I cannot update Windows from a USB: this is how you solve it

When we install or repair the system from a pendrive, it may seem like a window informing us of an error: «It seems that an update started and it started from the installation media. If you want to continue with the update, remove the media from your PC and click Yes. If you want to do a clean install instead. click No ».

What does this error mean

This error message informs us that the Windows update has been interrupted once it has started for some unknown reason that has prevented it from updating correctly and regularly. Later it gives us the option to choose between performing a clean installation by clicking on “No” to continue, or it will delete the medium from which the installation is being carried out or click on “Yes” to continue with the operating system update.

Generally, this error message should not become a big problem, but it can be in case the update does not complete or in case Windows gets stuck after trying to install the updates and we want to repair the system booting it from a USB drive. For this reason, we are going to check how we can omit this message, canceling the installation process that is running to perform a system repair from the removable device.

Windows boots, but cannot update

In the event that after the error appears we can start the operating system, but we cannot install the update from the Windows environment, we must carry out the following actions.

We must access the Windows Settings menu, pressing the keyboard shortcut “Windows + I”. Later we click on the “Update and security” section and click on the “Restart now” button to begin the update process. Right after the first reboot, it will start working on updates to go 1-2%. Once finished, we press the paid button for 10-15 seconds so that the PC turns off completely. Later we reinsert the installation pendrive and turn on the PC. Finally, we follow the remaining steps to cancel the update in progress.

Cancel the update if you can’t boot

Once we start the system from the installation pendrive, once the error message appears, we press the keys “Shif + F10” to start the Command Prompt that we will use to obtain a list of all the drives in the system. To do this we use the following command and press Enter:

wmic logicaldisk get name

Later we must find out which drive contains the Windows folder. For this we will use the command «dir» followed by the drive letter (C, D …). Then, on the drive where the folder is located, we create a temporary folder by typing the command

mkdir C: / Scractch

Later we must execute this command to revert the pending actions of the update in progress using the following command

DISM / Imagen: C : / / ScratchDir: C: / Scratch / Cleanup-Image / RevertPendingActions

Once executed, we should receive a message informing that the operation was completed and that the reversal of the pending actions will be carried out after the restart. We close the Command Prompt, remove the pendrive and let Windows start. When restarting, a message should appear warning that the changes made are being undone, so once Windows is finished, you should restart normally.

Prepare Windows for installation

Once we have been able to start Windows normally, we must prepare the operating system for repair and update through the USB device, following the steps detailed below.

Delete update files

The first thing we are going to do is delete all the updates already downloaded for which we are going to use the tool Cleaner of space. To do this we are going to open the File Explorer and right-click on the C drive and select its “Properties”. This will make a new window appear, where we must press the “Free space” button that we find within the “General” tab.

In the new window that appears, click on the “Clean system files” button, for which it will be necessary to have administrator rights.

Free up hard drive space

In the next window we make sure to have checked the boxes for · Windows update cleanup “,” Microsoft Defender Antivirus “,” Downloaded program files “,” Temporary Internet files “and” Temporary Windows installation file “( if any). Finally, click on Accept and once the process is completed, we close the Properties section.

Delete SoftwareDistribution folder

The next step to perform is to delete the folder SoftwareDistribution, which is where the system saves Windows updates. Sometimes this folder gets damaged and we have to recreate it, getting the updates to be downloaded again from scratch. His route is as follows

C: / Windows / SoftwareDistribution

The first thing to do will be to stop the Windows update service, for which we will press the keyboard shortcut “Windows + R” which will launch the Run command. Here we will write services.msc and press Enter or the OK button. Inside the Services panel we look for “Windows Update”, right-click on it and click Stop and close the Services application.

Windows Update Services

Next, we open File Explorer and navigate to the Windows folder. Here we select the SoftwareDistribution folder and press the DELETE button to delete it.

Update from a pendrive

Once we have arrived here we can repair and update Windows from a USB installation medium. To do this, we restart the computer and connect the installation pendrive. Later, when the Windows installation wizard appears, click on «Next» and then on «Install now». Now we only have to accept the license agreement and once it is requested, we select “Update: install Windows and keep files, settings and applications”.

Windows installation type

Now we just have to follow the steps of the wizard to continue with the repair and update process of the operating system completely. As we have indicated, the process will be carried out preserving and respecting all the files, configurations and applications that we have installed so that we can find it as we left it, without any unwanted modification.

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