• January W7 updates hang

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    Now that Woody has put us at DEFCON 4, I just downloaded four updates and hit the Restart button to install them.  From memory, the updates were:

    MS Essentials Update

    .NET update

    Malicious software check

    Either KB4480970 or KB4480960; I think it was -0970, but I can’t swear to it.

    The machine rebooted and has been hanging at “Preparing to configure Windows; Please do not turn off your computer” for almost an hour.

    Not sure if this issue is unique to this machine or may occur for others.  I’m thinking I may need to do a hard reboot, enter Safe Mode, and try to do a System Restore.  Other/better ideas will be welcome and much appreciated.



    Group 7-L (W7, heading toward Linux)
    W7 Pro x64 SP1
    Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon 64-bit
    Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce 32-bit

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    • #319698

      The problem somehow resolved itself.  After spending a full hour in “amnesia mode,” the computer suddenly went into Windows normally of its own free will and accord.

      I have no idea why it lost its mind for so long, but if anyone else has a similar problem, I hope that this will give them encouragement to hang in there for a while longer to see if the problem sorts itself out.

      Group 7-L (W7, heading toward Linux)
      W7 Pro x64 SP1
      Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon 64-bit
      Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce 32-bit

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #319725

      Hi HH33. Last month, the December 2018 cumulative rollup, my own Windows7 took more than 45 minutes less than 1¼ hour, I left it unattended and looked in at those times. From other posts here in the lounge it seemed patience was virtuous. Thanks for the notice that this may happen again. Time will tell if it becomes a recurring event, or a hump to get over once and be smoother after.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #320009

        Same anonymous as #post-319725, self replying to report the anecdote of test group population (1). Short version, the delay did not repeat for me. Long version follows.

        Did my Group A update earlier today before reading the good advice now posted by others. So I did install KB4480970-January Quality Rollup and KB4481480-January .NET Rollup on the same request. (I stopped accepting MSRT after October 2018) The download and install required a little more than 30 minutes to receive only about 90MB of the scheduled 308MB. This is working properly and does not indicate a poor transfer rate nor an incomplete update. The packages were received in chunks with long delays between. I believe these delays represent dirty work on the Windows Update server side of the exchange, and “take a number” queuing of my transfers with other simultaneous users around the planet, or at least my part of it. There are many possible reasons for a variance in the size of the update based on my local needs. For example, I still have not installed .NET 4.7.2 so will not receive that portion of its rollup when offered. The same is true for parts and pieces of the Quality Rollup as well. It is these missing parts and pieces that may explain why my experience is different than HH33’s.

        From the point that I was asked to restart until the log in screen was displayed for my local accounts, less than five minutes passed. All the expected displays were observed along the way with only small hesitations in the percent completed count up.

        It is possible that I experienced the same or related delay with the December packages that HH33 found with the January updates, and so the hump was passed for me. Maybe the two conditions shared nothing in common beyond a similar loss of time. If you are sitting with your machine during the restart hangup use the solution described by @gonetoplaid in #post-319986. That would have saved me time last month.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #319986

      Hi everyone,

      Whenever Windows appears to hang after installing updates and after rebooting to complete the installations of the updates (absolutely nothing appears to be progressing after 5 minutes), type Ctrl-Alt-Delete to force Windows to start processing the next update which is to be installed. This usually works (MS says that this is supposed to work). If this doesn’t work, then…

      1. Verify that your computer’s screen has been showing no progress for five minutes in terms of the % of completion for Configuring Your Computer.
      2. Verify that your computer’s hard disk activity light is only briefly blinking only once every second (indicates a hung state, in terms of Windows being able to start processing the next update which is to be installed).
      3. After verifying 1 and 2, press the reset button on your computer to force a warm reboot.
      4. Upon rebooting, Windows will then continue to process and install the next update in the queue of updates which you are trying to install. **

      This hanging issue has occurred on at least a few occasions in the past, when users have tried to install all updates which were automatically selected in Windows Update. The Ctrl-Alt-Delete solution is the preferred solution to try. Then try the warm reboot solution.

      NOTE: The above issues generally can be avoided by NOT installing all updates at once. I recommend installing the Rollup and rebooting. Then install any .NET updates and reboot if requested. Then install MS Essentials updates and reboot if requested. Then install the malicious software check tool.

      ** If you had to perform my steps 1-4 as a last resort to get your queued updates installed, then do the following after your updates were successfully installed:

      1. Wait 10 minutes after you see your Windows desktop. This time delay is to make sure that Windows is fully booted, and that Windows is in a stable state in the sense that Windows has run all delayed start programs.
      2. Open Windows Explorer.
      3. Right-click on your computer’s OS drive letter and click on Properties in the popup window. Then click on the Tool tab. Click on the “Check Now…” button for “Error-checking”. Then click on the “Start” button. Windows will report that it can’t check the drive while it is in use.
      4. Click on the button to schedule a disk check the next time you start your computer.
      5. Reboot your computer and let Windows check your OS hard drive for errors. The only type of reported and fixed error should merely be that the OS hard drive’s free space was not being correctly reported. Yet if your hard drive already had other errors, then  hopefully those errors will be reported as being fixed as well.

      Best regards,



      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #319990

        GTP, Good info. You always have good advice for people here. GTP I had the same or similar issue years ago when I was using Microsoft update. I was updating a windows 7 computer and one of the updates hung. After several minutes I decided to open Task Manager and see what was running. I noticed that a process was running, I believe it was “initializing installer” or “initializing something?” and I end-tasked that process. Immediately, the installing patch continued and it did install the needed files.

        I also agree that installing one update at a time is a better way, with a reboot afterwards.
        It does slow the process down, but it adds reliability.

        After you finish the patch install, reboot again for good measure and let the computer sit for 30 minutes and not go to sleep. Going to sleep on a laptop on AC power and a desktop should not happen for over an hour.

      • #320108

        Thanks, GTP, for your informative post.  In my searching I’d read some allusions to using Ctrl-Alt-Del, but none of them had any clear explanation as what that would do and why it should work.  Your thorough and cogent explanation has made all that clear.

        As to installing updates one at a time, I appreciate that doing that could be simpler and perhaps safer in avoiding potential “update coma” in Windows.  My only slight hesitation about doing that is that I have multiple W7 machines to update and for safety’s sake I have always done them sequentially, making sure that I’ve successfully completed the update on the least critical machine first before moving on to the progressively more critical machines.  As a result, it tends to make updating Windows a rather time-consuming chore, hence my reluctance to make it almost four times longer by doing four updates as individual install and reboot sequences.

        Nevertheless, I take your point about keeping things simple for poor old geriatric Windows Update, which can occasionally slip into an update coma if it’s given more than one thing to do at a time.  That’s quite a difference from my sprightly Linux Mint machines which cheerfully download and install a whacking great load of updates all at once without missing a beat.

        Thanks again for your excellent post.  I’m sure that many others will be helped by it as I’ve been.

        Group 7-L (W7, heading toward Linux)
        W7 Pro x64 SP1
        Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon 64-bit
        Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce 32-bit

      • #320128

        @GTP, on reflection, I have a further question if you or someone can clarify something for me.

        You have suggested the Ctrl-Alt-Del approach for solving a Windows hang during the update/rebooting process.  My questions is this:  Will that same Ctrl-Alt-Del approach work for similar Windows hangs which occur for other reasons, or is that approach specific to the update/rebooting hangs only?

        Many thanks to you or anyone who can shed further light on this.



        Group 7-L (W7, heading toward Linux)
        W7 Pro x64 SP1
        Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon 64-bit
        Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce 32-bit

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