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2,862 Tutorials

How to deal with a failed Windows update

Coping with 'Failure reverting changes'

If your PC delivers an error message about Windows Updates configuring, it may mean that an important update has been missed. Here's what to do.

QUESTION My PC runs Windows 7 64bit. On bootup, I've started seeing the error message: 'Configuring Windows Updates 0% Complete'. This stays onscreen for about 5 minutes, and is then replaced with 'Failure reverting changes'. Following this message the desktop loads and I can use the PC as normal. However, I'm worried that my PC isn't being updated properly. Peter Coward

HELPROOM ANSWER Windows Update normally works very well, but it can occasionally get itself into a mess. This can happen when an individual update fails, and other updates can be installed only with that first update in place. Sometimes, Windows can attempt to apply such updates in the wrong order, which results in the repeated failures you describe.

To resolve this issue, we first need to find out which updates have failed and apply them manually. Open the Control Panel, then select Windows Update, 'View Update History'. All successfully installed updates will be displayed, along with any that have failed.

Each update will be listed with its associated Knowledge Base number. This takes the form of a numerical code preceded by the letters 'KB'. Head to the Microsoft Download Center (microsoft.com/downloads) and enter into the website's Search box the Knowledge Base number (including the 'KB') for each failed download in the list. This will take you to an article that explains the purpose of the update and provides a link to manually download it.

Check the update history after each update you install to verify its success.

If an update fails, move on to the next and try it later. Eventually, you will have performed all the required updates and your PC will start up as normal.

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