Whenever you are using Windows 7 or Windows Vista as an operating system and you try to install an update with the Windows Update website, you receive the error code 0x80073712 and the update fails to install. Also, another symptom for this condition is in the Control Panel window. The Windows Features dialogue box is empty whenever you click Turn Windows features on or off under Programs and Features. After this error, you are also unable to install updates form your other software.

This article would discuss two methods on how to solve this problem. Instructions are for a beginner to intermediate computer user level. Make sure thought that you are logged in as an administrator to be able to execute the following instructions.

Method One: Running the System File Checker Tool

1.    Click Start; go to the Start Search box, type cmd.
2.    From the results area, right click cmd.exe, and then click Run as administrator. Type the administrator password when prompted and then click Continue.
3.    Type Sfc /scannow at the command prompt. Press ENTER.

At this point, a scan is in progress. Any corrupted or missing file found will be repaired by Windows. Some information from you installation CD may be needed so get it ready in case Windows prompts you to insert it.

When System File Checker is already done, run Windows Update. Or you may also try to go to Control Panel and see if the Windows Features dialogue box is already there. Try to turn Windows on and off. If the problem is still not resolved, then you may proceed to the next method.

Method Two: Using System Restore

Using the System Restore function would return your system files to a previously uncorrupted setting.

If you are a Windows 7 user:

1.    Click Start, go to the Search Programs and Files box, and then type system restore.
2.    Right click System Restore then click Run as administrator.
3.    Click Next in the System Restore dialogue box.
4.    You will see a calendar with some bold dates. These bold dates represent a restore point. Click on a date that is before the time you started experiencing the problem. Click Next.
5.    The Confirm your restore point window appears. Click Finish.

If you are a Windows Vista user:

1.    Click Start, got to the Start Search box, then type system restore.
2.    Right click on System Restore, click on Run as administrator, and click Continue.
3.    When the System Restore dialogue box appears, click the Recommended restore check box, and, afterwards, click Next, and then click the Finish button.

These methods are pretty easy for a beginner or intermediate computer user. Each method takes about 5-10 minutes so complete so they are moderately easy to follow.

If still these methods don’t work and the problem keeps recurring, then you may need to contact support. Just go to the Microsoft Support Website or you may click on this link: http://support.microsoft.com/contactus