How to uninstall any Windows update

Here's how to save yourself from a bad Windows update

windows8 uninstall windowsupdate
Credit: Preston Gralla

Every once in a while, you get a bad Windows update, like the one last month that caused problems with some Windows 7 machines. Fear not --- here's how to uninstall a bad one.

How you uninstall varies slightly depending on the version of Windows you have, so I'll show you how to do it in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

On Windows 7 and Windows Vista

If you've got a Windows 7 or Windows Vista machine, click the Start button and choose Programs-->Programs and Features-->View installed updates. You'll see a list of your most recent updates. Click the one you want to remove, click Uninstall, then follow the prompts. That should do the trick.

If that doesn't work, the problem might be that your computer is connected to a corporate network which is managed by Group Policy, and that won't let you uninstall. In that case, you'll need to ask your IT staff to solve the problem.

Sometimes you think the problem was cause by Windows Update, but it might in fact have been caused by another problem on your system. If uninstalling Windows Update doesn't solve the problem, your best bet is to use System Restore. To use it, get to System Restore by typing System Restore into the Window search box, pressing Enter, then clicking System Restore. On the screen that appears, select either "Recommended restore," which is the most recent restore point, or else selecting "Choose a different restore point," then browsing through them and choosing a different one. (Your best bet is to select the recommended one.) From then on, just follow the wizard.

On Windows 8

You uninstall a Windows update on Windows 8 in essentially the same way that you do on Windows 7 or Windows Vista, except that you get to the uninstall screen in a slightly different way. On the Start screen, press the Windows Key + W and in the search box that appears, type in "View installed updates." Click the "View installed updates" link. You'll see a list of your most recent updates. Click the one you want to remove, click Uninstall, then follow the prompts.

As with Windows Vista and Windows 7, if that doesn't do the trick, the problem might be that your computer is connected to a corporate network which is managed by Group Policy, and that won't let you uninstall. In that case, you'll need to ask your IT staff to solve the problem.

If uninstalling the Windows update doesn't solve the problem you're having, there may be another issue on your system. In that case, your best bet is to use System Restore. To use it, when you're on the Start screen, type System Restore, then select "Create a restore point." On the screen that appears, click System Restore. A wizard launches. Click Next, and follow the wizard to go to a previous Restore point.

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