How to fix problems caused by Windows updates?

By Tobenna Nnabeze | October 15, 2019 |

greater than 8 minutes

Windows updates are meant to keep your system performing efficiently. Sometimes, however, new updates, including security updates that are released on Patch Tuesday, can cause unexpected problems.

You may experience serious issues like sudden freezes, error messages that prevent your computer from booting, or the update process not being able to complete in the first place. It could also be something less serious like a graphics problem or not having audio.

If your PC had been working fine and you only started noticing problems after performing a manual or automatic Windows update or after an update on Patch Tuesday, please keep reading to find out how you can resolve them.

What are the possible causes of Windows update problems?

Windows update problems can occur due to a number of possible reasons. Below are a few of them:

  • The service and temporary files and folders associated with the update may be corrupted.
  • The Windows update services are not configured to start automatically on startup.
  • Wrong or outdated device drivers may conflict with the update.
  • There are programs on your computer that are interfering with the update.

Since the fixes presented in this guide are meant to solve problems connected with fully installed Windows patches, before we commence with the section below on how to fix Windows update errors, you have to be sure that the issue you are facing was actually caused by a Windows update. So here are some possibilities you need to consider:

  • The updates might not be fully installed: While installing an update, it can get frozen. If that’s the case, you might see a message that says, “Configuring Windows Updates” or “Preparing to configure Windows”, or something similar to these. It will remain on the screen for a very long time. In this scenario, what you have to do is perform a recovery from the frozen Windows update installation.
  • It’s possible that another update that’s not a Windows update is causing the issue: some software on your computer (could be Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Adobe, Oracle, etc.) might have installed an update that’s causing the issue you are facing.
  • The issue might be caused by something unrelated to your Windows OS: Some other issues like your PC not being able to turn on, powering off immediately after you turn it on, turning on but displaying nothing on the screen, and so on could simply coincide with a recent Windows update, making it seem like the fault is from the latter.
  • Did you perform some activity within the same period you installed the update? Did you update a driver, install some new software or piece of hardware, or run an antivirus program? These activities, and not the Windows update, could be the cause of the issue you are facing.

However, if you are entirely sure that the issue is from the update you recently installed, then you can use the fixes presented below to resolve it.

How to fix Windows update errors?

You may or may not be able to start Windows successfully after performing the update. So we’ll split this guide into two sections:

Windows starts successfully

If Windows starts successfully, it means you can access your Desktop and Start screen and use your computer to access the internet and do certain things although some programs may not work properly.

If that’s the case, then you can apply the fixes below:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Run the System File Checker (SFC) command
  3. Check for software conflicts
  4. Check your device drivers
  5. Perform a system restore
  6. Reset your PC

Fix 1: Restart your computer

Some Windows update issues can be resolved by simply rebooting your computer.

Fix 2: Run the System File Checker (SFC) command

You may be experiencing problems after an update due to corrupt or missing Windows system files. You can use the SFC utility to scan for and restore these files and see if that fixes the problem.

Follow the easy steps below:

  1. To open an elevated command prompt, go to the Start menu and type Command prompt in the search bar. When it appears in the search results, right-click on it and select Run as administrator.
  2. Once the elevated command prompt window opens, type in or copy and paste the following command and then press enter:

sfc /scannow

  1. Wait for the command to execute. It will verify the integrity of your operating system files. This might take a while to complete. So make sure your PC is plugged in and charging.
  2. Once the verification is 100% complete, close the window and restart your computer.

Fix 3: Check for software conflicts

Some programs on your computer might be interfering with the new update. Performing a clean boot will start your Windows system with only the basic drivers and programs and therefore help you determine if the issue you are facing is caused by conflicting software.

Here’s how to do so:

  1. Invoke the Run dialog by pressing the Windows logo key + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Type msconfig in the text box and press enter or click the OK button.
  3. Go to the Services tab.
  4. At the bottom of the window, mark the checkbox for “Hide all Microsoft services”.
  5. Click the Disable all button and then click the OK button.
  6. Go to the Startup tab.
  7. Click the Open Task Manager link.
  8. From the items on the list, right-click each one that is enabled and select Disable from the menu.
  9. Close Task Manager.
  10. Click Ok and then click the Restart button on the prompt that appears.
  11. Now you have to check whether the issue you had still exists. If it does, move on to the next fix in this guide (You may want to repeat steps 1 through 10 to re-enable the programs and services). However, if the issue has been resolved, then you have to find out which service or application was causing it. Move on to step 12.
  12. Press the Windows logo key + R on your keyboard and type msconfig in the text box.
  13. Go to the Services tab and mark the “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox at the bottom of the window.
  14. Enable only one of the disabled services in the list by marking its corresponding checkbox.
  15. If you cannot resolve the
    problem yourself, you can
    ask our certified PC technicians for immediate assistance in the chat right on this page.
    Click Ok and restart your computer.
  16. Check if the Windows update issue will occur again. If not, you have to repeat steps 12 through 15 until you find the service that causes it. If none of them is the cause, move on to step 17.
  17. Press the Windows logo key + R and enter msconfig.
  18. Go to the Startup tab and click the Open Task Manager link.
  19. Right-click on one disabled item on the list and select Enable.
  20. Close Task Manager, click the OK button > Restart.
  21. See if the update problem will occur. If it doesn’t, repeat steps 17 through 20 till you find the culprit.
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Fix 4: Check your device drivers

A wrong or outdated device driver, like the audio driver or graphics driver, might be conflicting with the update and causing the issue you are experiencing. You can fix it by getting the latest manufacturer-recommended version of all your drivers. This can be done automatically with Auslogics Driver Updater.

The tool is very easy to use. Once you install it, run a full system check to identify any missing, corrupt, or outdated drivers. It recognizes the specification of your computer and downloads and installs the correct drivers so you won’t have to worry about installing those that will cause harm to your computer.

You can then be rest assured that all essential drivers required for your PC to perform efficiently are present and up to date.

Running the tool may be all you need to resolve the update problem you are facing.

Fix 5: Perform a system restore

You can reverse all changes made by the Windows update by performing a system restore.

How to perform a restore on Windows 10/8/8.1:

  1. Press the Windows logo key + X to open the WinX menu.
  2. Select Control panel from the list.
  3. Enter System and Security in the search bar and select it from the search results.
  4. Click System.
  5. Click the System Protection link displayed on the left-hand side of the window to open the System Properties window.
  6. Now go to the System Protection tab and click the System Restore button.
  7. From the “Restore system files and settings” window that opens, select the “Recommended Restore” option, or you can choose a restore point yourself by selecting the Choose a different restore point
  8. Click the Next button.
  9. Confirm the restore point you want to use when the “Confirm your restore point” window appears and then click the Finish button.
  10. You’ll get a prompt that says, “Once started, System Restore cannot be interrupted. Do you want to continue?” Click Yes.
  11. Wait for the process to complete and for your computer to restart.
  12. On your desktop, you’ll see a message that says, “System Restore completed successfully. The system has been restored to [date time]. Your documents have not been affected.”

See if the problem has been resolved. If it remains, you can repeat the above steps and select an older restore point (if any).

Fix 6: Reset your PC

If none of the fixes presented above worked, you may need to consider resetting your PC.

Here’s how to do so on Windows 10:

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Turn it back on and then shut it down when the operating system begins to load and is showing a rotating circle of dots on a black screen.
  3. Repeat step 2 until the “Preparing Automatic Repair” message appears.
  4. Click the Advanced options button and select Troubleshoot.
  5. Click Reset this PC.
  6. You can choose the “Keep my files” option or the “Remove everything” option. Afterwards, click the Reset button to reset your PC.
  7. Wait for the process to complete.

You can also perform a clean install of your Windows OS if the reset doesn’t work.

What if Windows does not start successfully?

If you are unable to start Windows successfully after you performed the update, in which case you may be faced with a Blue Screen of Death, a black blank screen, a menu of diagnostic options, or a frozen login screen, this means you don’t have access to your desktop or Start screen.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Start Windows using Last Known Good Configuration
  3. Start Windows in safe mode
  4. Fix the Blue Screen of Death

Fix 1: Restart your computer

Performing a simple power off and power on could help resolve the issue you are facing. Press and hold the power button till the computer turns off. Wait for a few seconds and press the power button to boot the PC.

Fix 2: Start Windows using Last Known Good Configuration

This fix attempts to start your computer with the driver and registry settings that worked the last time your computer started successfully.

Note that Last Known Good Configuration is not available in Windows 8 and Windows 10. You can follow the steps below if you are using Windows 7:

  1. Power off the computer.
  2. Press the power button. Just as or before the Windows 7 splash screen starts to load, keep pressing the F8 key to load the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  3. Use the arrow key to select Last Known Good Configuration (advanced) and press enter on your keyboard.
  4. Wait for the OS to start.

Fix 3: Start Windows in safe mode

Once you start up in safe mode, apply the fixes presented in this guide for ‘if your computer is able to start successfully’.

The method for starting Windows in safe mode depends on your version of Windows. But you can follow the general steps below:

  1. Power off your PC.
  2. Turn it on and press the F8 key repeatedly before the Windows logo appears.
  3. Use the arrow key to select Safe Mode from the Advanced Boot options menu and press enter.

Fix 4: Fix the Blue Screen of Death

There are several things you can do to fix a BSOD error, which won’t be covered in the scope of this guide. You can find articles on our website that handle them exhaustively.

We hope this guide has proven useful to you.

Please feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.

We’ll like to hear from you.

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.
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