Adding Roles and Features To an Offline Virtual Machine

A few days ago I restarted a virtual machine and was presented with the message.

We couldn’t complete the updates

Undoing changes

Don’t turn off your computer 


Very helpful.

The server just sat there for ages, apparently doing nothing.

After a brief search I came across a post on the Microsoft forums that indicated an update was giving some problems (KB2920189)

One of the suggested actions was to disable secure boot, start the virtual machine, allow the update to install and then re-enable secure boot.

It’s a Windows 2012 R2 Gen2 virtual machine so it had that option.

I turned it off but this didn’t doing anything.

A further post on the forum pointed to a known issue with that update. The fix for that is to install the BitLocker features as the update is looking it. You don’t need to encrypt any drives, just have the feature installed. My specific problem wasn’t exactly described in that article but it wouldn’t hurt to add the feature and find out.

But how to do that if the server won’t even boot?

Well as the title probably already suggests you can do this with a virtual machine when it’s offline.

Shut the virtual machine down

Start server manager and select the “Add roles and features” option


Click through the first couple of pages on the wizard until you get the server selection page.

From here you need the “Select a virtual hard” option at the top of the screen

Then choose the virtual hard disk that has your operating system at the bottom of the screen.


From here it’s exactly the same as method to add a role or feature as normal.



After that i started the machine, the update installed and all was good.

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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17 thoughts on “Adding Roles and Features To an Offline Virtual Machine

  • You just saved my life, we are deploying a new server with VM’s as our customer today and this issue had me fearing we wouldn’t make it and had to do the VM from scratch.

  • Searched for a few hours for a fix without joy. Found yours and now my new VM server is booting and installing updates. You rock.

  • I haven’t been able to get this fix to work.

    I, too, experienced the following error after rebooting from installing Windows Updates:
    “We couldn’t complete the updates
    Undoing changes
    Don’t turn off your computer”

    The machine experiencing the issue is a virtual machine, so I tried to Shut Down (ctrl+D), but the machine would not shut down after a few minutes, so I tried Turn Off (ctrl+S).

    However, although I’m able to select the VHD of this machine in Server Manager, I’m not able to install the BitLocker feature as discussed in this article.

    Instead, I receive an error 0x80073712: The component store has been corrupted, which doesn’t sound promising.

    –Late-breaking update, after 20 minutes of “We couldn’t complete the updates”, the message went away and the machine shut itself down! When it rebooted, I was presented with a login screen

    This unfortunately moots my consideration of the issue.

    In my particular case, then, I did not have to install the BitLocker feature.

    Still, this is a great writeup of a workaround for people facing a stuck 2012 R2 server.

  • Thanks a lot!!! I Thank God you posted this solution because I Was in a real fix and your solution worked flawlesly.

  • Andy, you’re a legend! Thank you so much.
    I had performed the start up with Secure Boot option unticked but it did nothing. Your solution saved me a world of grief.
    Have a fantastic weekend!

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