How to troubleshoot error 0x800F081F when installing roles and features

I’ve seen a couple of issues now where customers are having issues installing roles and features, particularly the .Net Framework 3.5, in Windows 8 and Server 2012.  The general process is that you’ll have an application that needs the older .Net Framework and run through the UI wizard in an attempt to download the files from Windows Update.  If this fails, you’ll see the error with exit code 0x800F081F.  The means that we cant find a source for the files we need to install the feature you’re requesting.  So, how do you troubleshoot this?

  1. Make sure the source you’re using isn't corrupted.  If you have a download ISO from MSDN/TechNet/VL/etc, make sure that the ISO is good or try another source just to make sure.
  2. Make sure the component store isn't corrupted.  I’ve spoken in the past about the Inbox Corruption Repair feature (aka in-box CheckSUR) and it usually resolves a lot of these problems.  You can check your system for problems by running the command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth from an Internet connected machine.  Any corruption and repair operations will be logged to the CBS.log
  3. If you have a WSUS server on your network, use the /LimitAccess switch from DISM and install the component that way.  For example, for the .Net Framework, this command is: DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /Featurename:NetFX3 /Source:G:\sources\sxs /LimitAccess (where G: is the appropriate letter for the location of the DVD/ISO)
  4. Update your source media.  I reference how to do this in this prior post
  5. If all else fails, open a support ticket with us so we can take a look at your logs and determine what’s going on.

Most of the time, I’ve seen steps 1-4 (or a combination of them) resolve these types of issues.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have questions.