Uninstalling ‘uninstallable’ Windows Updates

Windows Update[German]Some Windows updates are installed as permanent and doesn’t offer an uninstall option. This blog post shows how to force uninstalling such update packages (works from Windows 7 up to Windows 10).


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The problem is …

If an update causes issues, it’s possible to open control panel, go to Programs and Features and select Installed updates. All installed updates are listed.

Installed updates

Selecting an update shows an Uninstall button (see screenshot above). If an update causes issues, it’s possible to uninstall it and test, whether the issues are solved of not. But for some update packages, an Uninstall button isn’t available. I was becoming aware of this after installing servicing stack update KB3177467 (from October 11, 2016). Some users are reporting issues. Investigating the update mentioned indicates, that there is no Uninstall button for the patch entry in Installed updates list (see screenshot below).

Update not uninstallable

Microsoft has published a document explaining, in which cases a patch isn’t uninstallable. The options available are “try to rollback the system in a state before installing the update using either system restore or a system backup”. But what to do, if that options are not available?


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Why and how Microsoft makes updates uninstallable?

Some updates are essentials for Windows and are integrated deeply into the system. Servicing Stack updates are mandatory to install further updates – also installer updates are uninstallable. Microsoft declares such updates as “permanent” within the .msu file, while ordinary update packages are quoted as “removable”. Sometime a KB article mentions that the update is uninstallable (see).

Controlling whether an update is permanent or removable is done within .mum files (mum stands for Microsoft Update Manifest) shipped whithin a .msu package. A .mum may be found after installing an update with the folger C:\Windows\servicing\Packages\.

Update .mum file

.mum files are simple XML files containing information about the update (KB numer, language requirements, restart after installation required and so on – see the screenshot below).

The XML attribute permanency=”permanent” quotes an update as not uninstallable, while a missing attribute or an XML attribut value permanency=”removable” quotes an update as uninstallable. Only updates with a missing or permanency=”removable” attribute are uninstallable via control panel or via dism (Windows 8 and above).

I found this information here (too short) and within a MS-Answers forum thread (post from PhilipdayWF).

Stop: Uninstalling updates quoted as “permanent” bears the risk, that further updates can’t be installed due to serious errors like STATUS_SXS_COMPONENT_STORE_CORRUPT – see comments from magicandre1981 here and here. Hints to analyze Update errors based on Servicing Corruption may be found within the Technet post Advanced guidelines for diagnosing and fixing servicing corruption. Analyzing update errors is covered here. Some information about the structure of .msu and .cab files may be found here.

How to mark an update package as ‘uninstallable’?

After I’ve warned about the risk of uninstalling uninstallable updates (create a restore point or an image backup before trying the steps given below) it’s time to use the know how, discussed above. We need to open the update`s .mum file and change the XML attribute permanency=”permanent” to “removable”. This can be done using Windows editor notepad.exe.

There is only one problem: Only TrustedInstaller has full access to .mum files. The web site linked above indicates that the access rights needs to be altered for the .mum file in order to edit its content. But this is complex (it can be done via Security tab of the file’s properties) and under Windows 7 I was ending assigning the ownership of a .mum file to group Users. Overall I don’t like to alter system files access rights.

A solution to avoid the access right conflict is to run Windows editor notepad.exe with TrustedInstallers credentials.

1. Go to website sodrum.org and download the portable freeware PowerRun, unpack the ZIP archive to a local folder.

PowerRun

2. Launch PowerRun (Smartscreen filter creates a warning, that the tool is unknown, so you need to confirm and also confirm UAC), select notepad.exe, and click the context menu command Run file.

3. Select in notepad’s window File – Open and set the file filter to All files (*.*).

Mum-Datei editieren

4. Navigate in the open dialog box symbol bar to folder C:\Windows\servicing\Packages.

5. Enter the search expression into the search box (for instance KB3177467*.mum), to filter the relevant files.

6. Select the first .mum file found and click the Open button to load the .mum file.

mum-Datei ändern

7. Seach the entry permanency=”permanent” and change it to permanency=”removable”

8. Store the altered .mum file – this should be possible, because Windows editor runs with TrustedInstaller privileges.

9. Repeat the steps give above for all .mum files associated with the update package (the screenshots given above for Windows 7 Servicing Stack update KB3177467 shows 3 .mum files).

After altering all .mum files, you can try to uninstall the package using control panel. Go to Programs and Features and select Installed updates. Select the update package, and now an Uninstall button should be available. Uninstall the package and test, whether the issues are gone. Uninstalling also should be possible within an administrative console window using the following command:

wusa /uninstall /kb:3177467 /quiet /norestart

where 3177467 stands for the KB number of the update (see here and here). This approach should work in all Windows versions from Windows 7 up to Windows 10. Afterward it’s possible to check the system for damaged system files using sfc /scannow (Windows 7) within an administrative command prompt window. From Windows 8 and up use the article Check and repair Windows system files and component store.

Warning: Use the steps given above as a “last shot” (if system restore isn’t available) at your own risk. In best case you can fix an issue caused by the faulty update. In worst case you ruins your Windows installation, because without the uninstalled update further updates can’t be installed due to an STATUS_SXS_COMPONENT_STORE_CORRUPT error.

Similar articles
Windows 7/8.1: Preview Quality Rollups KB3192403/KB3192404
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Windows 10: Analyze upgrade errors
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Windows 10: Open command prompt window as administrator
Check and repair Windows system files and component store


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16 Responses to Uninstalling ‘uninstallable’ Windows Updates

  1. Nika says:

    Were you able to successfully uninstall KB3177467 using this method? My entire company is running into windows update error 0x80072EFD after this update.

    The only tool I found that supposedly fixes windows update issues fixes any issues except this one so far.

    • guenni says:

      I’ve tested it within a virtual machine with a patched Windows 7 SP1. Uninstall went flawless – and sfc /scannow didn’t come up with any error.

      I’ve covered error 0x80072EFD within my German blog in two posts about Windows 10 – both issues are dealing with “no internet for apps and store” – and my suggestion was to check proxy settings.

      See also:

      MS Answers forum thread

      German blog post for Windows Server 2008 R2

  2. Cimmay Rivard says:

    The instructions worked right, thank you. Windows 7 is running stable once again and the update service was disabled after removing about 100 updates up to the point where it was working fine. Had a lot of trouble ever since Windows updates were permitted a few months ago.

  3. abdulmutalipp rakhman iii says:

    Doesn’t work with Windows 10 Media Feature Pack for Windows 10 N KB3133719.
    Says it’s permanent in wuse and dism returns error …0825 (same – update is permanent and cannot be removed).
    Damn Bill Gate$!

  4. abdulmutalipp rakhman iii says:

    Oops, sorry, it works! Thank you so much man! You have absolutely NO idea how much time I spent trying to uninstall this crap! Literally 4 full days & nights: I tried everything (have a look – https://www.tenforums.com/drivers-hardware/72798-media-transfer-protocol-device-mtp-device-support-windows-10-n.html). Previously I did forget to change 1 MUM file. I replaced string permanence=permanentUntilReset with permanence=removable in all files “Microsoft-Windows-MediaFeaturePack * .mum”. The “main” package wrapper file (Microsoft-Windows-MediaFeaturePack-OOB-Package_Wrapper~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~10.0.14393.0.mum) didn’t want to uninstall and returned error. However command:
    dism /online /remove-package /packagepath:”C:\Windows\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-MediaFeaturePack-OOB-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~10.0.14393.0.mum”
    worked like a charm, at the end command prompt asked for restart & viola – package removed. Next thing I’m going to try is edit MUM so it didn’t remove Media Transfer Protocol support. Thanks again, that was huge.

    Any convenient way to remove folders left inside C:\Windows\WinSxS after uninstallation (they are basically folders found inside KB’s CAB file)?

    I believe system won’t report correct disk usage (free/used) if I just purge unused folders inside WinSxS.

    P.S. Thanks to another guy from http://windows-update-checker.com/FAQ/How%20to%20uninstall%20permanent%20updates.htm for the ingight it might be possible to remove permanent Windows Update package.

    • Rob says:

      Hello, I am having the same issue where it says It’s needed and can not be uninstalled. Any advice would be great, I’ve been working to fix this issue for months now.

      Thanks

  5. abdulmutalipp rakhman iii says:

    OK here’s how to remove traces of update from WinSxS (if you don’t do that after uninstalling permanent update you won’t gain any disk space back!).
    First command:
    dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup

    Check out results. Second command:
    dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup

    May Allah be with you closer than your pants!

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  7. abdulmutalipp rakhman iii says:

    Sorry, I found typo over there! The right command for uninstallation after editing MUMs is:
    WUSA /UNINSTALL /KB:3133719
    Command DISM won’t work.

  8. Hunter says:

    Using PowerRun v1.1, running notepad.exe, opening any .mum files gets gibberish characters and not the above xml example. Am I missing a step, or have things changed since 2016?

  9. z says:

    Shit that actually works! Thanks man!

  10. Adam says:

    Hoping you’ll still get to read this… your advice worked perfectly on one recent update, but not on another security update that, despite adding a “permanence” tag to all it’s affiliated 400 .mum files, won’t budge! I’m not an expert at all but would really like to get this done, since the update is giving me literal hell.

    • guenni says:

      Im read similar comments, but currently I haven’t a clue what’s prevent uninstalling – nor I have the time to investigate ist. Windows as a surprise has thrown me over the cliff ;-).

      • Adam says:

        Thank you. I bet you’ll find great company under that cliff, with the rest of the thinking public…

  11. Ronaldo says:

    Hello, i just want to thank you. A recent update come out and it messed up my mouse somehow and made my PC a bit slow but after following this steps, everything is back how it should be. Again thank you very much

  12. Jack Morgan says:

    in the few hundred mum files, all I see is this:

    In searching every file, I do not find the term “permanence” or “permanent” or even a partial term “perm”

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