11 Fixes For We Couldn’t Complete The Updates Undoing Changes

Most of the fixes we curate and recommend for resolving issues involve performing updates for the Microsoft Windows Operating System (OS) or applications. Though this is listed as a solution, this can be where it is a possible source of the problem.

Sometimes you are not able to finish the updates that are/were being downloaded. Without this solution, this can produce a string of other issues. This article is your guide to fixing the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” issue easily and as soon as possible.

Different cases of the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” error message

  • “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer.”

This is the general error message that appears when an update crashes on your computer or fails during an installation on the computer.

  • “We couldn’t finish installing updates” error message on Windows 10

If an update installation could not be completed, this is what you’ll see on your screen.

  • “We couldn’t complete the updates undoing changes Server 2012 R2”

This message appears when a certain update couldn’t be updated from the Windows Server 2012. 

  • “Failure configuring windows updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer”

This is not an error message but an issue that causes a continuous and endless boot loop. This usually happens when the OS does not configure updates. 

  • Undoing changes screen hang on Windows 10

One frequent symptom of the updates not being able to complete is the screen being still and not responsive. 

  • “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes.” error message on HP laptops

This error message is exclusive to HP laptops.

  • “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes.” error message in Dell laptops

This error message is exclusive to Dell laptops.

Factors that Cause the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” Error

There are no definite factors that cause this error while downloading updates. But, here’s what could, possibly, be responsible for the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” issue on your computer. 

There are three plausible reasons for this issue –

  1. Interruption of the Update download

If the download is stopped in any way, this can cause this issue, undoubtedly. If your device turns off or the network gets disconnected, the download will be interrupted. Therefore, it is important not to restart the computer or shut it down, when an update is in progress.

  1. Inadequate storage space

Updates are downloads, just like any other files that are downloaded to your computer. This requires space to be stored. If there is not enough space to store this download, the update cannot be downloaded or installed onto your computer. Users need to get rid of unwanted files to create storage space or install a new storage unit.

  1. Corrupt updates

Windows Update corruption is an uncommon occurrence. If the update files are damaged, the Windows OS does not allow it to be installed on to the computer. This is because the suspect file could have been in contact with a malicious file and can spread it throughout the device. 

Steps to fix the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” Error in Windows 10 PCs

These are the different methods to get rid of this issue on your computer.

  1. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
  2. Launch the Startup Repair tool
  3. Expand the Windows System Partition Size
  4. Start the App Readiness service
  5. Go back to the previous Windows 10 OS version
  6. Set a metered network connection
  7. Run the DISM and SFC Scans
  8. Rename the Software Distribution Folder
  9. Delete the Software Distribution folder
  10. Revert to a System Restore Point
  11. Factory Reset your PC

Fixing the “We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes. Don’t Turn off Your Computer” issue on Windows 10

Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

Almost every Windows feature has a troubleshooter to run every time it runs into any kind of issue. Since we are working with the Windows Update section, the Windows troubleshooter is what we will be working with. This is the most basic workaround for this issue is to run the Windows Update troubleshooting.

Here’s what you should do.

  1. Open the Windows Settings app through the Start menu or with the keyboard hotkeys (Windows + I).
  2. Click on the Update & Security settings from the Settings home page.
Windows Settings main page
  1. Select the Troubleshoot tab on the left column, which has a wrench icon to its left.
The Troubleshoot page in the Windows settings
  1.  Locate the Windows Update option. If it is not on this page, check the Additional Troubleshooters link. 
  2. Click on the Windows Update troubleshooter to expand it and choose “Run the Troubleshooter”.
Run the Troubleshooter option for the Windows Update Troubleshooter in the Additional Troubleshooter page
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions that are given by the troubleshooting wizard. Then, click on the Apply this fix option to fix the problems that you face while installing updates.

Launch the Startup Repair tool

The Startup Repair tool is a Windows utility that is used to fix problems that arise during the system startup. This is a simple and efficient procedure. Do as the following steps instruct you to. 

  1. Procure a USB drive with the Windows Installation media and plug it into your computer. 
The Windows Installation media creation tool window
  1. Now, boot up the computer and select Repair your computer or press F8 when the system is booting. This will open the Advanced Startup screen. 
  2. Click on the Troubleshoot option, in the Choose an option window. 
Choose an Option page in the Advanced Startup menu
  1. Then, select Advanced Options on the following page.
Advanced options option in the Troubleshoot page
  1. On the next page, choose Start-up Repair to begin this process. 
Startup Repair option in the Advanced options page

This operation takes a while to complete. Do not interrupt this process by restarting or shutting the PC down. 

Expand the Windows System Partition Size

You might have to increase the size of the hard disk partition which contains the Windows OS to allocate more space for downloading a Windows Update. This is what you have to do to enlarge the partition size.

  1. Bring up the Quick Link menu (Windows + X key) and choose Run from the list of options. 
Run option in the Quick Link menu

This will launch the Run utility (Win + R key) on your computer.

  1. Execute this command by pressing the Ok button or hitting the Enter key.


Disk Management command in the Run dialog box
  1. In the Disk Management window, right-click a partition that does not have the OS and choose Shrink Volume
Shrink Volume option for a Hard Disk Partition
  1. Now, bring down the context menu for the Reserved Partition by right-clicking on it and choose Extend Volume from it. 
  2. After completing these steps, your system has to be rebooted. 

This is one of the many working solutions for the update crash issue. 

Start the App Readiness service

The App Readiness feature is the system service that preps existing or newer applications on your computer, when the user boots up into the computer or when the application is being used for the first time. If this task is not running, users might face this issue for complicated reasons and the solution to this is enabling it. 

Here are the steps to enable the App Readiness system service. 

  1. Run the services.msc command in the Run tool (Windows + R) to open the Services window on your computer.
Services window command in the Run tool
  1. Navigate to the App Readiness service and select it.
App Readiness process in the Services window
  1. In the left pane, under the App Readiness section, click on the Start link to get this system service running.

Go back to the previous Windows 10 OS version

Windows Updates are generally the solutions to major bugs and system crashes. But, if an update is corrupt or incompetent, you will have no choice but to go back to the Windows Update version, which had no or fewer issues for a better experience. 

These are the steps to jump back to a previously installed Windows Update.

  1. Launch the Settings app and go into the Updates & Security settings tile. 
  2. Go into the Windows Update tab, which can be navigated to on the left panel of the Settings window.
The Windows Update page in Windows Settings
  1. Select the View Update history option from this page. 
  2. On the following page, click on the Uninstall updates link. 
The Uninstall Updates link at the top part of the View Update history page

You will be taken to the installed updates page in the Control Panel.

  1. Locate the Microsoft Windows section and select the most recent update. 
  2. Now, press the Uninstall button on the upper part of the screen. 
Installed updates window from the Windows Control Panel

This will remove the chosen update from your computer. Once this is complete, you will have to restart your computer to retain these changes. 

Set a Metered network connection

Setting a limit to the internet you use can help you solve this issue if it keeps recurring. When only a specific amount of data is allotted to the system, this will disable automatic Windows Update installation or download. 

These are the steps to set a limit to your network usage. 

  1. Right-click on the network icon. This is usually located in the System tray (Task Tray) or near it.
  2. Select Open Network & Internet settings from the network menu. 
The Open Network & Internet Settings option in the Network pop-up menu

You will be taken to the Network Status page in the Windows Settings. 

  1. Go into the Network Properties and find the Metered connection section and click on the Set as metered connection toggle switch. 
Set as metered connection toggle switch in the Network Properties page

If you wish to download a Windows Update again, you will have to disable the metered connection to be able to download it. 

Run the DISM and SFC Scans

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is a command-line that checks the system health when prompted with the help of the Windows PowerShell or the Command Prompt tool. This will give you information about the status of the computer when executed.

The System File Checker (SFC) scan is performed to detect corrupt system files and replace them with proper, fresh files to maintain the functionality of the system. 

These two sets of commands can be executed when system file damage is a possible cause of the hanging updates issue. This is what you have to do. 

  1. Type in cmd in the search bar at the bottom of your screen and select Run as Administrator in the search results. This will launch the Command prompt window with admin privileges. 
  2. In the Command Prompt window, you have to execute the following commands in the given order:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth

This command line scans your system for damaged files.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Checkhealth

This line checks if the image files are healthy or corrupt.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Executed DISM command lines

This command line will fix the detected damage.

  1. Once the DISM scans are done, execute this command to initiate a System File Check

sfc /scannow

Executed SFC scan command
  1. Close this window and restart your PC to save the changes that you made.

This procedure will detect file damage and repair it and check the system files’ health and replace them with fully functioning, fresh files so that there is no further issue caused by a corrupted document or file. 

Rename the Software Distribution Folder

The Software Distribution folder is the directory that is used to save temporary system files that are created during the installation of Windows Update. You have to delete this folder or rename it, to something different to remove the “Couldn’t complete updates. Undoing changes” error on your computer. 

These are the steps to rename the Software Distribution folder.

  1. Bring up the Command Prompt window, with the help of the start menu or Run tool (Windows + R). If you use the Run tool, use the cmd command. To launch this as the administrator, press Ctrl + Shift + Enter together. 
  2. Run the following commands, in the given order.
  • net stop wuauserv
  • net stop bits
  • net stop cryptsvc
  • net stop msiserver
  • rename C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.bak
  • net start wuauserv
  • net start bits
  1. Once all the commands are successfully executed, launch the Windows Update installation and see if it progresses without any trouble.

Delete the Software Distribution folder

Follow these instructions to delete the Software Distribution folder.

  1. Open the Run tool on your computer, with the keyboard hotkeys (Windows key and R) together on your keyboard. 
  2. In the Open field, type in SoftwareDistribution and hit Enter or click on the Ok button.
  3. You will be taken to this File Explorer directory:

C:/ Windows/ SoftwareDistribution

SoftwareDistribution folder directory
  1. Select all (Ctrl + A) the files and folders in this directory and press the Delete button on your keyboard.
  2. Exit the File Explorer window and reboot your computer.

Revert to a System Restore Point

A System Restore point is a saved Windows configuration, that usually, contains the settings of a perfectly functioning Operating System. If the computer experiences any trouble, users can use this feature to go back to the saved, safe settings configuration. 

To make a System Restore point or access an existing one, use this procedure. 

  1. Plugin a USB drive that has the Windows installation media to a USB port and restarts your computer.
  2. Then, launch the Troubleshoot settings and open the Advanced Options window.
  3. On the Advanced Options page, choose the System Restore option. As an alternative, look for the System Restore interface in the search bar and open the first result.
  4. In the System Properties box, click on the System Restore button which can be found under the System Protection tab.
System Properties menu box
  1. Make a restore point and select the Next button at the bottom of the System Restore window.
System Restore window
  1. If you have created restore points previously, you can see them.
  2. Click on Finish and then click on Yes to quit this window.

Factory Reset your PC

Do not reset your computer unless there are no other options left to fix this error. If you wish to proceed with the factory reset, make sure to create a backup of all the necessary files on your computer. We will be cleaning the computer entirely to get rid of the feature that stops you from installing updates. 

To reset your computer, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Windows settings and go into the Updates & Services section. 
  2. Click on the Recovery tab on the left panel. 
  3. In the Reset this PC section, click on Get Started to being the resetting process. 
Recovery page in the Windows settings
  1. From the Reset window, choose Remove everything.
Remove Everything option in the Reset this PC window

You will lose everything on your drive and get a fresh system. This process will take quite a long time and you will have to initialize your computer again. 

These are the steps to get your Windows Update to download again without any further issues and avoid Windows Update-related problems on your computer. 

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.