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Fix Windows Update Loop in Windows Server 2012 and above

Written by: on 26 March 2020 10:06 PM 26 March 2020 10:06 PM

Fix Windows Update Loop in Windows Server 2012 and above

This results in: 'Windows updates failed to install, rolling back changes' message that often does not complete.

First you need to stop your VPS (use the poweroff if it has been more than an hour rolling back changes).

Then you need to mount the Windows DVD media, this is found in the portal DVD library, see:

Then you need to turn on the system, and view the console immediately, so you can hit the button to boot from the DVD.

Once there select your language and click next. Then on the following screen do NOT click 'Install Windows'. There is an option to Repair a windows installation in text on the bottom of the screen.

From there choose Troubleshooting and command prompt.


Fix #1: Delete cleanup.xml and pending.xml

Deleting the cleanup.xml and pending.xml files from the WinSxS folder.

  1. Type these commands and press Enter:
    del D:\Windows\WinSxS\cleanup.xml
    del D:\Windows\WinSxS\pending.xml

    D:\ is the letter where the windows installation is. This is usually where it resides after booting from the DVD.

  2. Type exit to quit Command Prompt
  3. Restart the computer
xml files deleted successfully

See if it now boots. If not try the second method (we have had more success using the second method). 


Fix #2: Use DISM

If deleting pending.xml and cleanup.xml doesn’t work, use the DISM command:

  1. Boot from the installation media and access Command Prompt (after you select Repair your computer > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt)
  2. Type the DISM command:
    dism /image:D:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions
  3. Press Enter
dism utility results screen



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