Troubleshooting Permission Errors While Updating Software

A number of people are reporting errors when running software update tools. The tools include Windows Update, Windows Defender Updates, Installshield, Adobe Updater, and probably others as well. The errors include 80070005 (from Windows tools) and c0000005 (from others). To see if we can help people get their software updates, Steve Wechsler helped me put together some troubleshooting steps. If these steps help, and more so if they don't, we'd like to hear about it. If you find something else that helps, let us know by posting a comment.


All these errors indicate a permissions issue of some kind. All of them basically mean "Access Denied". However, determining exactly what the cause is can be difficult. There seem to be two main reasons why this is happening: multiple firewalls on the same computer, and a permissions issue, usually in the registry.


Multiple Firewalls
Several people with this problem report that it disappeared when the shut down one of the several firewalls they had on their computer. If you have installed a security suite, such as Norton Internet Security, on a Windows Vista computer, you have multiple firewalls. That, in and of itself, is not a problem as long as only one of them is running. However, if two, or more, are running at the same time, you will run into trouble. Some third-party firewalls appear to fail to properly disable the built-in Windows Firewall. If you have a third-party security suite installed, take the following steps to ensure the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security is turned off:

  1. Click the Window button (the start menu)
  2. In the search dialog, type "Windows Firewall"
  3. In a few seconds you will have a couple of results, including one that says "Windows Firewall". Click that one
  4. If the right-hand window says "Windows Firewall is on" click "Change settings"
  5. Accept the User Account Control prompt by clicking "Continue"
  6. Select the "Off (not recommended)" radio button and click OK. WARNING: do not do this unless you are sure you have a third-party firewall!
  7. Attempt to run the updater that failed again.

If this resolves the problem you can resolve it permanently by either leaving Windows Firewall off, or by disabling the third-party firewall. For the most part, they perform the same function, although the built-in firewall typically is far less intrusive and more stable. To disable the third-party firewall refer to the manufacturer's documentation.


Permissions Problems

If you do not have two firewalls the problem is almost certainly permissions related. If this is your case you need to resort to advanced troubleshooting tools.


Follow these steps carefully. They are written for Windows Vista, but the problem has also affected Windows XP. With only minor modifications (such as the ommission of the UAC elevation-related steps) they work on Windows XP as well.


Keep in mind that setting incorrect permissions can significantly harm your computer, to the point where it is either completely insecure, will not boot, or both. There are multiple recommendations out on the Internet that recommend that you change the permissions on large parts of the registry and the operating system. Doing so will render your computer unsupported and disable significant parts of the security sub-system. Surgical precision is key when modifying permissions.


  1. First, download Microsoft/System Internals Process Monitor from Save it somewhere you can remember, such as your Downloads directory or the desktop.
  2. Open the Downloads directory in Windows Explorer (the easiest way is to hold down the Window key and hit E, click your name, and click Downloads)
  3. Right-click ProcessMonitor and select "Extract all…" Walk through the wizard to extract the files
  4. In the window that opens when the extraction is complete, double-click "procmon" or "procmon.exe"
  5. In the "Open File – Security Warning" prompt, uncheck the box that says "Always ask before opening this file" and click Run
  6. Accept the User Account Control prompt by selecting Continue
  7. Accept the license agreement (no, the next time you run the tool you will only have the User Account Control prompt, not all three)
  8. Maximize the window
  9. Hold the CTRL key and hit L
  10. In the drop-down that says "Architecture" select "Result"
  11. In the text box next to "Is" type "ACCESS DENIED" (without the quotes). Here is what it should look like:

  12. Hit the Add button
  13. Hit OK
  14. Hold CTRL and hit X to clear the output window

You now have Process Monitor monitoring all operations on the computer. At this point, retry the updater that fails. If the updater fails with a permissions problem, you should get entries in the Process Monitor window. Each one indicates a potential problem that could harm your ability to install updates, although they may also be unrelated.


Here is an example of the types of ACCESS DENIED errors you may see. Note that your process name would not be regedit.exe.

To fix the problem you need to set permissions. If you are not comfortable with exactly how to do that, I can help you if you send me the keys that are causing the error. You can do that most easily by clicking CTRL+A in Process Monitor, and then clicking CTRL+C to copy it. Then click the "Comments" link on the right side of the blog to send me a message, and paste the output into it.


To fix the problem yourself you can also change the permissions on the registry key (typically) or file that is a problem. I have not yet seen this happen because of file permissions, but if it does, it would be interesting to know. To fix registry permissions problems, do this:


  1. Right click the event and select “Jump to…”
  2. Right-click the key that is listed and select “Permissions…”
  3. Click Advanced
  4. Make sure that permissions are at least Full Control for TrustedInstaller, and Read for Administrators and SYSTEM. If that is what you have, and you are using a non-Windows installer (such as Adobe Updater), close the Advanced window, select the Administrators entry, and click the Full Control checkbox
  5. Click OK to close the dialogs.
  6. Retry the update

This will work under the assumption that the proper permissions were overridden on that particular key. In general, permissions on these keys should be Read for everyone except Trusted Installer, as follows:

You may, however, see Administrators have Full Control, or SYSTEM having Full Control. Those are both typically acceptable.


If this helps you, and you do not mind, could you please post a comment with the key that was a problem? It would be very interesting if we could figure out if this is caused by some particular piece of software that modifies some particular value.

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