Fix ‘We Couldn’t Complete the Updates – Undoing Changes’ Error

Updates are an inevitable part of running Windows 10 on a computer, but sometimes you might get “We couldn’t complete the updates – Undoing changes” error which can be annoying.

Although these usually run smoothly, even if they run at an inconvenient time, sometimes they cause a problem.

You will be trying to restart the PC only to find it’s stuck in a loop after the update.

There are various reasons why error “We couldn’t complete the updates – Undoing changes” can happen, usually one of the following:

  1. Corrupted update files
  2. Not enough disk space
  3. Update was interrupted during download

Microsoft is aware of this error and you will find some inbuilt tools on your PC to try and fix it.

First Try To Run PC in Safe Mode

run safe mode

First you will need to boot the PC up in safe mode. This is the only way to start a computer stuck on the BSOD (blue screen of death).

To do this you can boot Windows from a CD-Rom or USB drive, then select Repair Your Computer when it boots. Another method is to press and hold either F8 and Shift or F8 by itself while booting up. The third method is to power the computer off and on three times with the power button.

Whichever of those methods you use, you will eventually reach the Advanced Startup Screen. This is what you do next:

  • Click “Troubleshoot” in the “Choose an Option” list.
  • Click on “Advanced Options” and choose “Startup Settings“.
  • Click “Restart” to restart the computer.
  • After that press F4 so it boot back up in safe mode.
  • Make sure you have sufficient disk space for the update and also that you aren’t connected via a proxy or VPN (you need a direct connection to install a Windows Update).

Other Ways To Fix ‘We Couldn’t Complete The Updates – Undoing Changes’ Error

Now you can try the following built-in Windows fixes and see whether one of these fixes your ‘We Couldn’t Complete the Updates – Undoing Changes’ error.

Solution #1: Windows Update Troubleshooter

  • Press “Start” then “Settings” and click on “Updates & Security“.
  • Navigate to the “Troubleshooter” section.
  • Click on “Windows Update“, than “Run the Troubleshooter” and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • See whether that worked. If not, don’t worry because there are more things you can try.

Solution #2: Rename the Software Distribution Folder

rename software distribution folder

This folder is where Windows keeps all its updates. If something didn’t download properly it might be making mischief in that folder.

It’s a good idea to rename the folder. This will force Windows to create a new one (without the problem file in there). This is how to do it:

  • Type “cmd” in the search bar and click on “Run” to open the “Command Prompt“.
  • Type in this: “net stop wuauserve” and hit Enter (this will stop the Windows Update service).
  • Than type this: “net stop bits” and press Enter [this will stop the BITS (or Background Intelligent Transfer Service) which maintains the server-to-client connection].
  • After that type: “net stop cryptsvc“, press Enter (this stops the Cryptography service).
  • Than type in: “net stop msiserver” to stop the Windows Installer service.
  • Continue by typing:
rename C:\windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bak
  • and: “net start wuauserv” (this restarts Windows Updates).
  • Lastly type: “net start bits” to restart the BITS service.

Now see whether the update will run correctly. If not, proceed to the next fix.

Solution #3: Delete the Contents of the Software Distribution Folder

delete contents software distribution folder
  • Go to “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
  • Delete the folder along with all the files in it.
  • Restart your PC and check if it works now.

Solution #4: Enable the App Readiness Service

enable the app readiness service

This service prepares apps for a first-time user logging in or for when the app is first added. Some users have found that switching this service on can fix the problematic update issue.

  • Type this in the search bar: “services.msc” and click on “Run“.
  • Right-click the “App Readiness” service in the list that comes up and press “Start“.

This might solve the issue or else you should move on to the next fix.

Solution #5: Run the Sfc Scan

run the sfc scan

The System File Checker, or SFC, is a tool that’s built into Windows. It scans your protected files and replaces any corrupted ones it finds with an earlier cached version.

This solution might work if you’re experiencing the ‘We Couldn’t Complete the Updates – Undoing Change’ error.

This is how you run an SFC scan:

  • Type this in the search bar: cmd
  • Click Run to open the Command Prompt.
  • Type this: sfc scannow and press Enter.
  • When it finishes, you can restart the PC.

Solution #6: Use Restore Points

Restore Points

This fix can be useful so long as you have some restore points saved. If you do, try the following steps:

  • Type this in the search bar: recovery and click “Open“.
  • Select “Open System Restore” and click on “Next“.
  • Pick a restore point from the list that comes up.
  • Click on “Scan for Affected Programs” to see which drivers or programs will be affected by rolling back.
  • If it looks OK then close the window and click on “Next” and “Finish“.

Hopefully this will return your computer back to a point where it was working, without deleting any files or data.

If this doesn’t work, there are a few more solutions you might like to try.

Solution #7: Run a Startup Repair

Startup Repair

This is another of Windows’ built-in tools which can help solve start-up problems.

  • First you need to get into safe mode (following the instructions above) and open the “Advanced Startup Settings“.
  • Click on “Troubleshoot“, select “Advanced Options” and click “Startup Repair“.

Once these processes have finished, see whether the issue has been resolved

Solution #8: Run Dism

Run Dism

DISM is Deployment Image Servicing and Management. This Windows service is useful for repairing and obtaining Windows image files.

It can also help with the ‘We couldn’t complete the updates – Undoing changes’ error.

  • First you need to get into safe mode (following the instructions above) and open the Advanced Startup Settings.
  • Click “Troubleshoot” and “Advanced Options“.
  • Click on “Command Prompt“.
  • Now type this:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

The DISM will run and scan for issues, which it should then automatically fix. Bear in mind the process takes a few minutes and it’s normal if it sticks for a bit at the 20% or 40% mark. Just let it run to the end.

If this doesn’t work for the error though, there are still some things you can try.

Solution #9: Block Automatic Updates

Block Automatic Updates

Windows 10 updates itself automatically but blocking these automatic updates might be necessary to fix the error.

There are two ways you can do this:

  • Type this in the search bar: “services.msc” and choose “Run as Administrator“.
  • Locate “Windows Updates” in the list that comes up then double-click on it.
  • After setting it to “Disabled“, you can click “Stop the Service” than “Apply” and “OK“.

The updating service should now be disabled.

There is another way to block the updates and that is to set up your internet connection as metered, so the system won’t allow anything to update because of the size (just like you can set your phone to only update on Wi-Fi to save cellular data). This is the second method:

  • Right-click the internet icon on the bottom right of your screen.
  • Click on the internet connection you’re using.
  • Toggle the “Set as Metered Connection” button to On.

That should stop the annoying updates. However, you will need to update at some point if your apps are going to keep running properly.

Hopefully the next update launched by Windows will install correctly on your PC and get rid of the error.

It’s also possibly to manually install an update.

Solution #10: Manually Install the Update

Manually Install The Update

Perhaps you are getting the ‘We Couldn’t Complete the Updates. Undoing Changes’ error because some of the modules wouldn’t work together.

A manual installation might resolve such a conflict.

This is what you should do:

  • Go to Microsoft’s Update Catalog –
  • Type the identifier of the update that won’t install in the search field.
  • Locate the right one for your Windows version and click Download.
  • Extract the file into an empty new folder.
  • Now right-click the setupprep.exe file and select Install (follow the on-screen directions).
  • Restart the PC and check if the error is gone.

Solution #11: Reset Your Computer

Reset Your Computer

This is the last option and you should only consider this one if you’ve had no luck with the above fixes.

Although your data and files will be fine you will lose all your software and apps. Make a note of the software you will want to re-install afterwards so you don’t forget anything.

  • Use one of the methods described above to enter Safe Mode.
  • Than click on “Troubleshoot” and select “Reset this PC“.
  • Choose whether to remove everything or keep your files.
  • Give the reset time to complete.

Hopefully you won’t see the ‘We Couldn’t Complete the Updates – Undoing Changes’ error anymore!