How To Cancel Pending Windows 7 Updates? The key is pending.

The shutdown button has the windows update symbol meaning that there are updates that were selected to be installed which were download and will be installed upon shutdown.

The only thing is that my machine will no longer boot if I let it install those updates! They are incompatible with a driver needed in the system and I did not found out until too late. The system admin used a recovery disk to get back to the previous restore point, only the updates are now pending, so I need to cancel those before the machine shutdowns next.

4 Answers 4


You can edit configuration from the group policy editor.

Start -> Run
Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Update /Donot Display "Install updates and shutdown" option

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1) Go into the Windows Updates configuration and disable automatic updates. I don't recommend leaving it set this way, this is only a temporary fix, the better solution is #2

Control Panel (icon view) > Windows Update > Change Settings

2) Open Windows Updates and de-select the updates you don't want installed, then right click on them and select "hide", you can unhide them later when you get things sorted out.

Control Panel (icon view) > Windows Update

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  • 1
    Unfortunately this did not work since the problematic update was no longer on the list of available updates.
    – Itai
    Nov 15, 2011 at 15:06
  • You said "pending updates" if it is pending it will show up in the list.
    – Moab
    Nov 15, 2011 at 15:36
  • 1
    Guess I'm missing the right word for pending installation vs pending acceptance, sorry.
    – Itai
    Nov 15, 2011 at 16:41

If you mean "pending reboot," then the file replacements have already been made by the Windows update agent and are awaiting system reboot (or they may have already been replaced, and are just awaiting reboot to be loaded).

If it's the former case, you will need to tell the system there is no restart pending and clear the pending file replacements by setting the following registry keys:

Change value to: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Updates\ reg_dword:"UpdateExeVolatile" = 0x00000000
Delete: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\PendingFileRenameOperations

Then you should perform the following to proactively remove the downloaded and cached updates from being accessible by the Windows update agent:

net stop wuauserv
rmdir /s /q "%systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution"
net start wuauserv

Also check the following registry key and clear it:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Component Based Servicing\RebootPending

If it's the latter case, you will have to replace drivers with a working copy using the Windows RE (recovery environment).


  • Not worked for me - I think updates were run before. But net stop wuauserv was enough - just run it before any updates will start
    – liquide
    Dec 8, 2017 at 11:03

You can remove the file C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml. After booting the system back up, I recommend you run Windows Update again.

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