IE11 patch KB 3038314 blocks search engines and may fail with error 80092004

The latest IE11 patch prevents some Windows users from adding Google as a search provider -- if it finishes installing at all

IE11 patch KB 3038314 blocks search engines and may fail with error 80092004

We don't know the full extent of the problem yet, but it appears the latest Internet Explorer patch prevents Internet Explorer 11 -- and possibly other versions of IE -- from installing Google and other search engines. And the problem may go beyond Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1 PCs.

Many IE11 customers are reporting on the Microsoft Answers Forum (and elsewhere) that the latest IE11 patch rollup, MS 15-032 KB 3038314, reports that it failed to install with error 80092004. Others say the download on that patch stalls at 11 percent and doesn't budge, or that the download kicks out at 11 percent with the same failed-to-install error message, code 80092004.

Curiously, those who report the installation error and check the Help/About setting in Internet Explorer 11 see that they're currently running Internet Explorer 11 "Update Versions: 11.0.18 (KB3038314)" -- which would seem to indicate that the patch was in fact installed. (The previous version of Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 is reported as "Update Versions: 11.0.17 (KB3032359).")

Several of the reports involve clean Windows 7 SP1 PCs, and after applying the 172 or so updates necessary to make Windows 7 SP1 current, this particular patch fails with error 80092004. The problem persists even after reboots, and after setting IE as the default browser, and after disabling antivirus software. It also fails when bypassing Automatic Update and manually installing the patch.

Poster lfryt put it this way on the Microsoft Community forum:

 1. Problem exists on completely new systems also. So suggestions to uninstall something does not make too much value

 2. Mostly those PCs have all other updates installed

 3. Procedure with hiding this update installing previous cumulative update and then try to install this one does not work

 4. Manual install does not work

 5. Clean boot does not work (I mean does not help identify problem, which is expected on clean systems)

 6. Automated fixing of Windows Update does not work

 7. Manual procedure for fixing Windows Update suggested by one Microsoft moderator does not work

I haven't seen any reports of the patch installer failing on Windows 8.1 PCs. It may be a problem particular to PCs that have fresh versions of Windows 7 on them.

There's been no confirmation or explanation from Microsoft, of course.

Those users who do manage to get the patch installed are reporting an even more troubling problem: Once you've installed KB 3038314 on PCs with either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update 1, you can't add Google as a search provider.

You can easily replicate the problem:

Step 1. On a Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update 1 PC, running Internet Explorer 11, install KB 3038314. If you were unfortunate enough to have Automatic Update turned on this past week, it's already been installed for you. Surprise.

Step 2. Start IE11. Click the proto-hamburger Gear icon in the upper-right corner, choose Manage Add-ons. On the left, click Search Providers. You will see Bing, possibly some other search providers.

Step 3. At the bottom, click the link to Find more search providers… That takes you to the Web page that's supposed to offer you alternate search providers.

Step 4. Scroll down, below the ads for Bing. Click Google Search (you will find it there somewhere). A page pops up. Click the button to Add to Internet Explorer.

Step 5. Nothing, absolutely nothing; IE doesn't respond in any way.

I tried adding Yahoo Search the same way and it didn't respond either. The Wikipedia Accelerator offered to install, but eBay Visual Search did not respond.

Curt Winter, posting on the TechNet blog, goes through several sophisticated steps he tried to shake the search engine apparatus loose -- with no luck.

It ends up that, at least in some cases, you can uninstall KB 3038314, add Google (or another search provider), then re-install KB 3038314, and have the search provider come through unscathed. However other folks report that they haven't been so lucky.

Poster Kimi K on the TechNet forum gives a more complete solution that involves uninstalling KB 3038314, adding Google to IE, exporting a Registry entry, re-installing KB 3038314, and then importing the Registry key.

There's an ominous note at the end of that particular TechNet thread. Poster and Microsoft MVP Kai Schätzl says, "All versions of IE have stopped being able to add a new search provider after the last cumulative update." I have yet to see a list of IE and Windows versions that are similarly afflicted.

No response yet from Microsoft, of course.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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