Deleting/Uninstalling a Windows Update

September 22, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you have ever found that your Windows PC or laptop has suddenly started behaving differently, or some settings have altered or you can’t get a particular piece of software to run correctly, this might be down to a change that has been installed via Windows Update.

In most cases these changes are intended to improve the Windows user experience, although in a small number of situations the Windows Update might screw things up for you. In this situation you will need to know how to remove the update in order to revert back to how things were before – although this is by no means a guaranteed fix.

However deleting or uninstalling a Windows Update is the only way to go here if you don’t have a full system backup routine in place as a Windows restore may not rollback correctly, depending on the nature of the update.

Deleting/Uninstalling a Windows Update

How to Uninstall an Update in Windows

Only updates that don’t affect system files can be uninstalled and this is done in one of two ways.

The first is to uninstall the update via the Windows Update console. Do this by displaying the Windows Update History – open Start > Control Panel and change the View by option from Category to Large icons then open Windows Update > View Update History.

Next, click on the Installed Updates link to see a list of updates that can be removed from your computer. Removal is simply a case of selecting an update and clicking Uninstall or right-clicking the update and selecting Uninstall in the context menu.

Note that you may have to restart your computer for the item to be uninstalled.

Removing Updates via Command Line

You might also uninstall a Windows Update via the Windows command line. This is a slightly more advanced method which might not suit all users, but is probably quicker. You will need to know the ID number of the update you are removing, however.

This method – which will only work in Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 – requires administrator privileges. Begin by opening Start and typing cmd. In the results, right-click cmd.exe and select Run as administrator, and the black command prompt box will open.

All you need to do then is type:

wusa /uninstall /kb:{update ID}

Press Enter to confirm the instruction to continue. The update ID number is the identifier that needs inputting to complete the command. For instance, to remove update KB980809 you would enter:

wusa /uninstall /kb: 980809

When you tap the Enter key, the standard Windows uninstaller will appear to run through the process of removing the update. Note that a restart may be necessary.

Once you’re all done, remember to change your Windows Update settings so that the update isn’t downloaded again!

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