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  • Getting out of a no-boot situation after installing Windows updates

    Posted on February 11th, 2018 at 05:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    @MrBrian has posted a very important addition to the AskWoody Knowledge Base

    AKB 2000009: Getting out of a no-boot situation after installing Windows updates

    It’s a step-by-step, real world guide to using the Windows Recovery Environment. Might just save your tail one day.

    If that helped, take a second to support AskWoody on Patreon

    Home Forums Getting out of a no-boot situation after installing Windows updates

    This topic contains 16 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Cascadian 1 week, 1 day ago.

    • Author
      Posts
    • #166579 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      @mrbrian has posted a very important addition to the AskWoody Knowledge Base AKB 2000009: Getting out of a no-boot situation after installing Windows
      [See the full post at: Getting out of a no-boot situation after installing Windows updates]

      11 users thanked author for this post.
    • #166581 Reply

      WildBill
      AskWoody Lounger

      I saw this earlier; definitely good need-to-know information. As you said, Woody: “Might just save your tail one day.”

      Wild Bill Rides Again...

    • #166585 Reply

      AJNorth
      AskWoody Lounger

      The parachute one is grateful and comforted to have — and hopes is never needed… .

    • #166648 Reply

      anonymous

      Thanks Mr. Brian! & Woody, this is is going in a help file. Are you going to have Windows 10 rescue chapter in your book?

      • #166736 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        I’ll have some rescue info in the next edition of Win10 All-In-One, but it isn’t as to-the-point as MrBrian’s. Also, I don’t cover earlier versions of Windows in that book.

    • #166670 Reply

      anonymous

      Fortunately, if you are a follower of this site, you shouldn’t have this kind of situation if you follow the ms-defcon to heart.

      • #166682 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody Lounger

        Fortunately, if you are a follower of this site, you shouldn’t have this kind of situation if you follow the ms-defcon to heart.

        Generally, but there are always exceptions.  I allowed the January rollup to install after Woody had given the OK (well, okay-ish, anyway, MS-DEFCON 3), and it still managed to render my Windows 8.1 unusable (through no fault of Woody’s).  These kinds of things are always possible with the broad variety of hardware, software, etc., that is out there.

        In my case, it was because that rollup replaces uxinit.dll and uxtheme.dll with newer versions.  These are two of the files that the various custom theme patchers modify, and I had used one of those to enable my MS-not-approved theme.  When I tried to boot the next time, Windows refused to load my theme… so it just sat there with a black screen instead, with only the mouse pointer visible.

        Windows 7 would simply have loaded the MS-approved Classic theme.  It seems pretty logical to me… if the theme specified is refused because Microsoft, try one that is.  You know the names of all of them, since they’re part of Windows, MS!

        Now, it’s not precisely true to say that my PC was rendered unbootable (and I don’t mean because I could have chosen Linux Mint at the GRUB menu)… it did finish booting.  It just didn’t think that I needed to actually see anything!

        Fortunately, I am well-accustomed to Windows’ relative fragility, so order was soon restored and a peace fell across the land.  The point is that weird stuff can always happen, so being able to perform some Windows first aid is always a plus.  Having a backup in case that also fails is also important.  I am pretty adamant about backups; I have one of my PCs acting as a NAS to facilitate backups by any other PC I own, with about 12 TB of storage for that purpose alone.

        In my case, the dism fix to revert pending operations didn’t work, and neither did using dism to uninstall the package by name.  After trying both in successive boots, the list of installed packages still showed the rollup as pending after several shutdowns, so I tried another trick… deleting C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml (yes, it’s listed for Windows 7, but most of what works for one works for them all, so I gave it a shot).  That gave me a bluescreen during all subsequent boot attempts, including into safe mode… not sure which bugcheck, as it flashed the sad face on the screen too quickly to let me read the actual parameters (which I had configured it to show, hoping to get back the classic informative bluescreen rather than the patronizing, silly sad-face one).

        I ended up restoring from backup, as it’s easier than continuing to troubleshoot once the main tools fail.  I’m not really sure why, but even swapping aero.msstyles (MS approved) in where my custom theme had been didn’t work, and while sometimes I appreciate a puzzle, this was not one of those times.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #166679 Reply

      Cascadian
      AskWoody Lounger

      Fortunately, if you are a follower of this site, you shouldn’t have this kind of situation if you follow the ms-defcon to heart.

      True. But I came here when I needed help. Thanks CT. And I have directed others to come here. Having clear directions to help first time visitors is a very valuable service. Kudos to MrBrian for the writeup, and Woody for hosting this AskWoodyKnowledgeBase, and this article.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #166680 Reply

      Kirsty
      AskWoody MVP

      A reminder, that the list of articles in the AskWoody Knowledge Base can be found in:
      Knowledge Base Listing

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #166685 Reply

      MrBrian
      AskWoody MVP

      In my case, the dism fix to revert pending operations didn’t work, and neither did using dism to uninstall the package by name. After trying both in successive boots, the list of installed packages still showed the rollup as pending after several shutdowns, so I tried another trick… deleting C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml

      The Windows Servicing Guy stated that deleting file pending.xml should be done only as “an absolute last resort.”

      • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  MrBrian.
      • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  MrBrian.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #166700 Reply

      anonymous

      Well, in my opinion when there is MSDEFCON-3 it’s like playing a roulette. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #166721 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody Lounger

      In my case, the dism fix to revert pending operations didn’t work, and neither did using dism to uninstall the package by name. After trying both in successive boots, the list of installed packages still showed the rollup as pending after several shutdowns, so I tried another trick… deleting C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml

      The Windows Servicing Guy stated that deleting file pending.xml should be done only as “an absolute last resort.”

      It was… last thing I tried before restoring from backup.

      I guess that makes restoring from backup the actual absolute last resort, but… well, you know what I mean.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #166734 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody Lounger

      The Windows Servicing Guy stated that deleting file pending.xml should be done only as “an absolute last resort.”

      And it was, short of restoring from backup, which I did after the deletion failed.

      Having the backup there means I’m never terrified I am going to lose any of my data or my carefully-crafted Windows (or Linux) setup if I try a Hail Mary kind of solution and it fails… all I lose is time (and by that point, I’d already exhausted the relatively quick options.  Using DISM may seem to some arcane and not really “relatively quick,” but that’s just a matter of familiarity).  When that deletion failed, the restore became the next fastest option.

      If there was anything important I’d done to the drive I am about to fix since the previous backup, I’d first preserve it by whatever means was appropriate (before trying anything else).  When things are not working for unknown reasons, you don’t really know what corrective action you take may inadvertently lead to loss of data, so at least get yourself to a point where the worst-case is that you’re right back where you started.  I’ve backed up a lot of malfunctioning Windows installations for that reason (always being sure to note in the backup comments exactly what I knew about the malfunction so far, so as not to someday later try to restore that faulty backup, thinking it was a good one).  Fortunately, I have seldom had to use the backups of faulty Windows (or Linux) installations, but the peace of mind from having it means I can try solutions I would not be bold enough to attempt if data loss was a possibility.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #166737 Reply

      Jan K.
      AskWoody Lounger

      Unless Woody is running on the walls and yelling about a zero-day, hyper-critical, absolutely-must-have-now patch/update, I simply ignore Windows update… at least until Ms-Defcon 4.

      And even then, I’m really not in any hurry…

      Thanks for the (as always!) well written guide, Mr. Brian!

      I haven’t experienced a no-boot scenario since GWX? Remember earlier ones and long ago decided, that I don’t have the patience of going through Windows restore/repair steps…

      Much easier to power off, insert my Acronis cd boot disc, boot up, pick last good system install from my internal backup disc, restore it, remove boot cd, restart and – Voila!

      Takes less than 10 minutes…

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #166794 Reply

      ruthmedia
      AskWoody Lounger

      We now have 2 laptops which won’t book since a Microsoft 10 update this weekend.

      Neither of them are particularly new but were working ok before this nightmare.

      On Friday night (09-02-18) at bedtime shutdown my Sony Viao laptop (model SVF1521Q1EB) bought 2014 said it was updating and shutting down.  On the following morning it refused to accept my password – or the 2 other logins – picture and Microsoft password.

      Then the blue screen and constant rebooting When options appeared none of them worked and it was a Microsoft Boot Stop error.  I had 2 hours with Microsoft Support trying various options and also downloaded a file on a USB from my Surface computer.  Nothing worked and it’s been escalated to a more senior tech and another call scheduled for 13-02-18 am

      Meanwhile my husband’s ASUS has also stopped booting   He refused update and it said it was restoring.  Won’t start Windows and now just displays a screen Aptio Setup Utility with tabs and info

      Any assistance very gratefully received

      Ruth

      • #166808 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        We now have 2 laptops which won’t book since a Microsoft 10 update this weekend.

        We have just published instructions for getting out of a no-boot situation.
        Please see if you can use these at AKB2000009.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #166928 Reply

      Cascadian
      AskWoody Lounger

      Well, in my opinion when there is MSDEFCON-3 it’s like playing a roulette. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

      That is why MSDefcon3 is defined as: Patch reliability is unclear, but widespread attacks make patching prudent. Go ahead and patch, but watch out for potential problems.

      Even level4 is no assurance of success. That is for the rarest of ratings Level5. And the reason to have good backups and system images. Just like woody specifically forewarned us all this month.

      1 user thanked author for this post.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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