Fix: ‘We Couldn’t Complete the Updates/Undoing Changes” in Windows

As we are used to, Windows is automatically downloading and installing the latest updates released by Microsoft, whether we are talking about stability improvements, security updates or bug fixes for various apps from Windows Store. But, unfortunately, more and more Windows 8.1 users are complaining about an issue that is occurring while the update is being flashed.

Usually, this problem occurs after downloading the proper update and after the first restart (you will be prompted to reboot your Windows 8.1 device in order to enjoy the new OS update) is completed. Basically, the following alert will be displayed on your device and the screen will just freeze there: “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes”.

If you think that a force restart might resolve this issue, well we have bad news for you. Unfortunately you will be facing a boot loop, but to be more precise here are some details on the matter: so first you will be prompted with the “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes” Windows 8.1 alert; then you will force restart your computer and then you will get something similar with “Installing Updates 15% We couldn’t complete the updates, Undoing changes, Don’t turn off your computer Restarting …”; and from that point the process will just go on and on and on.

Anyway, if you are facing this error on your Windows 8.1 system, don’t worry as you can easily address the same by uninstalling the recent updates from your device. In order to do so, just follow and apply the guidelines from below.

Here are some examples:

  • We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes won’t turn off your computer – This error appears after a Windows update failed to install on your computer.
  • We couldn’t finish installing updates Windows 10 – This error message appears if Windows is not able to finish installing an update.
  • We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes Server 2012 R2 – As the error message says, this problem appears when you’re unable to install a certain update for Windows Server 2012.
  • Failure configuring windows updates undoing changes don’t turn off your computer – This problem causes an infinite boot loop, because Windows failed to configure updates.
  • Windows 10 undoing changes stuck – If installing a certain update failed, there’s a chance you’ll get stuck on the “Undoing changes” window.
  • We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes HP – Update installation fails are characteristic to some HP laptops.
  • We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes Dell – Update installation fails are characteristic to some laptops, as well.

How to fix “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes” in Windows 10 or Windows 8

Table of contents:

  1. Enter Safe Mode
  2. Delete recently installed updates 
  3. Run DISM
  4. Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder
  5. Run Windows Update Troubleshooter
  6. Enable the App Readiness service
  7. Run the SFC scan 
  8. Block Automatic Updates

Fix: We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes” in Windows 10

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The first step – Enter the Safe Mode

  1. If on your computer you have two or more operating systems installed then when you will be rebooting your device, you will be seeing the operating system selection screen; from there just select “Change Defaults or choose other options”.selection screen
  2. If Windows 8.1 is your default and only OS, then when restarting your computer press and hold down F8 or SHIFT F8 to load the advanced startup screen.
  3. From the Advanced Startup Screen select “Choose an Option” and pick “Troubleshoot”.
  4. Go ahead and select “advanced” options.
  5. From the next window tap on “Startup Settings” and from there choose “Enable Safe Mode”.startup settings

Solution 1 – Delete recently installed updates 

Good; now your Windows device will be powered off and entered into Safe Mode. Now, it’s time to delete the recently-installed updates that cause you the trouble:

  1. Now, go to Control Panel, choose “Programs and Features” and from the left panel of the Control Panel window select “View Installed Updates”.
  2. At this point, you need to uninstall all the recent updates.
  3. Then restart your computer and you are done.

Solution 2 – Run DISM

Some users have reported that running the DISM (Windows Deployment Image Servicing and Management) resolves this issue.

In case you don’t know what DISM is, it’s built-in tool for resolving various issues within the Windows operating system. And it might be helpful when dealing with the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates/Undoing Changes” error, as well.

Here’s how to run DISM in Windows 10:

  1. Press Windows key + X and start Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. In the command line type following command:
    • DISM.exe/Online /Cleanup-image /RestorehealthWe couldn't finish installing updates Windows 10
  3. In case the DISM can’t obtain files online, try using your installation USB or DVD. Insert media and type following command:
    • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:RepairSourceWindows /LimitAccess
  4. Be sure to replace ”C:RepairSourceWindows” path of your DVD or USB.
  5. The operation should last no more than 5 minutes.

Solution 3 – Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder

The Software Distribution folder is used for storing temporary files needed for installing Windows updates. If at least one of these files gets corrupt, you’ll have troubles installing Windows updates.

So, even though we wouldn’t touch this folder under normal circumstances, it’s actually a good idea rename it now. Renaming this folder will force Windows to create a new, clean one. And hopefully, your problems will be solved.

Here’s what you need to do to rename the SoftwareDistribution folder in Windows 10:

  1. Right-click the Start menu and run the Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. In the command line, type the following commands and press Enter after each:
    • net stop wuauserv
    • net stop bits
    • rename c:windowsSoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bakWe couldn't complete the updates undoing changes won't turn off your computer
    • net start wuauserv
    • net start bits
  3. Now, try to run Windows Update and check for changes.

Solution 4 – Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

Starting from Windows 10 Creators Update, you can use a new troubleshooting tool that’s placed into the Settings app. This is a universal troubleshooter, as it deals with various issues within the system, from network problems to failed updates.

So, if running the DISM tool and deleting the Software Distribution folder didn’t get the job done, you can try with this one. Here’s how to run Windows Update troubleshooter:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to Update & Security > Trubleshoot.
  3. Under Windows Update, select Run the troubleshooter.We couldn't complete the updates undoing changes Server 2012 R2
  4. Follow further on-screen instructions.
  5. Restart your computer.

Solution 5 – Enable the App Readiness service

Some users also reported that enabling the App Readiness service solves the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates/Undoing Changes” problem. Although we haven’t tested this method yet, it could actually prove to be useful.

Here’s how to enable the App Readiness service in Windows 10:

  1. Go to Search, type services.msc, and open Services.
  2. Find the App Readiness service.Windows 10 undoing changes stuck
  3. Right-click App Readiness, and select Start.

Solution 6 – Run the SFC scan 

The SFC scan is another built-in diagnostics and troubleshooting tool that can be useful when dealing with update issues. Here’s what you need to do to run it:

  1. Go to Search, type cmd, right-click Command Prompt, and go to Run as Administrator.
  2. Enter the following command, and press Enter on your keyboard: sfc/scannow
  3. Wait for the process to finish.
  4. Restart your computer.

Solution 7 – Block Automatic Updates

You can’t win a war against Windows Updates. Even if you find a way to block them, you’ll eventually have to update your computer. There’s really no way around it in Windows 10.

But we’re not trying to block updates on your computer forever. If the most recent update caused havoc on your computer, we’ll simply skip that one.

But there’s a catch, there’s no legit way of blocking Windows updates in Windows 10, like it was the case in previous versions of the system.

So, we’ll have to perform a little trick to block Windows updates for some time. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Right-click your connection icon in the taskbar
  2. Select Open Network & Internet Sharing settings
  3. Click your internet connection icon
  4. Toggle the Set metered connection option on

You’ll eventually have to switch your connection back to ‘normal’. But at least you’ll be safe until Microsoft replaces that troublesome update with a working one.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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