System: Windows Vista Ultimate
Q: I recently shut down my PC having downloaded some updates. The next time I rebooted it a message came up saying “Configuring Updates Stage 3 of 3 0% Do not turn off your PC”. This stayed on screen for about ten minutes, then the system restarted and the same thing happened, it just repeats the same sequence over and over. How do I break this cycle and get the system booting normally again? Any help would be appreciated.
A: This is a fairly common problem with Vista systems, for some reason the update process gets itself into a loop, fortunately it isn’t too hard to put right. Boot up the machine from your Vista install DVD, enter the language options and on the following screen select Repair your computer. Choose your Windows installation – in most cases there’s only one – you’ll then be presented with a menu of repair options. Choose Command prompt down at the bottom of the list. When the command window opens, navigate to your hard disk by entering C: (or whatever letter it is), then enter cd\windows\winsxs to switch to the winsxs folder. You now need to delete the pending.xml file by entering the command del pending.xml. Once you’ve done this reboot the PC from the hard drive and things should be back to normal.
If you don’t have a Vista DVD, because your system was preinstalled, you should be able to do the same thing from Safe Mode. Press F8 as Windows starts up and choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the Advanced Boot Options menu, then follow the instructions above. Should you have trouble getting into safe mode, wait until the Configuring Updates screen appears then hold down the power button for a few seconds to turn off the PC. The next time you boot Windows will complain that it wasn’t shut down normally and will give you the option of starting in Safe Mode.
Originally featured in PCU114