FIX: Windows Cannot Boot After Installing Updates (Windows 7/8/10)

Last updated on April 11th, 2018

In this tutorial you 'll find detailed instructions to resolve the following Windows startup issues on Windows 10, 8 or 7 OS: Windows cannot boot after installing updates or stuck during the update(s) installation and revert changes. 

Sometimes, during the installation of an update, Windows may fail to boot normally, because – for some reason – the installation of the update fails. The symptoms of an unsuccessful update installation, are crashing or freezing problems, BSOD issues that cannot be fixed by Windows and causing the system to loop at the "Startup Repair" screen, or to display the error message: "Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes".

Windows Not Boot After Installing an Update



How to FIX: Windows Cannot Boot After Update (Windows 7/8/10)

To resolve the Windows startup issues after installing updates, you must enter into the Windows Recovery Environment by booting from a Windows installation media*, or by entering into the built-in WinRE environment if your system includes preinstalled recovery options.**

* If you don't own a Windows USB installation media, then (from another working pc) you can create one by using the Media Creation tool.

** To access the preinstalled recovery options, follow the steps below:

  • If you own Windows 7 OS (Desktop or Laptop):

1. Press the "F8" key before the Windows logo appears.
2. In the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight the Repair your computer option, and then press Enter. (If the "Repair your computer" option isn't listed, then you have to boot your computer from a Windows Installation Media.)

  • If you own a Windows 10, 8/8.1 or 7 OS (Laptop):

1. Power ON your laptop.
2. Press the corresponding FUNCTION key, (e.g. "F11", "F10", "F9", etc.), to access the Recovery options. (To find out which recovery key (function key) to press, look at your laptop's screen after Power On, or see the laptops' manual or find it from your laptop's manufacturer support page, or read this article: Laptops Recovery Instructions & Keys


In this tutorial, I 'll show to you three methods to resolve the startup problems after updating Windows, by entering into the Windows Recovery Environment from a Windows installation media.

Method 1. Revert Pending Actions by running the DISM tool in WinRE.
Method 2. Rename the "SoftwareDistribution" folder from the WinRE.
Method 3. System Restore.


Method 1. Revert Pending Actions by running the DISM tool in WinRE.

1. Boot your computer, from the Windows 10 installation media.
2. At the Windows Language Setup screen press SHIFT + F10 to access command prompt, or click Next –> Repair your computer –> Troubleshoot –> Advanced Options –> Command Prompt.

windows setup screen


3. Inside the command prompt window, type the following command and press Enter, to view all the available drives on your system:

  • wmic logicaldisk get name

wmic logicaldisk get name


4. Now, by using the "DIR <Drive_Letter>" command, examine the contents of all listed drives (except the drive X:), to find out which drive contains the "Windows" folder. (e.g. "dir C:") *

  • dir C:

* Note: The above command will display a list of the folders on the drive C:
– If you can see the "Windows" folder, then continue to the next step.
– If you cannot see the "Windows" folder on the C: drive, then move to the next drive on the list. (e.g. dir D:, dir E:, etc.), until you find out which drive contains the "Windows" folder.

fix windows cannot boot after update


5. When you locate the drive with the "Windows" folder, then navigate to that drive, by typing its drive letter. At this example, the "Windows" folder is located at "D:" drive, so we have to type:

  • D:

6. Create a new folder and name it "Scratch", by typing this command:

  • mkdir D:\Scratch

fix Windows boot problem after update


7. Finally type the following command, to rollback your system, after the unsuccessful Windows update:

  • DISM /Image:D:\ /ScratchDir:D:\Scratch /Cleanup-Image /RevertPendingActions

* Note: Change the drive letter D according to your case.



8. Once the above command executed, you should receive the following message on screen:

"Reverting pending actions from the image….
The operation completed.  Any revert of pending actions will be attempted after the reboot
The operation completed successfully."

Revert Pending Actions DISM


9. Close the command prompt window and restart your computer normally.

10. After restarting, you 'll see a message that says "Reverting pending actions…" (in Windows 7) or "Getting Windows Ready" (in Windows 10). Just wait for the operation to complete and then you should be able to login to Windows normally.

Method 2. Delete the "SoftwareDistribution" folder & Pending actions from the WinRE.

The C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder is the location where Windows stores the new updates after downloading them. If Windows could not complete the installation of an update, then, from WinRE proceed and delete the "SoftwareDistribution" folder, in order to force Windows to boot normally without installing any updates. To do that:

1. Boot your computer from the Windows installation media and then follow the steps 1-5 from the method 1 above.

2. Then give the following commands in order. *

  • del D:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
  • del D:\Windows\WinSxS\cleanup.xml
  • del D:\Windows\WinSxS\pending.xml

* Note: Change the drive letter D according your case.

3. Close Command Prompt and reboot your computer.


Method 3. Perform a System Restore.

The final method to resolve the boot problems after a Windows update, is to restore your system to a previous working state. ToO do that:

1. Boot your computer, from the Windows 10 installation media.
2. At the Windows Language Setup screen click Next –> Repair your computer –> Troubleshoot –> System Restore.

system restore


3. At System Restore (1st) screen click Next.
4. Select a previous restore point and then click Next.
Then click Finish (and Yes to confirm your decision) to restore your system at the selected date (restore point).
7. Now wait until the restore process is completed. During the restore process, your computer will restart several times and when it's done, you should enter in Windows without problems.

That's it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

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