"Unsticking" Windows Updates

A Message from Charles:

Several of our customers have mentioned seeing a message like this the last couple of days: “Stage 3 of 3 Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer.”

If this or any other Windows Update seems to be “stuck” on the same screen for more than 15 minutes, first try pressing CTRL-ALT-DELETE. That may be enough to get you into Windows. If that does not do anything and you have seen NO CHANGE in your screen in the last fifteen minutes and no sign of activity, you are probably safe to hold the power button in on the PC until it powers off. Then power it back on and, hopefully, you will go straight to a login.

I have not seen the issue this time with Windows 8, only Windows 7.

This is a pretty rare occurrence, which makes dealing with it a little scary, especially when Microsoft clearly says, “Do not turn off your computer.” Modern Windows operating systems are more forgiving than Vista and previous Windows operating systems. However, it is possible that turning off your computer while Windows is actually performing system file maintenance can corrupt your installation and require some type of recovery.

The hanging could be caused by various issues, like a bad hard drive sector or a virus. In this case, I believe it may be a .NET 4.5.2 update, but honestly, I don't have time to back that up with much evidence. It does seem, however, that the .NET update is common to the systems that are hanging, and .NET 4.5.2 wants to initially install by itself and not during other Windows Updates. 

Please do not be hasty to power off your computer with the power button, especially during any kind of software maintenance or update. There is always a risk of corruption. There is also a risk of users getting a little hot under the collar when they cannot do any work on their computers first thing in the morning. 

Warning! This does not apply to a Windows Server Operating system. NEVER, EVER power off a server with the power button, unless you are experienced and have a backup that you are prepared to restore, because you may well have to use it.

Try CTRL-ALT-DEL first. And as always, please call our office if you have any questions.