Microsoft’s January 2024 Patch (KB5034122 and KB5034123) Marred by WinRE Update Install Failures

The first Patch of 2024 saw Microsoft release important cumulative updates for Windows 10 and 11 to fix a vulnerability in the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). However, many users encountered frustrating install failures due to insufficient WinRE partition sizes.

The updates in question are KB5034122 and KB5034123. They address CVE-2024-20666 – a bug that allowed attackers to bypass BitLocker drive encryption through a loophole in WinRE.

But upon attempting installation, some users received the error code 0x80070643 along with the message “ERROR_INSTALL_FAILURE.”

Microsoft acknowledged that this install failure occurs because the existing WinRE partition is too small for the patch update. Although WinRE partition sizes were automatically set during initial Windows installation, Microsoft’s latest patch now deems those sizes inadequate.

To resolve, users must manually resize their WinRE partitions to be at least 250 MB larger before retrying the update. Microsoft has provided guidance on resizing in KB5028997.

However, in testing I found simply removing the WinRE partition also prevents the 0x80070643 error, allowing a smooth update installation.

    So in summary, if you encountered issues installing the Patch updates KB5034122 or KB5034123, you have two options:

  • Follow the instructions in KB5028997 to resize your WinRE partition, allocating at least 250 MB more space.
  • Remove the WinRE partition completely if you have no need for recovery options.

It’s an inconvenient workaround for what should be a simple security update, updates are important for protecting against the BitLocker bypass vulnerability, so Microsoft should address the underlying WinRE partition size issue soon.

Did you experience this install failure? Follow us or DM @Gizmoweek, let us know if resizing or removing the WinRE partition resolved it for you, patch should help secure systems, not cause headaches for users.

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