Windows is updated by opening “Windows Update” in Settings and clicking “Check for updates.”
Windows update available, restart required.
  1. Install any recommended updates and restart your computer.
  1. Ensure that the “Windows Update” service is running. Open “Services” by typing “services.msc” in the Windows search bar.
  2. Scroll down to find “Windows Update.” Right-click on it, select “Properties,” and confirm that “Startup type” is set to “Automatic.”
Startup type in Windows Update Properties changed to "Automatic."
  1. Repeat the same process for the following services: Background Intelligent Transfer Service, Server, Workstation, TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper, and IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules.
  1. Restart your computer and check whether the problem has been fixed.

3. Eliminate Conflicting Programs With Clean Boot

If the previous fixes didn’t work, you can try eliminating any programs that are in conflict with the Media Creation Tool. For this, you’ll need to perform a clean boot to disable all non-necessary services, then run the Media Creation Tool again. Follow the steps below to do so:

  1. Type msconfig in the Windows search bar and open “System Configuration.”
  2. In the “General” tab, select “Selective Startup” and uncheck “Load startup items.”
"Selective startup" select under General tab in System Configuration.
  1. Select the “Services” tab and tick “Hide all Microsoft services” at the bottom of the window.
"Hide all Microsoft services" activated in System Configuration window.
  1. Click “Disable all” to disable all the services listed and press “OK.”
Disable all non-Microsoft services in System Configuration window.
  1. Restart your computer and try running the Media Creation Tool to check whether the error has been fixed.

Tip: learn how to add portable apps to your Windows startup for greater convenience.

4. Empty the SoftwareDistribution Folder

The “SoftwareDistribution” folder is where Windows stores temporary Windows Update files. By emptying the folder and forcing Windows to update, you can sometimes fix issues that the system is having while accessing Windows Update files.

  1. Follow the “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download” path to open the destination you need to clear.
Finding the "SoftwareDistribution" folder in File Explorer.
  1. Select all the files in this folder by pressing Ctrl + A, then Del. You may be prompted with a confirmation.
Select al files for deletion in File Explorer.
  1. Type “command prompt” in the Windows search bar, right-click “Command Prompt” and click “Run as administrator.”
  2. Enter the wuauclt.exe /updatenow command and press Enter.
Command Prompt executing a command.
  1. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect, then check whether the issue has been resolved.

5. Modify Auto Update in Registry

Another fix you can try is modifying the “Auto Update” folder in the registry by adding an entry that allows you to upgrade your Windows version. This fix has been known to resolve the 0x80072F8F – 0x20000 error for many users. Follow the steps below to do so:

  1. Type regedit in the Windows search bar and open “Registry Editor.”
  2. Navigate to the following path:
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update
Navigating to path in Registry Editor.
  1. Right-click anywhere in the empty space on the right and select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
Creating new DWORD (32-bit) value in Registry Editor.
  1. Rename the entry “AllowOSUpgrade” and double-click to open it.
  2. Change the “Value data” to “1” and click “OK.”
Changing value of "AllowOSUpgrade" key in Registry Editor.
  1. Restart your computer and check whether the Media Creation Tool is running successfully.

Good to know: fiddling with your registry often? It may be a good idea to learn how to back up your registry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an alternative to Windows Media Creation Tool?

Yes, there are multiple other ways to upgrade to Windows 11 if you’re having issues with the Media Creation Tool or don’t prefer using it for some reason. You can download the Windows 11 Installation Assistant or the Windows 11 ISO from the Windows 11 download page. While the former can be run like an application in the Windows 10 environment, the latter can be used to create a bootable disc or mounted within the Windows 10 environment.

How do I repair a corrupted Windows installation?

If you’ve tried several fixes with no success, you can reset your corrupted Windows 11 or 10 installation to get rid of persistent errors and issues. Our guide linked above will help you reset or reinstall Windows without losing your important data. You can choose to do a “soft reset” and keep your files while fixing most of the common issues. If a reset doesn’t work, you can choose to reinstall Windows to resolve the most deep-rooted OS issues.

Can I bypass the TPM error in Windows 11?

Windows 11 requires users to have TPM 2.0, a hardware-based security chip that protects the security and privacy of your data. Many users aren’t able to upgrade to Windows 11 due to this limitation and may be faced with errors because of it. Check whether your system has TPM 2.0 and enable it. Alternatively, bypass the TPM 2.0 requirement on Windows 11 entirely without compromising your system.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Tanveer Singh.

Tanveer Singh
Tanveer Singh

Tanveer hunts far and wide for PC Hardware, Windows, and Gaming ideas to write about. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he has written extensively on Technology, Gaming, and Marketing. When not scouring the web, he can be found binging on The Office, running for his life in GTFO, or wrecking karts in Smash Karts.

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