A Solution to the “Failure Configuring Windows Updates” Windows 8 Problem

A Solution to the “Failure Configuring Windows Updates” Windows 8 Problem

We waited a few months to grab Windows 8, just to let the bugs work themselves out. Apparently we didn’t wait long enough! So the issue we’re discussing today is the message received at the end of update installation that reads “Failure configuring Windows updates. Reverting changes. Do not turn off your computer.” Have you had this problem? We’d like to hear from you.

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Note: The solution below only seems to work for some people, but it’s probably worth a try.

The Problem

When Windows 8 installs updates, it goes through the entire installation process, only to fail at the very end. At that point it will then “revert” the updates. We had the problem for a couple of weeks, and each reboot took about 15 minutes to completely cycle through the updates and reverting process. Every solution we tried would consist of at least 15 minutes of waiting.

Microsoft’s Solution

At least Microsoft has acknowledged the problem here, and they suggest these solutions:

  • Restart your computer (Windows 8)
  • Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
  • Use the System Restore feature
  • Use the In Place Upgrade feature

Obviously a mere reboot isn’t likely to make the problem magically disappear, and the Windows Update Troubleshooter didn’t work for us. We didn’t really want to go through a System Restore or In Place Upgrade, so we scoured the net a little further.

We stared at this time-consuming failed update for far too long!

What Worked

Again, this only works for some people, but perhaps you’ll be one of the lucky ones. And it’s certainly easier than other suggestions out there. We don’t take credit for this solution, which we found here.

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  • Type Windows key + R
  • Type in msconfig.exe and hit enter
  • Select the Services tab on the top
  • Check the box on the bottom that says Hide all Microsoft services
  • Click Disable all
  • Do an “Update and Restart” of the computer


At this point, the updates installed fine upon reboot. It should be noted that after rebooting, those services you unchecked may all be running again, which is fine.

Bottom Line

The solution above is a solution, but not the only solution. Have you had this problem? Did the solution above work for you? If not, what did? Let us hear from you in the comments below!

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View Comments (40)


  1. Wesley Burns

    February 26, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Ok so I have been away from home a couple of weeks. Prior to leaving I had to do a factory reset on my Win8 computer. Now that I’m home I tried to boot it up and it keeps telling me “Failure Configuring Windows Updates” and I have waited over 30 minutes and tried re-powering it down and back on several times but it won’t finish and start up. What should I do? I can’t even get into my computer.

  2. John Baker

    October 24, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Step 1: Insert Windows 7 setup disk.
    Step 2: Restart computer.
    Step 3: Choose ‘boot from CD or DVD’ option.
    Step 4: Format hard drive.
    Step 5: Install Windows 7.

    Problem solved.

  3. Michelle Chan

    June 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I cut off Ty power, turn it back on and tapped F8 furiously. It still went to the “failure configuring windows updates” page.
    How do you do Windows key + R?? I pressed the windows key (button that has windows icon on it right?) and the R key but nothing happened!

    • Wesley Burns

      February 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Windows key is the one on your keyboard that looks like the windows flag icon. You just press and hold it as you press the letter R key then release, similar to pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete to bring up your task manager. Hope this helps you Miss Chan. Have a wonderful day. =D

  4. Zeke Dunevent

    June 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    After I followed these steps it said please wait for like an hour then I cut it off and back on and it failed again.

  5. Zeke Dunevent

    June 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    After doing this and restarting my computer the updates 100% installed but now it is saying please wait and looping any advice?

  6. Allan

    May 16, 2014 at 5:41 am

    wow it just worked for me :) i just need to know that in the Services tab i have Hide all Microsoft services and Click Disable all so now as i have updated shoud i enable it?

  7. catie

    April 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

    We couldnt complete the updates undoing chnges dont turn off computer. Its been doing that for over an hour cant get to another screen period. I hsve cut it off and. Turned it back on. Still the same what do i just to get to a different screen.

  8. Michelle

    April 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! This has been driving me crazy for months.

  9. Tom Whelan

    March 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Hi, as suggested above, I tried to manually install the updates directly from Microsoft. The first two I tried said they were not applicable to my pc !!! But I have 17 to go. No wonder I couldn’t down load them.

  10. mikey

    February 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I disabled, but windows decided I had no updates once I disabled. Prior to disabling it was trying to install 27 updates. Windows sucks, maybe Linux will be better.

  11. Marty

    February 19, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Got the Error. I did everything to fix it. I’ve had a L2 Microsoft tech remote in 5 times. It’s not fixed. Gonna send it back as I am still in the 30 day return window…Thank God. Some poor soul is going to buy this PC.

  12. jay

    February 17, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for finding this solution. Alas, it does not work for me. I am so sick of Windows8 — I can’t navigate around it, the “Metro” app screems randomly pops up when I am in the middle of something…. and where is the Start button? My solution is to either wipe out Win8 and install Windows 7, or maybe even Ubuntu (Linux). Win8 has been a nightmare for me, and I have been a windows user since Windows 3.1.

  13. Arthur Wulf

    February 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Not working for me. I even restored windows to the factory image. It is just not working.

  14. KatieCakes

    February 5, 2014 at 7:28 am

    What a freakin’ mess. I have tried all of the above and now it feels like I’m in a loop of starting/”Failure to configure, restarting…”. It goes on and on and on and on and on….. arrrggghhhhh

  15. Kino

    February 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I couldn’t get to my window screen at all and the exact same screen has been showing for 5-6 times and each wait takes about an hour or so. How do I resolve this matter???

  16. MsBB

    January 31, 2014 at 7:15 am

    I have just purchased a windows 8 HP Notebook and noticed that there were no progams listed on the turn windows features off and on. I was trying to install IIS when I noticed this. The best solution is what you described as it worked.

    Type Windows key + R
    Type in msconfig.exe and hit enter
    Select the Services tab on the top
    Check the box on the bottom that says Hide all Microsoft services
    Click Disable all
    Do an “Update and Restart” of the computer

    Many Thanks

  17. David Carlo

    January 20, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I might try the sliu.exe 4 but waht worked for me was spoomfrrding the updates – instead of trying to instal all the updates in one shot – I spoon fed the updates – 3 at a time – rebooted – 3 more – rebooted until all the updates were in – this worked for me!

    • KatieCakes

      January 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Where did you find the itemized updates in order to spoonfeed?

  18. Andy

    October 14, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Ive tried both options, the one to disable all the services and to ring up and put that long code in and it still keeps on saying that the update has failed and its converting it back! HELP!!

  19. Wow,

    October 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Awesome, 2nd method worked in my Windows 8.

  20. Christopher Ruiz

    September 9, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Hey guys how long it takes the reverting chanes screen?
    My computer is windows 7 and it stays there i have an hour waiting here

    • waffles

      September 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      It seemed quite long here, maybe 30 minutes. That may depending on your system, though.

  21. CodedWrench

    August 30, 2013 at 4:58 am

    You should take a good look at your pc/laptop there should be a sticker with your product key with the windows edition it applies to. just download windows 8 its probably just windows 8 and not pro or enterprise. and use that product key at activation

  22. dsa2k2

    August 20, 2013 at 5:27 am

    I have a none original copy of windows 8 because I accidentaly formated the recovery partition and I have no CD, so, I activated it with a Pirate Program, and still having the riverting error, is there a way to reover my original windows 8 key?

  23. Chase C

    August 6, 2013 at 9:20 am

    The activation was the problem…Thanks for the help!!!

  24. Kait

    August 6, 2013 at 8:54 am

    What if the Windows key + R doesn’t pop anything up? HELP!

    • waffles

      August 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Look for the “Run” command under “Accessories”

  25. Definisdl

    August 2, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Found the number. Spent an hour with them and was able to activate. However, still have the revert failure. It may be the sales rep sold me the update version instead of the OEM 64. It still works all my apps too, however. Hmmm. Wonder why support didn’t catch that? Why didn’t I catch it!? Not clear what I have-not evident on the box. Beware.

  26. Definisdl

    July 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Performed all recommendations above and still cannot activate Win 8. Still get the revert failure. When I enter sliu.exe 4, I get no options described – no phone number – no option for activating a new purchase. I just spent $2500 building a new computer. My fifth. I’m appalled with this, having no one at Microsoft I can call for help. If someone has the phone number to offer, I would be grateful.


    • waffles

      July 31, 2013 at 5:46 am

      Ouch – sorry to hear about that. Perhaps one of our readers may have additional suggestions.

  27. ces

    July 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Wooh! it worked.. thanks much. I feel relieved.

  28. Calvin Hobbes

    May 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks so much! I was a little skeptical at first. I was just about to restore, and decided to look around one last time. Glad I did!

  29. John

    May 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Right on, Chase. That was it. Windows wasn’t activated and so it wouldn’t configure the upgrades. Your solution also worked. Thanks!

  30. Carmen

    April 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I am having a similar issue however with Windows 7. I keep on getting the “Failure Configuring windows updates. REverting Changes. Do not turn off your computer.” PLEASE HELP

    • waffles

      April 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Most of the Windows 8 suggestions should work with Windows 7. Did you try any of those?

      • Carmen

        April 3, 2013 at 5:44 am

        I got it! I just restored my settings one last time and it magically worked! phew…that was a close one. Thanks for responding!

  31. kasra

    March 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

    what if that happens on your laptop and you can’t even go to the windows to do all that stuff ??

    • waffles

      March 23, 2013 at 11:47 am

      After it fails, it should eventually boot back into Windows, but it is a very slow process. Is that not the case with you? (By the way, it was on a laptop where we experienced this issue.)

  32. Billy Gates

    January 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I can’t believe this actually worked. Thanks!

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