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

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The “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer” error occurs when Windows fails to install updates and attempts to revert the changes. This can be caused by various issues like corrupted files, insufficient space, or conflicts with software.

To resolve the “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer” error, there are several strategies you can try:

1. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

The Windows Update Troubleshooter is a built-in tool designed to diagnose and fix common issues with Windows Update. Follow these steps to run the troubleshooter:

  1. Press the Windows + I keys to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Update & Security.
  3. Select Troubleshoot from the sidebar on the left.
  4. Click on Additional troubleshooters.
  5. Choose Windows Update from the list.
  6. Click Run the troubleshooter.
  7. Wait for the troubleshooter to detect issues and follow any on-screen instructions to resolve them.

2. Restart Windows Update Service

Restarting the Windows Update service can help resolve update issues by refreshing the service. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R keys.
  2. Type services.msc and press Enter.
  3. In the Services window, find and double-click on Windows Update service.
  4. In the service’s Properties window, click Stop to halt the service.
  5. After the service has stopped, click Start to restart the service.

3. Delete SoftwareDistribution Folder Contents

The SoftwareDistribution folder stores temporary files required for installing Windows updates. Clearing this folder can resolve update-related issues. Follow these steps:

  1. Stop the Windows Update service by following the steps in the previous section.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.
  3. Delete all the contents of the folder.
  4. Restart the Windows Update service using the steps mentioned earlier.
  • Note: Deleting the contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder will not harm your system but will clear the update cache, forcing Windows to re-download the update files.

4. Run DISM and SFC Scans

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) are tools that can fix corrupted system files which might be causing the update issues.

  1. Running SFC Scan:
    1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter.
    3. Wait for the scan to complete and fix any issues.
  2. Running DISM Scan:
    1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    2. Type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press Enter.
    3. Allow the command to complete its process, which might take some time.

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5. Use System Restore

System Restore can revert your system’s state to a previous point in time, which can be helpful if recent changes caused the update error.

  1. Restart your PC and boot into Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).
  2. Navigate to Troubleshooting > Advanced options > System Restore.
  3. Select a restore point from the list where your system was working correctly.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
  • Note: System Restore might result in the loss of recent applications and settings, but it doesn’t affect personal files.

6. Delete or Rename the SoftwareDistribution Folder

Deleting or renaming the SoftwareDistribution folder can sometimes resolve update issues. This folder holds temporary Windows update files.

  1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Stop the Windows Update service by typing net stop wuauserv and net stop bits, pressing Enter after each command.
  3. Either delete all contents of the folder by navigating to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution or rename it (e.g., to SoftwareDistribution.bak) using the command rename c:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bak.
  4. Restart the Windows Update service by typing net start wuauserv and net start bits, pressing Enter after each command.
  • Caution: This action will clear the update cache and Windows will re-download the update files.

7. Uninstall Recent Windows Updates

If the error started after a recent update, uninstalling it might help. Here’s how to remove recent updates:

  1. Press Windows + R, type appwiz.cpl, and press Enter.
  2. Click on View installed updates in the left pane.
  3. Find the recent update(s) that might be causing the issue.
  4. Right-click on the update and select Uninstall.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the update.
  6. Restart your computer and check if the issue persists.

8. Manually Install Windows Updates

If automatic updates fail, manually installing updates can be an effective solution. Use the Microsoft Update Catalog to find and install updates:

  1. Visit the Microsoft Update Catalog.
  2. Search for the specific update using the update number or name.
  3. Download the update that matches your system type (e.g., 64-bit, 32-bit).
  4. Run the downloaded file and follow the installation instructions.
  5. Restart your computer after installation.

9. Free Up Disk Space

Lack of sufficient disk space can cause update failures. Ensuring enough free space on your system drive is crucial. Here are some ways to free up disk space:

  1. Use Disk Cleanup to remove temporary files and system files.
  2. Uninstall programs you no longer use.
  3. Delete unnecessary personal files or move them to an external drive.
  4. Clear your Downloads folder.
  • Tip: You can check your disk space by opening File Explorer, right-clicking on your system drive (usually C:), and selecting Properties.

10. Disable Automatic Windows Update

Temporarily disabling automatic updates might help. Here’s how to disable it:

  1. Press Win + R, type services.msc, and press Enter.
  2. Scroll down and double-click on Windows Update to open its properties.
  3. Under ‘Startup Type’, select Disabled.
  4. If the service is running, click Stop.
  5. Click Apply and then OK.

Remember to enable the Windows Update service later to keep your system up-to-date.

11. Activate the App Readiness Service

The App Readiness service is essential for installing updates. Ensure it is enabled:

  1. Open the Services window by pressing Win + R, typing services.msc, and pressing Enter.
  2. Find and double-click App Readiness to open its properties.
  3. Set the ‘Startup Type’ to Automatic.
  4. Click Start under ‘Service Status’ if the service is not running.
  5. Click Apply and then OK.

12. Delete Recently Installed Updates

If certain updates are causing issues, removing them might resolve the problem:

  1. Press Win + I to open Settings and go to Update & Security.
  2. Click on Windows Update, then View update history.
  3. Find and click on Uninstall updates.
  4. Select the problematic update from the list and click Uninstall.

After uninstalling the update, restart your computer and check if the error persists.


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