If you have errors in Windows Updatewindows-update-failed-errors you know how frustrating it can be trying to find solution.  The ‘We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes’ message is not particularly helpful.

Below is a list of fixes for Windows Update problems in order from easiest to most difficult:we-couldnt-complete-the-updates-undoing-changes

  1. Reboot your PC
    1. Don’t just log off
  2. Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter
    1. Click on the START button and type TROUBLE
  3. Use the updated Windows Update Troubleshooter you can download directly from Microsoft HERE.
  4. If you are a home user skip to item 5
    1. If you are in a company with a WSUS or System Center server, try to install the patch from Windows Update rather than WSUS
  5. Download the patch that is failing directly from Microsoft:
    1. Surf to https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Home.aspx
    2. In the search field (top right) enter the KB article associated with the patch (like KB3213522)
    3. Select the correct version of the patch (nearly all machines are 64 bit now)
    4. Download and then run the file
  6. Disconnect any non-essential devices (USB disks, printers, …)
    1. If you have downloaded the patch from the catelog (item 5 above) you should also try disconnecting your network cable
    2. If you are downloading the patch from Windows Update, you can unplug your network cable as soon as it displays PREPARING FOR INSTALL
  7. Run the System File Checker:
    1. Right click on the START button and select CMD AS AN ADMIN or POWERSHELL AS AN ADMIN
    2. type SFC /SCANNOW and press enter
    3. if it finds problems you will likely need to reboot to complete the fix
  8. Check for prerequisite patches:
    1. Surf to http://support.microsoft.com
    2. Enter the patch number you have problems with (like KB3206632)
    3. Click on the article
    4. Scroll to the bottom and read the PREREQUISITE section
    5. Right Click on your START button and select PROGRAMS AND FEAUTRES
    6. Click VIEW INSTALLED UPDATES link (to left corner)
    7. In the SEARCH INSTALLED UPDATES field (top right corner), type in the patch number of any prerequisite (like KB3213522 and yes, you need to have the KB in front of the numbers)
    8. If you don’t find it, go get it possibly through the catalogue as in step 5 above
  9. Read everything notable in Event Viewer:
    1. Click the START button and type the word EVENT
    2. Click EVENT VIEWER
  10. Disable any security products (like Antivirus)
  11. Perform a ‘clean boot’ with all non-MS services disabled
    1. Read THIS Microsoft article if you need instructions on how to perform a clean boot
  12. Run a manual repair of the Windows Update
    1. Right click on the START button and select CMD AS AN ADMIN or POWERSHELL AS AN ADMIN
    2. type (or copy /paste) Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    3. type (or copy /paste) Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    4. type (or copy /paste) Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth


From here down you are into the ‘long shots’ but they do resolve issues:

  1. Upgrade your computers BIOS
  2. Uninstall all VPN client software (if any)
  3. Delete files from c:\users\<user>\application data\temp and c:\windows\temp\
  4. Delete all old/dead user profiles
    1. Right click on the START menu and select SYSTEM
    2. Click ADVANCED SYSTEM SETTINGS (from the menu on the top left)
    3. Click the SETTINGS button in the USER PROFILES section
    4. Delete any old or unused profiles
  5. Perform an in-place upgrade:
    1. If you don’t have a current Windows 10 DVD or ISO, make one using Microsoft’s free Media Creation Tool.
      1. Be sure to click the DOWNLOAD TOOL NOW and NOT the UPGRADE NOW button
      2. Read THIS if you do not know how to run an in-place upgrade.
    2. Double click on SETUP.EXE
    3. Make sure that KEEP PERSONAL FILES and KEEP APPS are selected
    4. After the install is complete try installing the problematic patch again
  6. Make sure your disk is set to ACTIVE is Disk Manager:
    1. Click the START button and type DISK
    3. Mouse over the SYSTEM RESERVED partition and make sure that the word ACTIVE is in the list
    4. If SYSTEM RESERVED is not active, just right click on it and select MARK PARTITION AS ACTIVE
  7. Use a free tool like EaseUS Partition Manager to resized the SYSTEM to a minimum of 500MB

If all fails, call Microsoft Support .



Questions or Comments?