Windows Update KB3033929 Update Loop

Windows Update KB3033929 is causing some issues on some computers.

Overview

So Windows Update KB3033929 is being a pain yet again. This is another attempt by Microsoft to issue an update that was already issued and rolled back with numerous problems before. This update is not essential and does not have to be installed. Basically what is does is add “code signing” functions that improve the ability of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 systems to validate the integrity and authenticity of programs running on top of the operating system. That’s good for security reason, but not essential if it’s causing issues.

The Problem

The problem is that a lot of people are getting stuck in an update loop. I’ve seen this one myself. Windows installed the update fine and then reboots the computer. During the “Configuring Updates” phase after restart the update fails and reverts changes. This is an never ending loop. You shutdown and install the update, then restart and it’s rolled back.

A Solution

From the discussions I’ve seen, there is a solution, so long as you are suffering from the same root cause as most of us. The problem is generally popping up on dual boot configurations, i.e those who are running multiple operating systems on one computer and not using the Windows bootloader. For most people this means you are running as OS like Linux and using a bootloader like Grub to select your OS on startup. Windows evidently doesn’t like to be chain loaded from an alternate bootloader during this update.

The solution can be very simple or it can be a total pain depending on how your system is configured. I have my Windows 7 install on an SSD and my Kubuntu install on a separate platter drive. The Windows bootloader is on the SSD with Windows. The Grub bootloader is on the platter drive with Kubuntu and that drive is set to load first in the computer BIOS. Since they are on separate drives the problem is an easy one to fix. I just had to open up the tower and unplug the SATA cable from the platter drive. The BIOS can then no longer see the drive during startup and skips directly to the SSD and the default Windows bootloader. Grub has effectively been removed from the equation.

So to summarize:

1) Shutdown the computer and unplug the drive that has your alternate bootloader on it.
2) Reboot directly into Windows and install the KB3033929 update.
3) Reboot again to configure the update.
4) Once everything is installed and operating correctly shutdown the PC and reconnect the drive with the alternate bootloader.
5) Everything should be back to normal on your next reboot.

Now if you have Windows and an alternate OS on separate partitions on a single drive, there is a very good chance that you have the alternate bootloader installed on the primary drive where Windows also resides. That means you can’t just pull the plug on the drive to fix this. Instead, you’ll have to run a startup repair on Windows, which will basically kill the alternate bootloader and restore the Windows bootloader as the default.

These steps are going to vary depending on what version of Windows you are using and what alternate bootloader you are using. I’m going to give you info based on Windows 7 and Grub since those are the ones I’m working with and probably the most widely used configuration that is having this problem. Keep in mind that these steps are based on information I’ve collected from across the web. I did not have to perform this operation myself. All my linux installs are on separate partitions.

To start the procedure you’ll need to insert your Windows install media, in my case Windows 7. Follow the prompts until you get to choose your language and then select the repair option. Use the Command Prompt option and type the following:

Bootrec.exe /FixBoot  and press Enter

Then type:

Bootrec.exe /FixMbr and press Enter

Upon reboot you should go straight into Windows because Grub is no longer in the equation. Install the problematic update and get this up and running correctly again. All that’s left to do is get your bootloader back. (If this did not work for you there is an alternate method at the end of this article.)

To do this you need to boot your computer into a live environment. This means you boot up from the Kubuntu (in my case) installation media and choose to “try” the OS. This brings you into a live version of the OS running from the installation disc.

Next, you’ll need to figure out what partition your OS is installed on if you don’t already know. In the *buntu case you can open up the Gparted utility to find it. You are looking for the  root ( / ) partition. When you locate it see which partition it’s on. Let’s assume this one is on sda1.

Now you need to mount that partition. Open a terminal and type:

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

Press Enter and this will mount the appropriate drive.

Next you need to reinstall grub to the proper partition with the following command:

sudo grub-install /dev/sda –root-directory=/mnt

Press Enter and Grub will be installed to the drive.

Reboot the computer and don’t for get to remove the installation media. You should have a Grub bootloader now but it will only show the linux installation. To fix this boot to the linux desktop, open a terminal and run this command:

sudo update-grub

Press Enter and the grub configuration will pick up all available OSs on the machine. Reboot and you should now have Grub functioning and your Windows install as a bootable option.

Conclusion

You should hopefully have everything up and working now. For those of you that had to use the later method I’ll  include some sources for additional information should you need to do any other configuration to get your machine tweaked to work best for you.

How to repair, adapt or remove the Grub boot loader: 
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/grub

Alternate method of removing Grub since the method in the link above doesn’t always work completely:
http://lukeaddison.com/removing-linux-grub-restoring-windows-7-boot-gui/

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Comments

  1. Reply

    thanks for this but it seems that the uninstalling grub option is a royal p.i.t.a. I’m not going to bother installing this update – have switched windows to manual updating and make sure that the kb3033929 update is box is always unchecked.

    • Felipe
    • June 9, 2015
    Reply

    Hi,

    I found out that it is possible to do the following:

    1. Apply the update
    2. when rebooting, press F8. I have a dell wiht grub and the way it worked for me it was by sellecting windows, then ENTER and then I press F8 and I go to the advanced boot options
    3. I select start windows normally
    4. The update went through

    I did not have to tweak the system. I hope this helps.

    • Klm
    • January 16, 2016
    Reply

    Did not work for me keeps
    Eros can’t reboot updates

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