How to Fix “We Couldn’t Complete The Updates Undoing Changes”

How to Fix “We Couldn’t Complete The Updates Undoing Changes”

/ James Masterson

Windows has a safety protocol to undo changes on your system when Windows updates go wrong or it’s unable to install the updates properly. Sometimes windows safety protocol cannot undo these changes correctly, and the system ends up going in a loop trying to undo the updates.

This could be a problem because you won’t be able to log in to your computer, and you cannot access critical files.

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Most of the time, the fix here is to reinstall Windows, which will be a problem because you won’t be able to back up your files.

This guide will show you how to fix this problem without reinstalling Windows.

We Couldn’t Complete The Updates Undoing Changes Error Message Explanation

We couldn’t undo the updates undoing changes error indicates that a Windows user has attempted to make changes to their Windows operating system using an update or other software installation. Still, another update or install process has inadvertently undone these changes. This error can occur due to various factors, including system conflicts, system file corruption, or software incompatibility.

To fix this issue, users will need to troubleshoot the problem and identify the root cause to resolve it. This may involve uninstalling conflicting software programs, repairing damaged system files, or updating outdated drivers. Additionally, some users may need to take more drastic measures, such as performing a clean reinstall of their operating system to restore it to full functionality.

Common Reasons for “We Couldn’t Complete The Updates Undoing Changes” Error Message

There are several common reasons for encountering the “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes” error message. Understanding these reasons can help you identify the root cause of the issue and implement the appropriate solution. Here are some of the most common reasons for this error:

  1. Corrupted or Missing System Files: Damaged or missing system files can prevent Windows Updates from being installed properly, leading to this error message. Running an SFC (System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scan can help identify and fix corrupted or missing system files.
  2. Software Incompatibility: Sometimes, third-party applications or drivers may conflict with the Windows Update process, causing the error. Uninstalling or updating the conflicting software may resolve the issue.
  3. Insufficient Disk Space: Windows Updates require adequate disk space to download and install the necessary files. If your system partition is running low on space, the update may fail, resulting in the error message. Ensuring there is enough free space on your system partition can help prevent this issue.
  4. Faulty Windows Update: Occasionally, a downloaded update itself may be flawed or corrupted, causing the installation to fail and the error message to appear. In these cases, deleting the problematic update from the Software Distribution folder and re-downloading it can help resolve the issue.
  5. Interrupted Update Process: If the update process is interrupted, such as due to a power outage or forced system restart, the necessary changes may not be completed, leading to the error message. Ensuring your computer remains powered on and connected to the internet during the entire update process can help prevent this issue.
  6. Disabled or Misconfigured Update Services: Windows Update relies on several background services to function properly. If any of these services are disabled or misconfigured, the update process may fail, resulting in an error message. Checking and adjusting the settings for services such as the Windows Update Service and the App Readiness Service can help resolve this issue.

By identifying the root cause of the “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes” error message, you can take the appropriate steps to troubleshoot and fix the issue, ensuring your Windows system remains up-to-date and secure.

How to Fix We Couldn’t Complete The Updates Undoing Changes

Run an SFC and DISM Scan for Windows Update Troubleshooter

Hit that update icon on your device, and you may confront an error, i.e., ‘we couldn’t complete the update; undoing changes’ (this can also happen after a successful installation process with a recently downloaded Windows update). This may occur due to any corrupt and missing files or partitions. Hence, running an SFC (system file checker) and DISM scan can reveal the reason and help to find a proper fix to resolve the error. Here are the easy steps to initiate SFC and DISM scans on your device.

Step 1: Start by launching the settings window from the start menu and selecting the ‘update and security‘ option.

Step 2: In the update and security window, select ‘advanced options‘ followed by the ‘command prompt.’

command prompt in advanced options

Step 3: Type ‘sfc /scannow‘ in the command prompt and click enter to continue. Once the scan completes, it will help to check all protected system files and replace the corrupted one with its cached copy.

sfc scan

In the case of running a DISM scan, i.e., the utility used for repairing Windows images, e.g., windows setup, windows PE, and Windows WinRE. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Launch the command prompt by following the abovementioned steps, and in the command prompt window, type ‘DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.’ Click enter to proceed.

Step 2: Restart your device to check if the error is resolved as soon as the scan completes. 

Restore Your System to an Earlier Date With System Restore Window

If any Windows update services are stuck due to faulty folders, you can restore your device to the last working condition via Windows system restore. It is an in-build utility that makes a copy of your working point without affecting the files and data available on the device. Hence, restoring to the earlier date may resolve the error through a system restore point. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Strat by booting your device via Windows installation media and launch WinRE mode to run troubleshooting.

Step 2: In troubleshooting, select ‘advanced options‘ and select ‘system restore‘ from the list.

Step 3: Skip the command of ‘enter recovery key’ and select the option of ‘skip the drive.’ You can follow the procedure by entering your account credentials.

advanced options system restore

 Step 4: Follow the wizard windows and click next to continue.

click next system restore wizard

Step 5: From the list of available restore points, click on the latest one you want to pursue. After selecting a particular restore point, click enter to continue.

select system restore point

Step 6: Click Finish to complete the wizard. Your device is set to an earlier restore point as the process ends.

Delete the Software Distribution Folder for Storage Space and System Restore

All updates and linked data are stored in the software distribution folder. If your update is stuck and not completing an action, then deleting the relevant update folder can fix the error. Here are the steps to reach the software distribution folder and delete it to fix the error.

Step 1: Start by booting your device into safe mode, and select the troubleshooting option.

Step 2: Select ‘advanced options‘ and ‘startup settings‘ in the troubleshooting window.

Step 3: In the startup settings window, select ‘restart‘ and press the F4 key on the keyboard to launch safe mode.

enable safemode

Step 4: Launch the Run utility by simultaneously clicking the ‘Windows key + R‘ and typing ‘CMD’ in the command box. Launch the elevated command prompt by clicking ‘Ctrl + Shift + Enter.’

run cmd

Step 5: Type the following commands in the prompt and click enter to continue.

net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

net stop cryptSvc

net stop msiserver

Step 6: Launch windows explorer from the main menu and open C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. Select the Folder for the update, select all content, right-click, and select ‘delete‘ from the drop-down list.

Run a Startup Repair

As a Windows diagnostic tool, startup repair can fix the errors linked to the operating system. Errors related to stuck updates and the inability to continue can also be corrected with startup repair. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Boot the device in safe mode and select ‘troubleshooting,’ followed by selecting the ‘advanced options‘ option from the list.

Step 2: In advanced options, click on ‘startup repair.’ The utility will check and fix the errors automatically.

Extend Your Windows System Partition Size

Error, i.e., we couldn’t complete the update undoing changes, is sometimes linked to space issues. Insufficient disk space won’t let the system files of a particular update download on your device, which may result in an error.

One can resolve the error by increasing the partition size, and using a disk management utility to resize partitions is the easiest way. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: From the main menu, select the option of ‘This PC‘ and select ‘manage‘ from the header menu in the window.

Step 2: In the next window, select the option of ‘disk management‘ in Storage from the Computer Management window.

Step 3: Select the partition you want to resize (increase) and click on ‘Extend Partition.’

Step 4: Check for space in the same partition and the form of an NTFS or RAW folder.

extend volume

Step 5: Click ‘Yes‘ to complete the action.

Disable Automatic Windows Updates

Sometimes, automatic Window updates can also cause errors, i.e., ‘we couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes. Disabling the automatic update option can resolve the error, which doesn’t necessarily mean that. Here are the steps on how to disable the automated service.

Step 1: Launch the settings window from the main menu and select the option of ‘Update and Security.’ Launch the ‘Windows Update service‘ in windows update via the properties option.

Step 2: In the general settings, click on ‘startup type,’ set it to ‘disabled,’ and click ‘stop‘ to continue.

Step 3: Click ok or apply to complete the action. Restart your device to check if the error is resolved.

Turn on the App Readiness Service

For running a smooth Windows update action, your device needs an app readiness service. Turning on the service can help in updating actions without errors. Here are the steps to follow to activate the service.

Step 1: Launch the Run utility by simultaneously clicking the ‘Windows key + R‘ and typing ‘services.msc‘ in the command box. Click enter to continue.

run services msc

Step 2: In the next window, click on properties and select the ‘app readiness service option.’ Select the ‘startup type‘ option and set it to ‘automatic.’ Click Start to activate the service.

start app readiness service

Step 3: Restart your device and check if the error is resolved.

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Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

To fix the update not complete and undoing changes error, one can run Windows in-build troubleshooter to resolve the issue. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Launch settings from the main menu and select the ‘Update and Security‘ option from the settings window.

windows update and security

Step 2: In the update and security window, select the ‘troubleshooting‘ option followed by ‘additional troubleshooters.’

Step 3: In the troubleshooter window, click on the ‘Windows update‘ option and ‘Run the troubleshooter.’

run windows update troubleshooter

As the process completes, your device will detect the root cause of the error. Fix the error accordingly.

Reinstall Drivers with Device Manager

Hardware devices attached to your device can also run into errors, making it impossible for recent updates to install successfully. Reinstallation of drivers from the device manager can fix the issue. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Launch the ‘device manager‘ from the start menu.

windows search device manager

Step 2: In the device manager window, all the hardware devices will appear along with the ones causing issues (with an exclamation mark). Click the faulty device and select the option of ‘uninstall device‘ from the drop-down list. (you can also apply this in the operating system selection screen to run the Windows update troubleshooter)

uninstall audio device

Step 3: A new pop-up window will appear. In the window, click ‘Delete the driver software for this device‘ and click ‘Uninstall‘ to continue.

Step 4: Restart your device. Once it restarts, it will automatically install new/correct drivers for the attached hardware device.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will Windows complete updates if I delete the software distribution folder?

When you delete the software distribution folder on Windows, this disrupts the normal functioning of Windows updates. This is because the software distribution folder contains important files and information required to function correctly with Windows updates.

These include system files, drivers, and configuration settings for downloading and installing new updates. Because of this, keeping the software distribution folder intact is critical to ensure that your computer receives essential security patches and other software updates in a timely fashion.

To avoid having problems with Windows updates due to missing or corrupted files, it is recommended that you regularly clean out your software distribution folder as part of your regular system maintenance tasks and also choose to enable the safe mode option.

Will corrupted system files affect my Windows Update process?

Corrupt system files can affect how Windows is updated by preventing the operating system from downloading and installing critical security updates. These updates are essential for protecting your computer against malware and other cyber-attacks, so any corruption in the system files can reduce the overall security of your system.

Corrupted system files may also prevent Windows from running correctly, resulting in slow performance and other issues with your computer. To address these issues, you may need to run a repair or update scan on your system to correct any damaged or corrupted files.

It may be helpful to regularly back up your important data and settings so that you have a copy of this information if your Windows installation becomes corrupted or otherwise unusable.

How do you fix we couldn’t complete the update undoing changes?

You can take a few steps to fix the issue of not being able to complete an update and undoing changes. The first step is to check for updates to see if any need to be installed.

If there are, install them and then try to update your system again. If that doesn’t work, you can try resetting the update software. Finally, you can contact Microsoft support for help if all else fails.

Why couldn’t we complete the update undoing changes?

There are several reasons for the ‘we couldn’t complete the update undoing changes’ error. Firstly, it’s possible that the changes that were made were too significant to be undone with a simple update.

Secondly, it’s also possible that other changes were made simultaneously that prevented the update from undoing the changes.

Finally, it’s also possible that the update itself was flawed and unable to undo the changes made properly.

How can I use the settings app to troubleshoot and install Windows updates?

Open the Settings app, click “Update & Security,” and then select “Windows Update.” Check for updates and install any available updates. If the error persists, try using the built-in troubleshooter by going to “Update & Security,” then “Troubleshoot,” and finally, “Additional troubleshooters.” Run the Windows Update troubleshooter to identify and resolve potential issues.

How does system file corruption and missing system files contribute to we couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes error?

System file corruption and missing system files can prevent updates from installing correctly, causing the error. To fix these issues, run an SFC (System File Checker) scan by opening a Command Prompt as an administrator and typing “sfc /scannow.” This will scan and repair any corrupt or missing system files.

Can booting into safe mode and accessing the services window help me resolve an error caused by a recently downloaded Windows update?

Yes, booting into safe mode can help you troubleshoot the error. To do this, restart your computer and press the appropriate key (usually F8) to access the advanced startup options. Choose “Safe Mode” and log in to Windows. Access the services window by pressing “Win + R,” typing “services.msc,” and pressing Enter. Locate the Windows Update service, right-click it, and choose “Stop.” This will allow you to uninstall the problematic update or make necessary changes to fix the issue.

How can I reset Windows to fix we couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes error if other methods don’t work?

Resetting Windows should be considered a last resort. To reset Windows, open the Settings app, click on “Update & Security,” then “Recovery,” and finally, “Reset this PC.” Choose to keep or remove your personal files and follow the on-screen instructions. This process will reinstall the Windows operating system and may resolve the error. Remember to back up your important files before performing a reset.

James Masterson
Meet the author

James is a software engineer and an information architect with a keen eye for detail. Among his key interests are enhancing the usability of our Windows 10 content, troubleshooting errors, and tech news.