We couldn’t complete the updates, Undoing changes

If you receive We couldn’t complete the updates, Undoing changes, Don’t turn off your computer message, and your Windows 10/8/7 PC is stuck in a loop, then this post may help you. This is a generic error that might appear any time a Windows update fails.

While updating one of my dual-boot Windows 10 laptops, I saw this screen. If your system can undo the changes, it is good; you will be able to at least boot into your Windows desktop, from where you can troubleshoot your Windows Update issues. But in my case, the laptop just went into an endless reboot loop.

I let it reboot a couple of times, to see if it would sort itself out – but no luck there! This is what I did to resolve my issue.

We couldn’t complete the updates, Undoing changes

We couldnt complete the updates

Generally speaking, if your computer gets into an endless reboot loop, try to get into Safe Mode or access Advanced Boot Options. Here you can open a command prompt windows or system restore or perform an Automatic Repair.

If you are on a dual-boot system, things are a bit easy. In the dual-boot OS selection screen where you select the OS to boot into, you will see a Change defaults or choose other options.

Select it, then Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup settings. Here press 4 on your keyboard to select the Enable Safe Mode option. This will reboot your PC into Safe Mode. You can read this post on Advanced startup options in Windows 10 if you need more details.

If you have only a single operating system installed on your computer, then you need to find a way to boot Windows 10 in safe mode. The options include:

  1. Press Shift and click Restart to boot you into the Advanced startup options screen
  2. Open Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now.
  3. Type shutdown /r /o in an elevated CMD prompt to reboot your computer into Advanced Boot options or Recovery console.

If you had already enabled the F8 key earlier, things are easier as you and press F8 while booting, to enter Safe Mode; else we have a situation here. You may have to boot into Windows 10 with your Installation Media or Recovery Drive. Select Repair your computer and the Advanced startup options will appear.

Well, once you have got out of the reboot loop and entered Safe Mode of your desktop, you have three options:

1] Run Command Prompt as administrator. In the CMD box that appears on the computer screen, enter the following strings of text, one at a time, and hit Enter.

net stop wuauserv
net stop bits

Now browse to the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder and delete all the files and folders inside.

Restart your computer. It should be able to boot to Desktop.

I used this first method, and it worked for me. On a normal restart, I ran Windows Update again, and this time they installed fine for me.

2] Open Control Panel > Programs and Features > View installed updates. Here you may uninstall the offending update which you may have installed recently, just before your problem started.

Alternatively, to view your Windows Update History and remove any recent update which may have potentially caused this issue, open Settings > Windows Update > View update history.

3] Use System Restore to restore your computer back to a prior good point.

Let us know if any of this worked for you or if you have any other ideas.

Also read: Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

29 Comments

  1. Paul Canham

    Hi many thanks, this works, It managed to restart, so I cmd prompt and just did the net stop wuauserv and net stop bits, it stopped the updates…. Deleated the software distribution folder has well, but it leaves the error log file, don’t seem to matter. I’ve restarted. A few times seems ok for now. The Windows 10 updates sure do mess you computer up, it was ok before this week.

  2. Alex

    My computer is stuck like this and won’t boot in safe mode….I’m still trying ,hoping that by waiting it will eventually get into safe mode…is this hopeless?? It failed doing a recovery from a restore point saying that an “anti-virus is preventing the recovery” ….I really want to get into safe mode to uninstall the faulty update!!! I had just reinstalled everything on my computer before this happened and really don’t want to go through it all over again! This is really frustrating!

  3. Wricky

    Great. Now my computer is stuck in an even more serious loop now that I’ve follow your “advice.”

  4. What have I advised? Simply to empty all the contents of the C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution folder. This cannot cause your problem. Maybe it is something else…

  5. Wendy M Joy

    I cannot get into safe mode… none of my keyboard keys are working… Any ideas?

  6. Ricki

    Did you ever figure out or fix your issue? My F8 key is not working either…. I’ve been searching the net but haven’t found a solution to get me into safe mode. 🙁

  7. Open System Configuration Utility. Under the Boot tab check the Safe boot and Minimal options. Click Apply/OK and exit. On restart, your computer will enter Safe Mode directly. Details here: https://www.thewindowsclub.com/boot-windows-10-in-safe-mode

  8. YSP craigslist

    I have same issue with Windows 8.1
    Does the solution provided work as well?

  9. Andrew Pidding

    Hey man I followed exactly what you said in the guide and at first I thought it worked as It said updates installed, but the moment I searched for updates and it asked me to restart it was unable to install and the problem just started over again. Any advice on what I could do?

  10. YSP craigslist

    Thanks
    Actually I resolved it using different method
    May be was lucky
    Entered into safe mode, it asked to reboot
    Once rebooted, it got out of the stuck mode into installing update
    It took like 10 min and then it rebooted again and all resolved

  11. Art Evens

    Hellooooooooooooo. Step 1 “Press Shift and click Restart to boot you into the Advanced startup options screen.” The thing’s locked in a loop. You can press “Shift all day, and nothing happens.

  12. Jeeh

    Hi,
    Had the same problem about 3 hours ago. Windows stuck in a loop, tried searching for a solution on different websites and nothing seems to work. Not the f8, shift+restart, the keyboard wouldn’t even respond. Just when i’m about to cry… The “undoing changes” completed and my pc is working again.
    I guess I got lucky. Next time I will never shut down and update my pc (it was the only option available yesterday).

    Could you kindly give me advise on how to remove the updates in the future before i turn off ky pc so that the opyion i get is “shut down” only, not “shut down and update”.

  13. tony lee

    control panel>system and security>find and fix problems>fix problem with window update

  14. DavidsComments

    Tony,
    Which version of Windows was that on?
    Thanks.
    David

  15. Jay C

    It worked for me for 3 days. But after the computer restarted because of a program requirement. The entire issue happened again. I checked backed with the Windows Distribution folder and the contents came back. Now, it’s working again. What’s with those contents that keep the computer from booting normally? Need an absolute resolution on this. Thanks!

  16. Kyle

    Thanks a lot Sir… The first method works for me … <3

  17. Thanks a lot. The first method worked for me as well.

  18. Jan

    I was absolutely flummoxed when this happened to my new pc but i followed the above easily and it worked! Very many thanks from a senior with no IT skills st all.

  19. Rudi

    Please help I’m desperate. I am working on a wacom cintiq computer which means i have no keyboard. I’m getting this forever install reboot delete update loop and have no idea how to go to safe mode or open options. I’ve got a lot of work that I need to do and no way to do it please someone help

  20. Rushdi Rushdi

    hello..
    i faced the same problem and had to extend the system reserved partition from 345 mb to 1 gb. updated successfully.

  21. Jason White

    Step one seems to have worked. I saved the Software Distribution in a different folder in the event I needed to roll it back. Thanks for the help.

  22. Bruce Verbeten

    Just wanted to say thank you. I finally have the updates working in windows 10. This repair worked perfectly. Bruce V

  23. Rama Kanth

    hi there. I recently dual booted my laptop with kali linux and my primary OS is Windows 10 of course. Actaully i m having trouble installing the very recent windows 10 update which is “2017-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1703 for x64-based Systems (KB4038788)”. Whenever i try to install it says ” we couldn’t finish installing ur updates undoing changes. But it is not running in an endless loop. it is automatically restarting and i m able to get into my windows 10 without any issue. but i like to keep my laptop updated. Can u please help me out ??. I’d really appreciate it. Thank u.

  24. Cre Asy

    my windows 10 keeps updating and failing same way but i have no dual boot! Any ideas why?

  25. Mohammed Umar Shaikh

    Ubuntu seems good in updating system. Mine window 10 goes in same situation but now working after 24 hour. Don’t know how.

  26. Mohammed Umar Shaikh

    Mine working after switching off and restarting three times.

  27. CheeseWhiz

    Thank you!

  28. Eugene W Minton III

    i am not a computer savvy person, my computer crashed with a blue screen saying it was collecting details… and i am like … “screw the details” and pressed power until the computer shut off… since it had an update notice it attempted to do the update and when was finished it attempted to apply the changes…which it failed and i got the blue screen above, i let it loop 3x and since i dont know short cuts and have no other means to seek detailed computer commands i press and held power again, and turned it back on, it did the blue screen once and then started normally after if fixed the errors, no idea if its making my system more unstable or what but lately i’ve had allot of issues with games closing on their own, and the blue screen gathering crash information when the entire operating system crashes…has happened several times this month… what is going on?

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