Posted on December 18, 2014 · Posted in Windows 8

Windows 8 / 2012 Fix: “Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes”

Let’s talk about quite a common problem arising from an incorrect or suddenly interrupted Windows update installation. It happens that somehow Windows 8 hasn’t been able to install updates correctly and has been restarted (restart as a result of an update error or power issues). After that, during the next boot, the system decides that the problem has been caused by an issue in one of the installed updates and tries to roll them back, but fails to do so. As a result, Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 booting stops with the following message on the screen:

Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes. Do not turn off your computer

Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes. Do not turn off your computer

In some cases it’s really worth waiting for some minutes/hours to let the system roll back the last updates correctly. However, this message often appears on every boot and it becomes impossible to get rid of it and log on to the system normally.

Generally, Microsoft has described this problem in one of the articles in its knowledge base – This article suggests to perform these actions (one by one, starting from the first one and going to the next solution if the previous did not help):

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Disconnect all removable media or external hard drives from your computer and reboot again
  3. Check your system using Windows Update Troubleshooter
  4. Perform a system restore (booting from the installation disk/boot drive and rollback to one of the earlier recovery points)
  5. Reset Windows 8 using a Refresh or Reset feature
  6. Reinstall your OS

Methods 1 and 2 do not need any comments. They should try first.

Windows Update Troubleshooter

As to the method 3, Windows 8 Update Troubleshooter can be run only from the working system, but since it won’t boot, let’s try to perform the diagnostics in the Safe Mode.

Tip. In Windows 8, you can add the option of booting in the Safe Mode as a separate item in Windows Boot Manager. For details, please, see this article.

To do it, you have to boot from the installation disk or the boot flash drive for Windows 8. Then run the command prompt. If you use Windows 8 installation disk, it can be done easier by pressing Shift+F10 while choosing the language/layout of the system.

Run the following in the command prompt:

bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal

Windows 8 safeboot minimal

After the next restart, the computer should boot in the Safe Mode.

Start Windows Update Troubleshooter by running this command:

msdt /id WindowsUpdateDiagnostic

msdt /id WindowsUpdateDiagnostic

Then just follow the instructions of the wizard.

After the wizard has finished working, disable booting Windows 8 in the Safe Mode:

bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot

Reboot the system and try to boot normally. If it doesn’t help, go to the next method.

System Restore

If applicable, try to restore your system by booting from the installation or boot drive and check if the problem persists.

If it also hasn’t helped, and you don’t want to reinstall or reset Windows, try the following methods first.

Upgrade Cache Cleanup

Boot in the Safe Mode again (how to do it is described above), run the command prompt and clean the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download\ folder (Windows downloads updates into this folder and starts update installation from here). You can do it directly in Windows Explorer or with this command:

ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download Download.old

Note. The command does not remove, just renames the folder Download into Download.old

Disable the automatic start of Windows Update service:

sc config wuauserv start= disabled

Make sure if Windows 8 can boot in the Normal Mode. If it can, enable Windows Update autostart and run this service:

sc config wuauserv start= auto
net start wuauserv

The system must download the updates again and install them.

If it hasn’t helped, move on.

The Repair of Windows 8 Component Store

Let’s try to repair Windows 8 Component Store with DISM. To do it, boot in the Safe Mode and run the following commands in the command prompt one by one:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth

Note. The command can be executed for quite a long time, up to several hours, make sure you wait for it to complete.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Disable booting in the Safe Mode and verify if Windows 8 can boot in the Normal Mode.

If it hasn’t helped, and the message «Failure to configure Windows updates. Reverting changes» doesn’t disappear, you’d better consider a reset or reinstall of your system.

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