I have a Windows 7 computer stuck in the dead stage of “Configuring Windows Update” screen the other day for quite a while without getting any chance moving forward. First, it was stuck at 100% complete for over an hour. Then, it was stuck at 35% after I shut it down and tried to boot again.
I tried to boot to Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Network, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt. They all ended up the same result, stuck in the Configuring Windows updates screen.
I ended up having to boot from a bootable WinPE USB drive and run the following command to revert a pending update action on Windows.
dism.exe /image:c:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions
You may check to find the drive letter that hosts the Windows 7 system. It’s located at C: most of the time but it could also be placed at D: sometime.
Also, check out the post that shows you How To Build A Windows 10-Based WinPE USB Bootable Drive.
After rebooting the computer, Windows will try to revert the changes it made earlier. It may take a bit time to complete the process but it will eventually lead you back to the login screen.
You may also try to delete the following file before attempting the DISM reverting approach. I couldn’t locate this file in my case but you may be able to find it on your computer.
C:\Windows\WinSXS\pending.xml or reboot.xml
Either way, it should be able to bring back the login screen for you. Once you log in and settled, I recommend you run Windows Update again to keep your Windows computer up-to-date.
[Update on April 18, 2019]
If you have time, you may just leave it running. It may look like stuck but they will finally go through and make to the login screen.
Updates always worry me. I’ve felt a little better about them in Win10, but still.
I remember one update that looked like it had stalled but when I searched for some help it turned out that it could sit at the same ‘percentage complete’ for hours without being stuck. Sure enough it eventually completed.
I have always wished Microsoft had invested a little more effort into making it much clearer when something was or wasn’t happening with updates.
Also faced some problems like these on Windows 7. But, Windows 10 has yet to give me trouble with updates.
Thank you Kent. Between this and your WinPE Bootable USB info you have saved my life…!
Thank you pal
Thanks a lot. This actually worked (lots of other suggestions didn’t).
Guys, just chill and give it time. After approx. 30 min, it changed to “Cleaning up. Do not turn off your computer”… and 2 minutes later… all is good.
Thank you Ferret, yes after 30 mins, it went to cleaning up and it went good again.
My Win7 machine was stuck at 35% complete, even after hours in safe mode. I ran winpe and deleted pending.xml with no success. Then I ran the dism command which appeared to run ok after I pointed it to the D: drive instead of C: (but gave a warning about possible size of the scratch drive) When I rebooted, windows said “Cleaning Up – Do not turn off…” for several minutes. Then… SUCCESS! Thank you for the great info!