Error Code 643 Windows Update encountered an unknown error

Error Code 643 Windows Update encountered an unknown error

(While I pick another ‘How Stupid!’ topic for the next video of the ‘How Stupid!01’ list…).

You know? Years ago, I made some custom changes to my OS (Operating System) for reasons to long to tell in this post… and all this customization I did, led to some unstability issues (I turned off almost every service and driver one by one… a tiresome task to do, and then undo…).

The case for Windows operating system is as follows.

There are loads of tools included out-of-the-box (like dialer.exe, for instance…), and generally everything is turned on by default. So, the immense majority of people, don’t even know there are lots of executable programmes which come with their brand new average Joe and Mary home computers, and not knowing of their existence, (let alone about default Users names and accounts, default Computer, and Home Group names, and so on…), they don’t use them.

[I recommend you  to go to your Windows directory, generally C:\Windows\ and search by clicking, opening, and seeing, not with the ‘Search’ tool, that generally leaves out system files and archives from results, and note down, or at least pay attention to how many file descriptors say ‘Application’, their names and what they do].

(You should also see the AppData folder in your User(s). To do that you must click on the’Tools’ tab in the ‘toolbars’ of ‘Explorer’ (not the same as IExplorer, which is the default browser for Windows), open  ‘Folder options…’, and check the checkbox next to ‘Show hidden files’).

All this default features are known by hackers and security experts as LHF (Low Hanging Fruit), and are known like that, because they are easily exploitable. For instance, being User the default User name for the common computer, to login from the outside (through your brand new Wi-fi routers, regardless of the protocol and type of cable or wireless connection), an atacker, knows 50% of the two minimal answers they have to know:

1 User

2 Password

This works the same for the default user accounts: User, Guest, Admin, System, TrustedInstaller …

Regarding passwords, loads of people don’t even have one, so they only have to know your name, because there is no password, besides usually people think: I don’t mind if someone enters unauthorizedly in my computer, I have nothing interesting or valuable there (not knowing that their computers can be used as ‘servers’ for a distributed database someone doesn’t wnat to install in their own computer(s)).

Most people think, if nobody uses their computer (or whatever type of device, including mobile phones…), there is no need to have a password, because most people think only from the client side of communication, knowing nothing about server side or P2P, among other comunication types and protocols coming from (and not only going to) the Internet.

Even if you have a password, it has to be of the ‘strong’ type: long and with all types of characters, and better if it is not a word included in a dictionary, because of brute force atacks, which are a type of atack that probes password field against known words (and these are generally included in dictionaries), until they match, taking more time to guess if your password is long enough, and not a word (mispells  and random seeds are good to avoid or minimize this).

Most people don’t have a security policy (they don’t even know what that is) to shutdown the computer and lock the account for a given time if the password is wrong.

It is not that I am an expert in security over the network and its different protocols but, I read a lot about this topic, and have a more than advanced idea on how some problems can be solved, although I am a person, not an enterprise, and I have a personal computer, and not a network offering any service (if I spent my time configuring my computer with all this features I would not have time to do anything else).

So, leaving out this little intro on computers and networks, I’ll tell you what to do with the

Error Code 643

I’ve been reading about it in the answers, downloads, support, and other subpages from the Microsoft site, and found a lively (polite) debate with this error code of the ‘unknown error’ type…

You know? It has to do with updating the operating system (well… if you found this post making a search about it, stop cursing, calm down, and go on reading, I’ll try to explain and then you’ll know what to decide about it).

The Updater (and maintenance) is based on version numbers, so Windows Vista, for instance, has a version number that the Updater checks before making any changes to your operating system, Windows 7 has a version number lower than Windows 8 (and other higher versions).

Updates are also known as KB (KnowledgeBase), that is why if you look into the installed updates you will find loads of strings like this: KBnnnnn, being the ‘n’ whatever number from 0 to 9 (like the model for a car brand).

If the Updater (Windows Update, and any other updater like ‘synaptic’ for linux, works like this, first it sees what you have, then it sees if your number is lower or higher than the update version) finds the number is lower than that of the update, then updates (else), if it finds it is higher, makes no change for that part of the operating system (application) for which new versions have been made, and in that case, the updates shows a state message: ‘failed’ (or a non-zero error code in most programming languages).

This means, you have a newer version than that of the update, and this is because of installer, install and uninstall inconsistencies, leaving in your computers, including their registry, stubs, curs, and keys for uninstalled programmes (you, a site, the updater, or some mischievious character did).

What to do?

Do you need the update?


(You can simply ‘Hide’ it but, although you will not see it anymore, the inconsistency remains there, if you don’t mind inconsistencies, simply ‘Hide’ it, if you mind…).

Then open the ‘regedit.exe’ tool (or whatever registry tool you have to do that) in the Windows directory,  ‘Collapse’ anything until the only folder you see is ‘Computer’, click on it and then on the ‘Edit’ button, and then on ‘Search…’, type the name of the application failing in the updater (or the sequence of letters and numbers WITHOUT the curly brackets, or any other ‘headache-raiser’ identificator the updater provides while saying it is failing), and delete those keys, and repeat the search (by pressing F3, or by clicking on ‘Search next…’.

(Before doing this, sensible people make a system backup in case they need to restore anything from an external storage device, to a previous state [unsensible people like me don’t do any backup, so if there is anything to restore it can be done only by the ‘restore the computer to a previous state’]).

If you atempt to delete something really important for the system, the system does not let you (unless you have zero access and in that case you know at least the same as I know) delete it.

Do you need the uptade?


Then you must uninstall the newer versions and start installing from the oldest version (which is the one with the lowest version number) you have, and go on updating subsequently (NOTE: the ‘answers’ site says the opposite, you try and tell me what happens…).

  • And what are the updates?
  • Most of them are new sets of data, data types, and instructions, in order to adapt old features of operating system or application versions, to new requirements and fucntionalities, and also a way to correct vulnerabilities raised from the WER (Windows Event Report, among other event triggers and collectors) and sent to (hopefully) the Microsoft network automatically, so their people see the ‘bugs’ and make improvements on security and performance.
  • And why are there ‘unknown errors’ then?
  • Because of discontinuation of old versions, meaning this that from a certain point onward, there is no further maintenance, and the life-cycle for that ‘whatever’ (operating system, aplication, widget, extension, plugin…) has ended, so you have to do the maintenance yourselves or buy another brand new equipment or programme.

Acerca de María Cristina Alonso Cuervo

I am a teacher of English who started to write this blog in May 2014. In the column on the right I included some useful links and widgets Italian is another section of my blog which I called 'Cornice Italiana'. There are various tags and categories you can pick from. I also paint, compose, and play music, I always liked science, nature, arts, language... and other subjects which you can come across while reading my posts. Best regards.
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