One of the most important things you can do to keep your computer system running at optimum performance is to keep your Windows 10/11 operating system updated with the latest security patches and features. This will not only improve the stability and performance of your computer but will also help protect it against new threats.
However, what will happen when something goes wrong with the update, and you end up in a loop error that causes your computer to undo the changes?
In this article, we’ll discuss the “undoing changes made to your computer” error message and the Windows 10 undoing changes loop. We’ll explore what this error means, what are the potential causes behind it, how to troubleshoot the problem and provide you with a brief FAQ section on related questions and their answers.
What Does The “Undoing Changes Made to Your Computer” Loop Error Mean?
The “undoing changes made to your computer” error appears after a Windows restart, following a system update. When the message appears, Windows is trying to tell you that it was unable to install the system update, and is therefore removing all partially installed files from the update.
Once the changes are undone, the computer will restart as normal and return to your desktop screen. This cycle will repeat itself, only to fail over and over again.
What Does This Error Look Like On Screen?
The “undoing changes made to your computer” loop error message appears after you’ve told Windows to shut down or restart to install updates. Windows will attempt to go through installing the update and then begin its shutdown/restart process as normal.
But, instead of completing the updates and restarting up normally, you’ll see a message that states: “we couldn’t complete the updates, undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer” followed by a spinning dot loading screen icon. After a minute or two, Windows will undo the changes and boot you back into your desktop as if you never initiated the updates in the first place.
This can be an extremely frustrating error to run into because it seems like no matter what you do, Windows just can’t seem to install the updates. And, to make matters worse, this error message doesn’t give you any clues as to what might be causing the problem or how to go about fixing it. In the next sections, we’ll describe common causes for this error, and 9 ways to fix it.
What Can Cause the Windows 10 Undoing Changes Loop Error?
There are several potential causes that can prompt the undoing changes loop error on both Windows 10 and 11 machines. We’ve listed some of the most common causes below:
- The Update Was Corrupted: One of the most common reasons for this error is the Windows Update Files were corrupted during the download or installation process. This can happen due to a bad internet connection, a computer crash in the middle of the update installation, or even communication failures with Microsoft’s servers.
- Your Computer Is Low on Disk Space: In order for Windows to install updates, it needs enough disk space to store the new files, as well as, create a backup of old files. If your computer doesn’t have enough free space, Windows won’t be able to install the updates. This type of installation failure can cause the computer to get caught in the update loop.
- You Have Corrupt Data in Your Software Distribution Folder: Your Windows 10/11 software distribution folder is where Windows stores all the files it needs to install updates. If this folder becomes corrupted, damaged, or infected with a virus, this can cause update installation failure, resulting in the undoing changes loop error.
- You Have a Pending Update: Sometimes if you have a pending update that didn’t install properly, this can cause issues with subsequent updates. You can find out if you have a failed pending update in the Windows Update Screen. It will show you a list of updates that have been installed and which ones failed via a yellow exclamation mark beside them.
- You Have an Antivirus Program Blocking the Update: In rare cases, your antivirus program can block Windows from installing updates. This usually happens because the antivirus program is configured to automatically block any new files that it doesn’t recognize.
9 Ways to Fix The “Undoing Changes Made to Your Computer” Error
If you’re seeing the Windows 10 undoing changes loop on your computer, there are several fixes that you can try. We’ve listed some of the most effective solutions below:
1. Boot Your Computer Into Safe Mode
Starting your computer in safe mode forces it to run without any non-essential systems. It allows it to perform tasks that other systems may be hindering.
- Start by shutting down your computer. Do this by holding down the power button for 5 seconds, or until the power appears to completely drain.
- Allow 3-4 minutes to pass, then turn the computer back on using the power button.
- As soon as the computer begins to boot up, press and hold the Shift and F8 keys. This will take you to the booting menu.
- Locate and click on the button labeled Advanced Options, then on Troubleshoot on the following screen.
- Once again, locate and click on Advanced Options, then select Startup Settings on the next screen.
- Finally, click on the Enable Safe Mode option and allow the computer to restart. Try installing the update while Windows is in Safe Mode.
There are other methods to boot your Windows 10 computer into Safe Mode. We have an article that specifically teaches you 6 ways of doing so.
2. Use the Built-in Windows Update Troubleshooter
Since the undoing changes error occurs when you’re installing updates, you can address update-related issues by running the built-in Windows Update troubleshooter. Here is how to do this:
- Open the Control Panel by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard and typing Troubleshooting Settings into the search bar, and selecting it.
- Scan through the Options list and choose “Other Troubleshooters” found near the bottom. Click this, then click Run on the Windows Update, found in the Most Frequent List (Win 11).
- After clicking on Run, this will open up the Windows Update diagnostic and detect and resolve any problems.
- Once the troubleshooting diagnostic has been completed, the Windows Update window will tell you if problems were detected and if they were resolved. If they were resolved, you can hit the close button and try installing the updates again.
3. Manually Uninstall the Latest Updates
If using the built-in Windows Update troubleshooter does nothing to resolve the error, you can try manually uninstalling the latest updates to overcome the “undoing changes made to your computer” loop error.
- Open the Windows menu, either by clicking on the Windows icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen or by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard. Click on the Settings gear icon to open your computer’s settings.
- Locate and click on Update & Security.
- In the window that follows, select the option for Windows Update in the column on the left, then look through the options on the right and click on View Update History.
- In the next window, you’ll see a list of updates. Scroll down until you see a Related Settings section, and click on the Uninstall Updates button. This will redirect you to the Control Panel with a list of your most recent system updates.
- Click on the last installed update in order to select it, then click on the Uninstall button, located directly above the list.
4. Run an SFC and DISM Scan to Repair Corruption
Command Prompt is a powerful tool that you can use to pinpoint and repair damaged files. Running an SFC and DISM scan allows your computer to identify corrupted files and fix whatever damage has been done to them.
- Open Command Prompt by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard, then typing Command Prompt into the search bar. In the menu, right-click it and selects Run As Administrator.
- Start by running an SFC scan by typing in the following command, followed by the Enter Key:
- Once the scan finishes, run a DISM scan, in the same manner, using the following command:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- Restart your computer and try updating again.
Note: If you run into an SFC /Scannow error when starting the scan, don’t worry. We have written dedicated articles on what to do if SFC scannow is not working, including:
- Windows resource protection could not perform the requested operation
- Windows resource protection could not start the repair service
- Windows resource protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them
5. Block Automatic Updates Temporarily
While there is no way to block Windows updates entirely as you will need to eventually process the updates in order to keep your computer safe from security threats. You can, however, block the automatic updates temporarily. This will give you the time you need to try installing the update manually.
- In your computer’s search menu, type in settings.
- Find the Network and Internet option and click on it.
- On Windows 10, click on Status and then Change Connection Properties.
- On Windows 11, click into either your Wi-Fi or Ethernet Connections.
- From here, look for the metered connection, and toggle it on.
- This enables a metered connection, which is a hard data limit.
- With a data limit in place, updates won’t download automatically.
From here, you can either wait for a new update to come out that hopefully fixes the issue, or you can try manually installing the current update as seen in fix 2 above.
6. Clear & Rename Your Software Distribution Folder
The software distribution folder stores temporary data for Windows updates. If this data is corrupted, it will cause Windows updates to fail. We recommend that you rename this folder, as this will prompt Windows to recreate it with new, fresh files. To accomplish this, do the following:
- Open Command Prompt by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard, then typing Command Prompt into the search bar. In the menu, right-click it, and select Run As Administrator.
- In Command Prompt, type the following commands, pressing the Enter key after finishing each line:
net stop wuauserv
net stop bits
rename C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\ to SoftwareDistribution.bak
net start wuauserv
net start bits
- Try updating again in order to test if the issue is resolved.
7. Enable the App Readiness Service
The App Readiness Service is a relatively new program that prepares applications for launch when you sign in to your computer, and when you download and install new apps. Enabling this service can help your computer download and install updates if the error stemmed from pauses or interruptions during the update process.
- Open the Run window by pressing the Windows and R Keys on your keyboard simultaneously.
- In the Run window, type in services.msc, then press the Enter Key to open the Services window.
- In the list on the right, locate App Readiness, right-click it, then select Start from the drop-down menu.
- Restart your computer, then try updating again to see if the error has been resolved.
8. Do a Complete System Restore
If you routinely make back-ups of your data, restoring your system to a point prior to experiencing the “undoing changes made to your computer” loop error is often an effective and nearly fool-proof resolution.
- Begin by opening the Restore Point Settings window by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard, typing rstrui into the search bar, then hitting the Enter Key.
- In the window that opens, follow the prompts by clicking the Next button and selecting your desired restore point.
- Keep following the prompts until you are asked to click the Finish button. Do so to start the system restore, then test the issue again once the process has finished.
9. Do a Fresh Installation of Your Windows Operating System
If the “undoing changes made to your computer” loop error persists after following the above steps, it may be time to Reinstall Windows entirely. This error appears following a Windows system update, so wiping the slate clean and starting fresh bypasses errors that can occur during the update process.
- Press the Windows Key on your keyboard, then type Reset This PC into the search bar, followed by the Enter Key.
- In the window that opens, click on the Reset PC button under the Recovery Options.
- Follow the prompts, opting to keep your personal files. When asked how you’d like to reinstall Windows, select Local Install if you have a copy of Windows ready, or select Cloud Download if you don’t. Note that a Cloud Download will take significantly longer to complete.
- Click the Next button, then the Reset button to begin the process.
Frequently Asked Questions For The Windows 10 Undoing Changes Loop
If the above information wasn’t quite enough in helping you understand the “undoing changes made to your computer” loop error message, here are some commonly asked questions that pop up.
No, you should not lose any data if you restart your computer while it’s undoing changes.
The best advice we can give you is to manually uninstall the updates, and leave the software updates until the next patch comes out. Beyond this, if none of the methods above have worked, but you haven’t done a system restore or a fresh install of Windows 10/11, then we recommend doing that. Otherwise, you may need to contact Microsoft Support.
If your computer is stuck with the Windows 10 undoing changes loop and it won’t turn off, you’ll need to complete a forced restart or power off. This is done either by unplugging the computer from its power source and plugging it back in or by holding down the power button for a few seconds. If you had unsaved work opened, this will likely be lost, but any saved data (programs, files, documents, games) will remain intact.
After undoing changes made to your computer, you will be prompted to restart your computer. Restart as prompted, and your computer will be back in the state it was prior to the update installation attempt.
The undoing changes process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the size of the update and the speed of your computer.
Please refer to our cause(s) section above.
Undoing Changes Made to Your Computer” Loop Error, Fixed!
We hope this article helped you get out of the Windows 10/11 Undoing Changes Loop predicament. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Otherwise, please let us know which method solved the error for you!
If you have any other Windows, Linux, or IOS/Android issues, check out our other troubleshooting articles for answers! Happy reading!