Solve the Failure Configuring Windows Updates Reverting Changes Error on Your Computer

Solve the Failure Configuring Windows Updates Reverting Changes Error on Your Computer

/ Shayne Sherman

In the versions of Windows Vista, 7, and 8, sometimes the updates lag, and you see a “Failure configuring Windows updates Reverting changes” error. This error frequently appears when people attempt to upgrade to newer versions of Windows (especially on Windows 8, which had a short lifespan and is no longer supported by Microsoft).

If you are experiencing this problem, continue reading to find out how to resolve it. If you have Windows 10 and are experiencing updates that are not installing correctly, you can look here to find the answer.

What Causes Windows Update to Fail When Configuring Updates?

During an update, many things can cause Windows to freeze. On earlier Windows systems when this happened, the operating system tries to roll back to the way Windows was before the update. That is what happens when you see this screen.

Updates can fail for a variety of reasons. Some of these include the following:

  • The software you have already installed on your computer is not compatible with the update.
  • The update itself causes an issue that did not occur during testing.
  • Removable media is interfering with the way your computer restarts.
  • Too many updates are trying to load at once.

In some cases where automatic updates are on, the “Failure configuring Windows updates Reverting changes” error can create a reboot loop that is very discouraging. Help is here! Keep reading to resolve this issue on your Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 computer.

Ending the Failure Configuring Windows Updates Reverting Changes error

Fix 1: Wait It Out

Waiting it out is the best thing to try first. If there were numerous updates or if some of the updates were large, it can take a long time to finish reverting the changes and download them again. It is best to allow your computer to sit for at least 10 hours without pressing buttons or trying to restart it. Even in the best of conditions, this error will take a minimum of thirty minutes to resolve itself.

Fix 2: Use the Advanced Repair Tool (Restoro)

Sometimes issues with Windows 10 are caused by corrupt Windows files. We recommend using Restoro to find and automatically resolve the issues that are causing Windows to not complete its updates.


Download and Install Restoro for free.


Accept the license terms by checking the “I Accept the EULA and Privacy Policy” to continue.


You can view the details of the scan by expanding the “Details” tab.


To set an action, expand the “Recommendation” tab to either choose “clean” or “ignore.”


Click on “Clean Now” at the bottom of the page to begin the cleaning process.

Fix 3: Remove all removable memory cards, disks, flash drives, etc.

Although removable media does not create a problem with the update, it does cause a problem during the system restart where the updates are installed.

Step #1

Check the disk drives, USB ports, and memory card slots for any removable media such as SD cards, flash drives, CDs, and DVDs. If you don’t find any, you can continue to the next method. If you do find something, proceed to Step #2.

Step #2

Shut down the computer if it is not already shut down. You may have to perform a hard shut down by holding down the power button for thirty seconds.

Step #3

Remove the media from the computer. For memory cards and USB drives, you can pull them out as soon as the computer is completely off. If you need to remove a disk with the computer off, you insert the unfolded end of a paper clip into the manual disk eject hole. This is a tiny hole located somewhere on the front of the disk player. Examples can be seen in the following pictures.

manual disk eject hole
manual disk eject hole pic 2
manual disk eject hole pic 3

Step #4

Once the media is removed, start your computer and see if the updates install correctly.

Fix 4: Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter

The Windows Update Troubleshooter by Microsoft is an app that finds the exact problem with an update and fixes it. To use the Troubleshooter, you must first download it for Windows Vista or Windows 7 or 8. Make sure you only download it from the official Microsoft website.

Step #1

Visit Microsoft’s website here and click the blue highlighted “Fix it” under the appropriate version of Windows you are running.

Step #2

Choose “Run” when the popup asks if you want to save or run the file. This should automatically open the Troubleshooter.

Step #3

Follow the onscreen prompts to run the Troubleshooter. It will automatically detect any update problems and fix them.

troubleshoot windows update

If the Troubleshooter cannot detect any problems or if after fixing the issues detected you still have trouble with the update and see the “Failure configuring Windows updates reverting changes” error, continue to another method to resolve the issue.

Fix 5: Do a Clean Reboot

Sometimes third-party apps might be interfering with the download. If this is the case, restarting the computer without these apps running should resolve the matter.

Step #1

Log into an administrator account. If at any time during the following steps you are asked for your password, type in the password for this administrator account. Press the [R] key and the [Windows] key at the same time. This opens the Run box. Type “msconfig” into it without quotation marks. Click the “OK” button.

type msconfig in run box

Step #2

When the System Configuration window opens, click on the services tab and make sure that “Hide all Microsoft services” has a check mark next to it. Click the button to “Disable all.”

disabled all microsoft services

Step #3

If you have Windows 7 or Vista, skip this step and go to Step #4. In Windows 8, click the “Startup” tab in the System Configuration window. Then click on “Open Task Manager.”

When the Task Manager opens, click the “Startup” tab in that, and select each item you find there and click the button to “Disable” it if it isn’t already disabled. When you are finished, close the Task Manager.

startup section of task manager

Step #4

If you have Windows 8, skip this step and go to Step #5. In Windows 7 or Vista, click the “General” tab in the System Configuration window. Choose “Selective startup.” Now make sure there isn’t a checkmark in the box next to “Load startup items.”

load startup items uncheck

Step #5

On the System Configuration window that is still open, click the “Apply” button and then “OK.”

click apply and ok button

Step #6

Click on the Power icon and choose “Restart” to restart the computer.

restart the computer

Step #7

Once the computer restarts, attempt to rerun the updates. In Windows 8, you do this by opening the Start Menu, selecting “Settings” and then Change PC Settings. Then choose Update and Recovery, and Windows Update.

Finally, click the “Install Updates” button. In Windows 7 and Vista, open the Start Menu, type “Update” in the search box, and choose “Windows Update.” Again, click the “Install Updates” button.

With a clean reboot, you should be able to install the updates normally, as long as a third-party app was interfering with them and causing the “Failure configuring Windows updates Reverting changes” error.

Fix 6: Install the Updates in Safe Mode

In some cases, Microsoft’s apps may be interfering with the updates. Installing updates in Safe Mode ensures that only the necessary programs are running in the background.

Step #1

If the loop is continuous and you cannot access your computer, press F8 during the reboot and select “Safe Mode with Networking” when prompted. If you can get to your computer desktop, press the [R] key and the [Windows] key together to open the Run box. Type “msconfig” into it without quotation marks and click “OK.”

type msconfig in run box

Step #2

Go to the “Boot” tab in the System Configuration Window that opens. Make sure the box next to “Safe Boot” is marked and choose “Minimal” underneath it. Now click “Apply” and then “OK.”

choose minimal on safe boot

Step #3

Windows should ask if you want to restart your computer now. Click “Restart.”

windows wants to restart

Step #4

Once you have restarted in Safe Mode, open the Start Menu and choose “Control Panel.”

start menu and choose control panel

Step #5

When the Control Panel opens, select “System and Security” (or “Security” in some versions). Then click Windows Update to open that window. Find the button that says “Install updates” and click it.

click install updates button

Step #6

When the updates finish installing, you should restart your computer. Because the settings have been changed, it should automatically restart in Safe Mode. Once it does, press the [R] key and the [Windows] key together again to open the Run box. Then, you can type “msconfig” into it without quotation marks into the box and click “OK” as you did before.

type msconfig in run box

Step #7

Return to the “Boot” tab in the System Configuration Window. This time, uncheck the box next to “Safe Boot.” Click “Apply” and then “OK.” Again, restart your computer.

uncheck safe boot on boot tab

With the updates applied in Safe Mode, you should have no problems restarting your computer. If the “Failure configuring Windows updates Reverting changes” error continues to appear, go to the next method.

Fix 7: Break the Updates Into Smaller Groups

Sometimes you get stuck in the loop because there are so many updates in the queue it takes too long to download them all at once. To fix this problem, you need to install the updates manually in smaller groups.

Step #1

If the loop is continuous and you cannot access your computer, press F8 during the reboot and enter Safe Mode when prompted. Follow the instructions in method 5 to ensure your computer continues rebooting into Safe Mode throughout this process.

Step #2

Once you are in Safe Mode, open the Start Menu and click on the “Control Panel” option.

start menu and choose control panel

Step #3

Choose “System and Security” in the Window that opens. (This is just called “Security” in Vista.) Now click on “Windows Update.”

change settings in control panel

Step #4

In the drop-down menu under “Important Updates,” select “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them.” Make sure the box under “Recommended Updates” has a check mark in it. None of the other boxes should be marked. Now click “OK.”

check recommended updates

Step #5

Return to the main Windows Update page. This time click on the blue words telling you the number of significant updates available.

click blue words of the important updates

Step #6

You should see a list of updates. Make sure only a few are selected and click “Install.” It is best to choose the lowest numbered updates first since Microsoft expects them to be installed in order.

choose available updates to install

Step #7

Continue repeating steps #4 and #5 until all the critical updates have been installed. You can then repeat the process for optional updates if you want. When you have finished, reset the Windows Update settings to update Automatically.

install updates automatically

Step #8

Restart your computer in Normal Mode.

This process is long, but it should resolve the “Failure configuring Windows updates reverting changes” error you have.

Fix 8: Run the System File Checker

Some files may become corrupt or damaged. The file checker will fix them for you so updates can continue normally.

Step #1

In the Start Menu search bar, type “Command Prompt” without the quotations. Right-click the “Command Prompt” option that appears and choose “Run as administrator.” Depending on the version of Windows you are using, you may have to enter your password or click “Allow” to continue to the Command Prompt window.

cmd run as administrator

Step #2

If you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista, skip this step and go to step 3. If you have Windows 8, you first need to run the DISM. To do this, you need removable media such as the Windows DVD that contains source material to repair the Updater. You can create this media from another Windows 8 computer that is not having the Failure configuring Windows updates error. Insert the media into the DVD player or the USB port (depending on what it is). Once the media is inserted, type “DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:D:RepairSourceWindows /LimitAccess” into the command prompt without the quotation marks where D:RepairSourceWindows is the location of the uncorrupted Windows Updater files. Once you press enter, the repair should take place automatically, but it may take a little time.

run dism in cmd

Step #3

Now, you need to check for other corrupt files you may have. To do so, type “sfc /scannow” into the Command Prompt or cut and paste it without the quotation marks. You will need to wait for the process to be 100% complete before closing the window and exiting the Command Prompt. Many messages could appear once the scan is complete. Windows may not find corrupt files or may automatically fix them. If the message says Windows could not perform the requested operation, you need to retry the scan in Safe Mode. In some cases, Windows may fix some of the files but be unable to correct others. If this happens, you may be able to access the log and replace the files that are corrupt with good copies.

type sfc scannow in cmd

Hopefully, repairing Windows Updater will resolve your Failure configuring Windows error. If not you can still try the next method.

Fix 9: Do a System Restore

In some cases, you may need to do a system restore using the Windows installation disk. Make sure you back up any files you have before you perform this method.

Step #1

Log in as an administrator. If at any point during this process you are asked for your password, use the password for your administrator account. Place the Windows installation disk in the disk drive. Restart your computer and press any key when it asks if you want to start the computer using the disk.

Step #2

If you have Windows 8, skip this step and go to Step #3. On Vista or 7, you will need to configure the installation language, currency and time format, and the methods of input (such as the keyboard). When you have finished, click “Next.”

click next button

Step #3

Select the option to repair your computer.

select startup repair

Step #4

Skip to Step #5 if you have Windows Vista or 7. In Windows 8, you need to choose Troubleshoot and “Advanced Options.”

system restore in advanced options

Step #5

Click “System Restore,” choose the restore point and click “Next” on Windows 8. For Windows 7 and Vista, click “Next,” “System Restore,” “Next,” choose your restore point and click “Next” again.

choose restore point

Step #6

If you are asked which disk you want to restore, choose the hard disk. You may also need to confirm the restore point. When the restore is finished, you need to “Restart” your computer to apply the changes.

restart when restore is finished

Fix 10: Do a System Installation

When all else fails, you may have to reinstall windows. Again, make sure you have completely backed up all your files before you begin.

Step #1

Insert the installation disk in the disk drive. When the Setup window appears, choose “Install now.” Windows should automatically detect the disk. If it doesn’t, type “D:setup.exe” into the Start Menu Search bar, where D: is the drive where the disk is located.

You should see “Setup.exe” in the list of programs that appear. Clicking on that will give you the option to “Install Now.” Clicking “Install Now” will rewrite your drive back to factory standards.

windows 7 install now

Step #2

At this point, you will need to perform an extended amount of updates. It is best to install these updates in smaller groups as was done in Method 6 above. You may also need to do an Upgrade if you made any upgrades to newer versions of Windows. You will probably need to enter your product key at some point and agree to Microsoft’s licensing terms.

check accept license terms

Step #3

When you have finished upgrading and updating, you will need to restart the computer.

restart when restore is finished


These methods should have resolved your “Failure configuring Windows updates Reverting changes” error. If the error occurs again, you might want to try one of the additional methods to address it since each way fixes a different problem that could be causing the issue.