Win 7 Pro will not start after critical update RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a desktop PC running Win 7 Pro. It is in daily use, fully up to date with all updates, critical and optional applied.

    On 4 March 2018 a successful critical update (KB 4054981) was applied on startup.

    On 6 March another automatic critical update (unknown) was applied on startup but Windows failed to start after the restart that it requested.

    I attempted automatic Startup Repair 3 times having removed USB devices other than USB keyboard. Windows reported that it could not repair this computer automatically.

    I tried to restore to the point before the unknown update. This failed with an unspecified error during system restore.

    I tried the next earlier restore point before the KB4054981 update. This too failed with an unspecified error during system restore.

    The next restore point is a system image restore point (type Backup) dated  April 2014.

    I have never experienced this type of issue before when trying to roll back a Window update.

    I do not know what the problem is. I expected other more recent restore points.

    Can anyone suggest a solution?

    • Edited by Stortman3 Thursday, March 8, 2018 1:06 PM correction
    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 2:18 PM

All replies

  • If you have a Windows 7 media then try to perform a Repair install

    S.Sengupta,Microsoft MVP Windows and Devices for IT, Windows Insider MVP

    Thursday, March 8, 2018 1:33 AM


    What’s your current version of Windows, Windows 7 or Windows XP?

    Please check if you could boot into safe mode.

    Here are steps to enter safe mode.

    1. Just before the Windows 7 splash screen shown above appears, press the F8 key to enter Advanced Boot Options.

    2. Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, highlight the Safe Mode and press Enter.

    If you could boot into safe mode, please try to run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to check system files and recovery corrupted files, here are steps:

    1. Open Command Prompt (as administrator).

    2. Type sfc /scannow, and then press Enter.

    If you couldn’t boot into safe mode, please check if you have installation media. If yes, please try to do a in place upgrade, it will save your programs and files.

    Here is a link for your reference.

    How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 & Windows Server 2008 R2


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Thursday, March 8, 2018 5:23 AM
  • Hi,

    I did not get Win 7 media when I purchased this PC. I understand that there is a systems partition on the hard drive. I have created systems images in the past after major updates. I have not checked what I have available yet. Yes, I am hoping I can fix this issue by repairing the install as you suggest.

    Thursday, March 8, 2018 5:07 PM
  • Hi,

    Thanks for responding.

    I do not know the exact build number of the OS yet. Is there a windows file I can check to get this?

    I have Windows 7 Pro 64 bit, fully up to date, I believe it is SP1. (Win7_RM.0_PRO_RTL_en-us).

    I have checked the windows update log of 2018-03-06. These were the 2 updates that failed. An extract of the last two lines logged:-

    "AutomaticUpdatesWuApp    Success    Content Download    Download succeeded."
    "AutomaticUpdates    Success    Content Install    Installation Ready: The following updates are downloaded and ready for installation. To install the updates, an administrator should log on to this computer and Windows will prompt with further instructions:  - Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2952664) - 2018-02 Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4075211)"

    Yes, I can press F8 to enter Advanced Boot Options. and will run the SFC scan shortly. I will provide the results tomorrow.

    Currently, I have removed the HD and popped it into a USB caddy connected to my laptop and I am copying all my PC data files to another USB drive. Of course I do want to repair the build if possible, so as not to lose any programs.

    I did not get installation media (DVDs) when I purchased PC. I believe there is a Unix? system partition on the HD. I also need to locate some media I created since getting the PC that may help. I think that I have created a repair system to USB stick.

    • Edited by Stortman3 Thursday, March 8, 2018 6:26 PM
    Thursday, March 8, 2018 6:16 PM
  • Thanks S.Sengupta and Vera Hu

    When I reboot this Win7 PC and hit F8, then choose Safe Mode or Safe Mode with command Prompt, the system automatically starts the Startup Repair process.

    The Startup Repair process always fails and the reason given is unknown. The system reports that "Windows cannot repair this computer automatically". When I select "View the diagnostic & repair details" the system reports that it "cannot determine the root cause".

    The Startup Repair results window also provides the "View advanced options for system recovery & support". When I select this option, I am required to select my keyboard's country and logon as administrator. Then I am able to view the "System Recovery Options" window which shows that it is using OS: Win7 on (D:) local drive. It offers various "Recovery Tools" including Command Prompt.

    When I choose Command Prompt and enter sfc /scannow the system reports that "There is a system repair pending which requires reboot to complete. Restart windows and run sfc again.

    When I restart, the system enters Startup Repair again which fails.

    I tried to restore again and it failed with details:- system restore failed to extract file D:\Program Files (x86) Norton Internet Security Engine 32/ \ libcef.dll) from the restore point. An unspecified error occurred during system restore (0x80070017).

    Any ideas?

    • Edited by Stortman3 Friday, March 9, 2018 10:33 AM correction
    Friday, March 9, 2018 10:32 AM
  • https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17101/windows-7-system-recovery-options

    1) Find a flash drive that you can format ( > or = 8 GB)

    2) Create a bootable Windows 7 iso:

    3) https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows7

    4) Boot to the BIOS boot menu using the applicable keyboard key:


    5) If the computer is a custom desktop then temporarily modify the BIOS boot order so that the USB hard drive is on top

    6) It may take 5 - 10 minutes for the ISO to load while viewing the Microsoft Windows icon

    7) select language, time, currency, and keyboard or click next

    8) click troubleshoot

    9) Use a camera or smart phone camera to take pictures and post the images into the thread for further troubleshooting steps

    10) type:  bcdedit /enum

    11) type:  bcdedit | find "osdevice"

    12) type:  DISM /image:M:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

    ( View the bcdedit /enum results under boot loader and look for the partition letter.  And look for the partition letter under bcdedit | find "osdevice")  Change the letter M to this drive letter.  For the command there is a space between \ and /

    13) reboot > report the results into the thread

    If the above fails then attempt system restore and startup repair.  If these fail return to command prompt for these commands.  And again please use a camera or smart phone camera to take pictures and post the images into the thread.

    14) type:  sfc /scannow /offbootdir=M:\ /offwindir=M:\windows  (change the drive letter M to the partition drive letter seen in the find osdevice command.

    15) type: chkdsk /f /r M:  (change the drive letter M to the partition drive letter from the osdevice command)

    Commands 14 and 15 may take a while to complete.

    16) If the above commands to fix the problem open command prompt again and use a camera or smart phone camera to take pictures of the commands and results.

    17) type:  C:

    18) type:  dir

    19) type:  D:

    20) type:  dir

    21) type:  X:

    22) type:  diskpart

    23) type:  list disk

    24) type:  list volume

    25) type:  select disk 0

    26) type:  list partition

    27) exit

    28) If at any time you are successful with the above commands then

    a) make a backup image using Macrium:


    b) make a brand new restore point

    Report into the thread after the above steps what happens when you power on the computer:

    computer manufacturer icon, windows icon, rotating dots, error message, error code, sounds, lockscreen /wallpaper, etc.

    Friday, March 9, 2018 11:17 AM
  • Hi,

    At the moment, I do not already have a system repair disk to use. I am trying to find one.

    With regards to creating one using 3) https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows7  This download requires a Windows product key format (xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx) to start the download. At the moment I do not have one. Is there a file I can check that will give me this key?

    When I bought the PC, I was told that I did not need media, as a recovery partition was provided. The "System Recovery Options" window that I have previously  used unsuccessfully, shows that it is using OS: Win7 on (D:) local drive. I have only one HD, my C: drive. So, D: must be this recovery partition.

    Friday, March 9, 2018 4:27 PM


    According to your description, I think your Windows with OEM license, so please contact your PC’s vender to see if they could provide your installation media.

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9:42 AM
  • I had the exact same problem. None of the things on this thread worked. Fortunately I had a Windows backup of all my files. I reinstalled the OS and this time made a Recovery boot disk and I leave this disk in the drive all the time.  I now boot my computer with the DVD in the drive but I still boot off the hard drive.  At the point where the start up used to freeze the computer does a quick check to the DVD then normally starts up. 

    For me it seems the problem started not with a critical update but with an option monthly preview. I don't install option updates anymore and do not allow Windows to auto download and install. 

    This is the one that appears to have caused the problem for me:

    2018-07 Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4338821)

    Another thing to try is just do a hard turn off the computer (hold the on/off button until the computer shuts down) when the start up freezes or you get to a "can't start error window".  Turn on the computer, it should say the computer was not properly turned off and it will give you a choice to start normally. Choose Start Normally and about half the times I did this it actually started and may give you a chance to backup your files before you reinstall the OS.

    I wish Microsoft would fix this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I think they may be trying to get us to "upgrade" to 10 :-(

    Good luck

    Friday, July 20, 2018 12:25 PM
  • I also have this update cycling issue with KB4338821.   I was able to install the other 'critical' updates.   It is annoying.   I also cannot just shut-down because then it tries to install this update again.   (I use Alt-F4 and then chose power-down).  
    Tuesday, July 24, 2018 10:41 PM
  • Same problem with the KB4338821 update on a Win 7 32bit machine.

    I hope the August update will fix this.

    Monday, August 13, 2018 1:52 PM
  • I too have this problem which started with April updates, and tried all the suggestions here, only the “DISM /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions” command worked and I was able to reboot, and windows updates were reverted at start-up.

    But if I let windows updates try install again, the cycle continues.  I have just tried August updates and Microsoft has still not fixed it.

    Saturday, August 18, 2018 5:28 PM
  • I had the problem today I had a critical update, but for my fortune my  same windows 7 repair it, leaving it at a point before the critical update.

    Now is working well, is windows 7 pro 64.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2018 1:58 AM