When Microsoft released this month's updates for its Windows operating system, no one could foresee the troubles it would cause some customers of the system.
Shortly after installing the update, some customers experienced blue screen of death errors which prevented the system from booting into the operating system or even safe mode.
Depending on how tech-savvy users are that experienced the issue, they may have managed to regain control of the system by using system restore or by restoring a backup of the system.
The patch MS14-045 was quickly identified as the cause and Microsoft has pulled its download for the time being which means that current updates should not cause any related issues to users anymore.
Microsoft recommends to customers to uninstall the updates (2982791, 20960028, 2075710 and 2975331) but does not reveal how that is done on the bulletin page.
This article walks you through the uninstallation of Windows Updates in general using the two aforementioned updates as examples, and provides you with tips and best practices along the way as well.
Removing installed updates
Updates can be removed in several ways. Probably the easiest option for users is to use the uninstall a program applet of the Control Panel.
- Tap on the Windows-key, type remove program and select uninstall a program from the list of options (Windows 8 calls it add or remove programs).
- Click on view installed updates on the left sidebar to display all updates installed on the system. It may take a couple of seconds before the full list is displayed on the screen. Here you find all installed updates listed.
- Since there is no search. you may want to sort the updates by installation date. If you see installed on listed here, click on the table header to sort from newest to oldest. If you don't see it here, right-click on the header and add it first.
- Locate the update "Security Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2982791)".
- Right-click the update and select uninstall from the context menu. Confirm that you want to remove the update and wait for the process to complete.
- Depending on the update, you may be asked to reboot the PC to complete the process.
From the command line
Updates can also be removed from the command line using the wusa tool. To do so, you need to know the KB (KnowledgeBase) number of the patch you want to remove.
- Tap on the Windows-key, type cmd.exe, right-click on the result and select run as administrator. This launches an elevated command prompt.
- To remove an update, use the command wusa /uninstall /kb:2982791 /quiet and replace the KB number with the number of the update that you want to remove
What if you cannot boot into Windows?
If you get a blue or black screen of death while booting into Windows or another error message, you may want to hit F8 during the boot process to display the advanced boot menu.
Note: This is somewhat tricky on Windows 8 due to the accelerated boot process. It may be easier to use a Windows 8 disc instead if you have one and select restore from there when it comes up.
If you can display the advanced boot options you may want to select "Start Windows using Last Known Good Configuration" first. This is only available on Windows 7 and older systems and not on Windows 8.
It attempts to load the last configuration that the operating system booted in successfully.
You can also try and load Safe Mode, and if you can, uninstall updates from there.
Windows 8 users who get into the advanced boot options need to select Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> System Restore to recover the system using a previously created restore point.
How to prepare yourself
It pays to be prepared for these kind of situations. If you have Windows on disc already you are all set and don't really need to do anything.
If your system shipped without disc, you may want to create a system repair disc to make sure you have a disc that you can boot into if the operating system fails to boot.
- Tap on the Windows-key, type backup and restore and select the option.
- Select create a system repair disc from the left sidebar menu.
- Insert a blank DVD into the computer's DVD drive and click on create disc to start the process.
- We don't know why Microsoft removed the option to create a system repair disc this way from Windows 8.1.
- What you can do instead is to create a recovery drive on a USB flash drive.
- Tap on the Windows-key, type recovery drive and select the option.
- Confirm the UAC prompt that is displayed afterwards.
- Click next on the first screen and select the right drive letter on the next.
- Note that everything that is on the drive will be deleted so make sure you pick the right drive letter.
You can boot from the system repair disc or recovery drive whenever you cannot boot into Windows directly anymore. You may need to alter the boot sequence in the BIOS / UEFI though to do so depending on how it is set up.