We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
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.

See all How to articles

IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy S6 release date, features and specs rumours: When will the Galaxy S6 come out?

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...