Vista Error 8000FFFF – Only took Microsoft Tech 6 Hours To Fix This One…

If you get it – wish you hadn’t. Last week I was having some problems getting a Cisco VPN client to connect. You can only check and re-check settings so many times before you start to consider that perhaps a format and fresh OS install might help the problem dissipate. About four days into this, while hubby was out for a quick Harley ride I installed the VPN on his machine. The client connected immediately. It was a shade before 9:30 PM. Figuring I could have my system cleaned and be in bed by midnight with Vista happily installing updates while I slept, I backed up my C drive and carried on. To make the process faster I unplugged everything (printer camera and so on) and decided to install those the next day.

At 11:30 PM I was configuring my network settings and had my computer up, running, and online. Perfect! I hit Windows Update and thirty minutes later it is still searching. It finally crapped out with error 8000FFFF. I spent another hour changing options and settings. No luck. By 1:30 AM I crawled into bed knowing that at 5:30 (ok I’d probably sleep in until 6:30 or 7) I would get up and not have a computer to work on.

At 9 AM the next morning I was on the phone to Vista tech support. She was checking settings, asking questions away, and I went through two more complete Vista installs. Ready for this? It was a freaking 4 hour and 55 minute tech call. At around 2 PM she she tells me that she cannot fix this issue. That my case log would be given to Microsoft researchers and they would call me tomorrow with the solution. I’m not even going to get into how ticked-off I am, that after 5 hours of crap trouble-shooting via the telephone the issue is not fixed. I grudgingly selected 10 AM the following day as the time I wanted the call-back.

What I did learn, however, is that this error is very new. She suggested I was only about the sixth person so far to report it, and it was currently in research. Gee, lucky little me. I set-up enough on hubby’s computer to get a bit of work done that day and played around on my own system a bit more with no luck. For the first time since January I actually considered putting Windows XP back on.

The Fix….
The phone rings the next morning at 10:20 AM. Yes, it was Microsoft. In less than one hour (thank goodness) the computer was downloading the Windows updates. According to this guy, the 8000FFFF was being caused by one of two things. The first thing to check was proxy settings (which wasn’t applicable to me). The second check was for a corrupted or bad hosts file. This was my problem. The file was deleted, the computer restarted a new hosts file created and the problem was resolved.

What he couldn’t tell me, was why on earth I should have a corrupted hosts file on a system with a clean disk (Vista was the only thing on it) and a fresh install of Vista.

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