If you are reading this post, chances are you need information on how to stop the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer” error message. The error, which is displayed on a blue screen, usually occurs when Windows Update fails. This can happen either due to files not being downloaded properly or other reasons like corrupted system files.
As such, the user encounters the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” error. Sometimes, users are thrown into a loop of the problem every time they try to boot up the system. This can be quite frustrating since the computer keeps throwing the same error message over and over again on every boot up. Typically, the issue occurs when a Windows Update fails, and regardless of how many times you try to restart your PC, you’ll still run into the error same message.
Causes of the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” Error
If you are receiving this error message, you must be eager to know what could have triggered it. Some of the well-known factors include:
- Incomplete download – If the Windows update files did not download properly for whatever reason, then it can lead to the issue.
- Lack of sufficient disk space – Usually, you need some free space to allow the installation of the Windows updates. When you have insufficient disk space, the update will not be installed, hence triggering the error message.
- Corruption of system files – Like noted earlier, if the system files are corrupted, the installation process won’t proceed as expected. As such, you are most likely going to get the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” error message.
- The Windows update was interrupted during the installation of files. Some users raised the question, “What happens if I force shutdown my computer while updating?” Well, first, the update will not continue, and you risk corrupting some system files. Likewise, since some of the files were still downloading, switching the PC off unexpectedly caused the incomplete download.
How to Resolve the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” Error
If you are in an endless reboot loop and you can’t get to the sign in screen, the best approach is to boot into Safe Mode. To do so, follow the guide below:
- If you are running a computer with two or more operating systems, you will see the operating system selection screen when rebooting your machine. Simply click “Change defaults or choose other options.”
- If you are running Windows 10 as your only OS, press the F8, F9, or F11 – the options vary, depending on the model and make of your computer. If you don’t know which option works for your PC, press the power button to turn on your device. As soon as the Windows logo appears on the screen, press and hold the power button (for at least four seconds) until it switches off again. Repeat that process three more times, and on the fourth attempt, you should see a prompt that Windows is “Preparing Automatic Repair”.
- Next, in the “Choose an option” screen, select Troubleshoot, and then click on Advanced options > Startup Settings>Restart.
- After your device reboots, select option 4 to enable Safe Mode (choose option 5 if you want networking as well).
- Now, once your PC boots in Safe Mode, follow the steps below. Since the reasons behind the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” error message affect computers differently, some solutions might not work on your device.
Therefore, we urge you to try them all, one by one, in any order, until you get the issue resolved.
Fix 1: Run the Windows Troubleshooter
Before you try anything else, we suggest first running the Windows troubleshooter. This is a built-in feature that scans and detects possible issues that could be preventing you from updating your OS. It also attempts to automatically fix the problems it finds.
The tool is quite effective, and it might be all you need to fix the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” Windows Update error.
To use this tool, follow the below steps:
- Press the Windows Key or click Start.
- Type in Troubleshooter and click on Troubleshoot Settings.
- This operation takes you directly to the Troubleshoot window in the Settings app. Now, in the right pane, look for Windows Update and click on it to highlight additional options.
- Click on Run the Troubleshooter and wait for Windows to do its thing.
- Check the results of the scan and apply the solutions if any.
Fix 2: Delete the Contents of the SoftwareDistribution Folder
If the troubleshooter couldn’t identify the problem, deleting the files in the SoftwareDistribution folder might help. This folder stores all Windows Update files and if it is damaged or corrupted, you might run into the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” error message. To delete the contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder, follow these steps:
- Before you proceed, you have to stop the Windows update services first. To do so, run the Command Prompt with elevated privileges and execute the commands below, one by one, in the presented order:
- net stop wuauserv
- net stop bits
- net stop cryptSvc
- net stop msiserver
- Once that’s done, go to File Explorer (Win + E), and access the SoftwareDistribution folder, which should be located in drive C: – (C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution).
- Delete everything in this folder.
- With the contents deleted, it’s time to restart the Windows update services that you have previously stopped. To do so, enter the following commands in an elevated Command Prompt, and press Enter after each command.
- net start wuauserv
- net start bits
- net start cryptSvc
- net start msiserver
- Restart your computer and try running Windows Update again.
Fix 3: Disable Automatic Windows Update
Disabling automatic Windows Update seemed to work for some users and might work for you as well. To do this, you have to stop the Windows Update service via the Services window. Here’s how:
- Press the Win + R keyboard shortcuts, type in “msc” (no quotes) in the Run box, and press Enter.
- Navigate to the Windows Update service and double-click it to open its Properties.
- Click the Startup Type drop-down list and select Disabled.
- Check if the service is running next to the Service Status option. If it is, click Stop to stop it.
- Hit the Apply button and then click OK.
- Restart your PC and try updating the system.
Alternatively, you can set your Internet to Metered Connection to temporarily block Windows 10 from updating automatically. This feature is useful when you are using a limited data plan since it prevents Windows from installing automatic updates.
To turn on the feature, follow the steps below:
- Go to the Settings app (Win + I), and open Network & Internet > Status.
- Click on the “Change connection properties” link, navigate to Metered Connection and toggle the button to turn it on.
You can disable this feature once Microsoft fixes the issue.
Fix 4: Activate the App Readiness Service
The App Readiness service is required by Windows when installing updates. Check if it is turned off, and if it is, turn it on. Here’s the procedure:
- Open the Services window as outlined in Fix 3 above.
- Navigate to the App Readiness service and double-click it to open its Properties window.
- Click the Startup Type and select Automatic from the drop-down list.
- Click Start under Service Status.
- Click Apply > OK, and restart your system.
Still encountering the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” error? Move to the next solution below.
Fix 5: Delete Recently Installed Updates
We mentioned that Windows files might not have downloaded properly or the Windows update was interrupted during installation. If that’s the case, you can try to delete the problematic Windows update files using the steps below:
- Press the Win + I keyboard shortcut, and select Update & Security > Windows Update.
- Click the “View update history” link.
- Choose the Uninstall Updates option, look for the problematic updates and uninstall them.
Fix 6: Run DISM and SFC Tools
If the error is caused by the corruption of system files, try running the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) tools. The DISM feature is quite effective in resolving various issues affecting your system files. The SFC tool, on the other hand, checks for corrupt or damaged system files and replaces them with good copies.
First, let’s start by running the SFC tool:
- Open the Command Prompt with administrator rights. To do so, press the Windows logo on your keyboard, type in “cmd” (no quotes). Select Run as Administrator in the right pane.
- Type in the command sfc /scannow, and hit “Enter”. This process usually takes anywhere between 5-15 minutes.
- Once it has completed successfully, execute the following command:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.
- Restart your system and check if the error has been resolved.
- If the DISM tool is unable to obtain files online, insert the installation media and type in the command:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:RepairSourceWindows /LimitAccess
Note: Replace C:RepairSourceWindows with the path to your installation media (USB or DVD).
- Now, re-run the SFC tool to make sure that all corrupted system files were fixed.
Fix 7: Restore Your System
In most cases, when nothing seems to work, restoring your system to a previous good point when everything was functioning correctly does the trick. In this case, it would help resolve the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” error. Since you are unable to access your PC, you will have to run system restore from the Advanced Options screen.
- Follow the steps at the beginning of this post to get to Safe Mode. Once you get to the Troubleshoot screen, select Advanced Options > System Restore.
- On the System Restore window, you may be asked to input your account’s password to proceed.
- Click Next.
- Choose the appropriate restore point. If the restore point that you are looking for is not displayed, check the “Show more restore points” checkbox.
- Once you find the restore point, click Next.
- Confirm your choice and click Finish to begin the process.
Fix 8: Reset Your PC
The last resort, if everything else fails, is to reset your PC to factory defaults. To do so, follow the guide below:
- Follow the steps to boot the computer to Safe Mode, and when you get to the Choose an Option screen, select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
- Choose whether or not to keep your files and follow the prompts to finish the process.
- Once your PC is reset, updates should install without running into the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes” error message.
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