FIX: We couldn’t complete the Updates/Undoing changes

Andrew Wafer
by Andrew Wafer
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Fix We couldn't complete the Updates

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 10 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 10 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 10 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 …

From that point, the process will just go on and on and on.

Anyway, if you are facing this error on your Windows 10 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.

We’ve written about Windows updates issues before. Bookmark this page in case you need it.


How do I fix these update changes on Windows 10?

  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

Important note – How to 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;
    1. From there just select Change Defaults or choose other options.
  2. If Windows 10 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 enable safe mode

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.

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 a 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 /RestorehealthDISM cmd
  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.

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.

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.run windows update troubleshooter
  4. Follow further on-screen instructions.
  5. Restart your computer.

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.restart app readiness service
  3. Right-click App Readiness, and select Start.

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/scannowsfc cmd
  3. Wait for the process to finish.
  4. Restart your computer.

Read our guide to use System File Checker like a true technician!


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 settingsenable metered connection
  3. Click your internet connection icon
  4. Toggle the Set metered connection option on

Learn more about blocking automatic updates from our handy guide!


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.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • Just press F11 button and follow through until you can do a system restore and screw these Microsoft instructions.

  • The problem isn’t windows. It’s these dumbasses who are these so called techies who think they know how to program windows at Microsoft. Wanna save a headache…..fuck it buy an Apple. Microsoft is more of a brain tease with all these updates. Apple is much much better.

    • Less to do on an apple though, so yes one could spend 1000’s more for hardware from 5 years ago on a mac, It’s always these “so called techies” that suggest macs cuz they know very little anyways. But yes this is the cost of firing most of the US work force from MS and hiring indians that know nothing just to support” your people” ( the MS CEO )

  • I feel the SAME WAY!! I can’t get off the stupid screen to get to any other choices! I’ve pressed F8+shift F8 alone , shift alone.. turned off and back on , taken battery out . I freaking HATE THIS EFFING THING! I hate windows ! I hate Microsoft! Why can’t someone tell us how to escape this effing screen and STOP THE FREAKING UPDATE ???

  • I press F8 or SHIFT F8and nothing happens. When I release the keys, it goes right back to the

    “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes.”

  • I have done the following and it works:
    :
    ‘This PC -> C: ->Windows->Softwaredistrubution->Download: delete ALL the files.
    In Setting->Windows Update->Advanced: change to ‘Notify to schedule restart’ Done….

  • I just fixed my computer using all of the steps that everyone has commented below. Thank you everyone you have been a MAJOR help o=for me 🙂

  • Holding F8 or shift+F8 doesn’t get me to the advanced screen. I still have the “We couldn’t complete” screen of death.

  • I am using my macbook for 3 years and have not had to fix anything. I have a PC to play games, and every time it updates, it wastes my 3 hours. I have to say … windows is too stupid for me to use.

  • I had the same problem on my Windows 8.1, safe mode did not work for me either. I ended up using system restore (files are not deleted, but recent installed programmes might be lost), and it works for me. I still do not trust windows in their updates.

  • So this certain update is known to cause an issue but it is still one of the updates? Why?
    I just got the continuous loop yesterday, put in my install disk and restored.

  • Same issue with me as well. It is not even letting me start in the Safe Mode. Taking a toll on my work. Please help……

  • I had the same problem on a Lenovo. The Shift + F8 combination worked, I entered the Safe Mode as above. I went to Control Panel and saw over 100 updates and I didn’t want to spend too much time with them so I decided to System Restore (I had a restore point for same day so it only deleted the updates).
    After 15 minutes of “Please wait while Windows is being restored…” and 1 minute of black screen, everything went back to normal.

  • Ok. Got to safe mode… upon selecting, back to blue screen. It will NOT enter safe mode. Period. HP and Microsoft needs to be reported to the Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC). Selling crap computers with crap software . They got their money and we have to jump through hoops to fix what they knew was bunk? I don’t think so. I smell a joint action lawsuit!!! They either replace my shit or fix it at no charge. Done with this crap!

  • I did everything as you said in “If Windows 8.1 is your default and only OS”, I come to that screen where I choose F4 for “enable safe mode” and nothing happens.. Windows starts in normal mode with “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes” message.. I have a Dell laptop

  • Had same issue installing 100+ updates & lost power. Can usually get into safe mode by doing a Shift + Restart, but I could not get into the OS to do that. So what worked for me was going to a previous system restore point from a Windows 8.1 install disk.

  • If the F7 F8 F10 F11 options doesn’t get you into the safe mode and advanced startup screen, you should look up your laptop’s manufacturer guide. Every brand has a different method to switch into the safemode screen. I spent the past 7hr looking for answer. The only one that works is the one provided by my laptop manufacturer.

  • I got this “we couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer. ” after I chose the safe mode option. I don’t know what to do. So please someone tell me what has to be done now.

  • Well, I read the narrative regarding removal of a few of the previous Win 10 updates and then retrying the troublesome KB3105210 (hours of attempts) and the previous deleted updates installed along with the KB3105210 cumulative update. Thank you (not!) Microsoft for being unable to perfect and OS… and having 40 years to do it!

  • I restarted my computer, held down Shift+Fn button while constantly hitting the F8 button (fast, over and over). This allowed me to break the loop and brought up the Troubleshooting screen in order to proceed. Hope this helps for the F8 button not working for some of you.

  • Holding F9 on reboot got me to a troubleshooting screen, hope this helps anyone else. (F8 did nothing for me)

  • THIS DOES *NOT* WORK!!!!! SHIFT F8 AND SAFE MODE IS *NOT* POSSIBLE ON A WINDOWS 8 TABLET THAT *ONLY* HAS AN ON-SCREEN KEYBOARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I have this loop going on in my Dell Venue 8 Pro. Could not use the tablet for days as a result. Wish there was fix for problem.

  • The real issue at hand is why does Windows suck so badly. This would never happen with Apple products. Unbelievable. Terrible company.

  • Can’t uninstall updates and a lot of people in the comments have the same unanswered question. Wtf?!?

  • ATTENTION:

    Today this happened to my M5A99FX Pro r2.0 win8.1. F8 only gave me the options for what items to boot from NOT anything sbout restarting pc in another mode. Terrible online guides.

    I reset my comp and held down both shift and F9 as soon as I pressed reset. I got a windows screen that started to run repairs and diagnostics, afterwards, I am able to select advanced settings and click trouble shoot and advanced settings. I CANNOT click “enable safe mode” in startup settings, but I can restore to a functional state.

    I hope this helps.

  • so heres what I did (excuse me if I make a spelling or grammer mistake) Anytime I need help with anyhing I go to my computer.Good thing I have three.I was on my laptop (Facebook)and I was changing my profile pic.Next thing I know my computer decided to freeze.I forced turned it off because it didnt wanna go off the correct way.When I pressed the power button to turn it back on,it said it was updating ..took forever…when it finished “UPDATING” ..a loud blue screen popped up saying..
    WE COULDNT COMPLETE THE UPDATES UNDOING CHANGES DONT TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER” had no idea that Id be waiting for it to “undo” as long as it did so finally…I first disconnected my battery and that only allowed me to come up on some weird screen so I then referred to my old way of finding out “How To”..I went to my desktop and just typed in the message in the browser and it brought me here. I read a lot of these comments and tried a few..because some just plain didnt work..they helped me but I did most already what I thought. Victoria Garcia ‘s comment helped me the most My computer is now refreshing….I will be back on here if this doesn’t work!!

  • So what happens when I follow these instructions and the updates won’t uninstall? I notice some others have this problem too. I’m sure this advise works, it makes total sense- but my PC won’t uninstall the ‘problematic’ updates anyway, so any advice from there? Cheers

  • I was able to fix mine by turning off the computer. Then while pressing F9, I turned it back on. Followed the prompts. I chose to Refresh. It worked.

  • Any chance any of you have seen this problem with a partition on mac? I have no option for ‘advanced startup option’ so I don’t even have the ability to attempt this. Any suggestions please please please???

  • On my HP, after 12 hours, tech support, not knowing AT ALL what they were doing, suggested I turn it off, then on and tap f11. That is what got me to the refresh screen and it looks like I am out of reboot hell. This is still, however, a piece of junk. Windows 8.1 is the worst, worse than Vista.

  • How it worked on my end In achieving something(maybe for you too):
    1. Held my power button until my laptop switched off.
    2. turned it back on then held F8 straightaway.
    3. Let f8 go when ‘Undoing updates’ thing came back up. Started swearing bullshit and getting angry. Wanted to smash my laptop, was close…

    BUT WAIT-
    4. I decided to turn my laptop off again and let it simmer for ten seconds (or I simmered more like it). I then pulled the power cord out and decided to turn it back on again.

    Then surprise! The recovery system or whatever the safe mode, came up instead of that stupid Unable to install updates message.

    so yeah it is achievable, obviously.

    Current progress: Refreshing my PC

    it’s progress…that better not further disappoint.

  • I contacted Microsoft tech support and after 2 hours taking control of my laptop, he told me he needed to use some advanced tools and it would cost me $99.

  • I had to I turn on my computer and then open the CD drive to get to the options, I then proceeded to restart the devise to factory settings

  • I also tried that F9 option only to get yet another strange boot option that I selected the first one and returned to this annoying screen.

  • I am running Window 8.1 with no other OS loaded on my HP Laptop that I was actually using earlier today, but when I tried to boot tonight it took 40 minutes to do an update only to get into this reappearing error screen.

  • I have read so many posts and no matter what I do with shift F8, F8 with no success in getting to boot & only get that same thing: We couldn’t complete the updates Undoing Changes Don’t Turn Off Your Computer. I hold down the off button till it shuts down and to restart it as nothing works!

  • I became stuck in the restarting loop after an update failed. I managed to get to the part where I was signed into safe mode, but I couldn’t uninstall the updates. I ended up restoring to a date about a week ago from safe mode and now I’m signed in and everything seems fine.

    Not sure if this had any effect whatsoever but before I ran the system restore I opened the command prompt (window key + R, type in cmd) and I used the “sfc /scannow” command. It asked me to restart which I knew would have no effect and put me back in the loop That’s when I did the system restore.

    I know my insight on technology probably sounds negligible, but this helped me and I wanted to share.

  • This worked for me in the sense that I held the shift f8 down until it came back to the password screen. It restarted several times, finished the updates and that was it. Put in my pw ans it started like normal. I never got the advanced startup screen.

  • Totally fucking helpful when I go to uninstall it, it says an error has occurred. Not all of the updates were successfully uninstalled.

  • Just when I thought Windows couldn’t possibly make me think any less of Microsoft….
    THIS is their flagship OS? What an embarrassment.

  • You need to remove the battery and power supply then press power for 15 seconds then put them back. Press and hold f8 then press power button while pressing the f8. Windows 8 is the worst OS ever. You are always in danger of loosing your data as result of a wronfully installed Microsoft update that will force you to fully restore and wipe your system because you won’t be even able to start in safe mode.

  • Enabled safe mode and it goes straight back to this shit. Windows 8 is a piece of shit. Gonna ask for my Windows 7 laptop back!

  • “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”.”

    Because most people have two OS’s installed. Oh wait, no they don’t. None of these stupid help guides bother to explain how to get past the ‘We couldn’t complete the updates’ screen to begin with. For people with ONE operating system.

  • This doesn’t work. When trying to uninstall any of the updates, it says “An error has occured. Not all the updates were successfully uninstalled.”

  • My tabl;et gets all the way through until step 6 it does not restart but goes right back to that stupid shit page of can not update.. I just bouyght this computer with scholarship money and that was a waste of my fucking time and energy. This is a peice of shit.

  • To start, I had a b!+€# of a time getting this going. If you are using a tablet (windows 8 full) then you first need to a cess boot options (power+windows button) and turn OFF secure boot. (So long as you have a keyboard hooked up…see micro usb to female 2.0 adapter) Upon “save and restart” hold f9 to prompt the advanced setup listed in this walk through. I had the freeze put on my Dell venue 8 pro and after 2 hrs of scratching my head and searching the “interweb” I was able to piece a few ideas together and got working. Hope this helps, cheers.

  • A TABLET WON’T HAVE A KEYBOARD — how the *(#@ are you supposed to solve this?? This is a brand new tablet, it’s been “undoing changes” for HOURS

  • This is so frustrating. Last night my main workstation Win8.1 PC wanted to update, so at the end of the evening I did an “Update and Shutdown” – this morning (8 hours later) I see “We couldn’t complete the updates, Undoing changes, Don’t turn off your computer”… This is not a dual OS machine, and I can’t get to safe mode with F8 or SHIFT F8 – and neither can most people posting online… so I think I’m stuck.

    WTF Microsoft, why can’t I boot to safe mode in your flagship OS when I can get it to start normally???

    It’s a Lenovo, and F2 brings up some squirrelly looking One-Click “restore to last image” function – but it’s a “One-Click” restore point, not a Windows restore point. I didn’t know One-Click was a thing, and I do know there are recent Windows restore points… Choosing “One Click” says “will result in the loss of data” as it restores to god-knows-when. Otherwise I’ve got a big brick sitting here.

    Anyone been able to fix this problem?