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WS08 R2 "preparing to configure windows" failed boot issue

    Question

  • Does anyone know how to solve this issue? WS08 R2 (Enterprise Edition) hangs on startup and displays:

     

    "Preparing to configure windows"

    "Do not turn off your computer"

     

    After a few minutes the computer restarts and continues in the same loop.


    This installation had been working fine since Jan of this year. Last night I installed Acronis' new backup platform "Backup and Repair". Ran a backup of a drive. Backup got to about 50% without any issues, then went to bed. In the morning, computer was in an endless loop of displaying this message when booting, and crashing after a few minutes.

    It could also be related to a windows update, since the computer had been in a restart loop when I woke up, and a required restart from a windows update could have put it there, if Acronis didn't force the computer to restart, which I don't think it did.

     

    I've tried using last known configuration, doesn't work. I've tried booting in safe mode, I get the same issue.  In either case, I get the "preparing to configure windows message" and then it crashes.  I can load the repair utility, but I don't know what commands to use to try and repair.

     

    Can anyone tell me what the command line commands are that I need to use to do startup repair from the WS08R2 repair console? I've only done it for fixing the boot code before, and I didn't really find what I was looking for when searching online...

     

    Thanks!

    Friday, October 15, 2010 12:23 PM

Answers

  • Ok, here's how I solved my problem.

     

    Connected to computer management remotely and went into services.  I stopped the Windows Modules Installer and then started it manually (I'm assuming a restart will work but this is exactly what I did).

     

    That solved the problem for me.  Hope this helps someone.

    Saturday, October 08, 2011 3:15 PM
  • Frank - thanks for the tip.  I had the same problem...I was patching the idle node of a 2-node SQL 2008 R2 cluster running on Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise when this happened.  The prospect of breaking the cluster and rebuilding the node was, well, undesireable.  Based on your tip I remotely connected to the server using Computer Manager and saw the Windows Modules Installer service was stuck at "stopping" so I could not use the service console to stop it.  I had to use psexec.exe to remotely execute a "taskkill.exe" command on the server to kill the stuck service and then the server rebooted normally.  After that, all was well.

    What a blast that was.  Nothing like seeing a production server stuck at "preparing to configure Windows" to make your heart skip a beat.

    Thanks again for the tip.

    Nelson

    Friday, October 14, 2011 6:29 PM
  • Anyway backing up this R2 installation wasn't too critical.  I don't have data stored on the hard drive, but I do have software I need for a project I'm working on installed on it.  It's a company license and I don't have the key to reinstall.  I'm almost done with the project, but getting it installed on a personal computer was a hassel and I'd rather not stir the water again.

    So--that being said, is there anything I can do to attempt to recover and resolve the startup issues?


    if you had backed up your server when this software was yet installed, performing a bare metal recovery as reported here

    http://www.wbadmin.info/articles/howto-bare-metal-restores-windows-server-2008-backup.html

    you can solve the problem.

     


    Edoardo Benussi - Microsoft® MVP
    Management Infrastructure - Systems Administration
    https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/Profile/Benussi
    Windows Server Italian Forum Moderator
    edo[at]mvps[dot]org
    Sunday, October 17, 2010 7:17 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    if you had regularly backed up the server, you can perform a bare-metal restore.

    HTH


    Edoardo Benussi - Microsoft® MVP
    Management Infrastructure - Systems Administration
    https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/Profile/Benussi
    Windows Server Italian Forum Moderator
    edo[at]mvps[dot]org
    Friday, October 15, 2010 12:31 PM
  • Well, I had actually been trying out R2 on my laptop. (considered moving from WS08 when I heard Microsoft was going to allow WS08 licenses to activate R2)  I was previously using Acronis True Image Echo for backups, but the latest version of TI Echo doesn't support R2 (but does supoprt WS08)--I needed to move to their totally new version.

    Anyway backing up this R2 installation wasn't too critical.  I don't have data stored on the hard drive, but I do have software I need for a project I'm working on installed on it.  It's a company license and I don't have the key to reinstall.  I'm almost done with the project, but getting it installed on a personal computer was a hassel and I'd rather not stir the water again.

    So--that being said, is there anything I can do to attempt to recover and resolve the startup issues?

    Sunday, October 17, 2010 12:53 AM
  • Anyway backing up this R2 installation wasn't too critical.  I don't have data stored on the hard drive, but I do have software I need for a project I'm working on installed on it.  It's a company license and I don't have the key to reinstall.  I'm almost done with the project, but getting it installed on a personal computer was a hassel and I'd rather not stir the water again.

    So--that being said, is there anything I can do to attempt to recover and resolve the startup issues?


    if you had backed up your server when this software was yet installed, performing a bare metal recovery as reported here

    http://www.wbadmin.info/articles/howto-bare-metal-restores-windows-server-2008-backup.html

    you can solve the problem.

     


    Edoardo Benussi - Microsoft® MVP
    Management Infrastructure - Systems Administration
    https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/Profile/Benussi
    Windows Server Italian Forum Moderator
    edo[at]mvps[dot]org
    Sunday, October 17, 2010 7:17 AM
  • Hi guys,

     

    I had the same problem, but for my side the problem will be resolve by itself. You just need to wait 1 hour in the sreen :

     

    "Preparing to configure windows"

    "Do not turn off your computer"

     

    and eventually the logon screen appear. :)

     

     

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 10:31 PM
  • It is even more stupid than waiting 1 hr.

     

    If you press Ctrl-Alt-Del you'll get to the logon screen.

     

    the 'preparing to configure windows...' just does not go away when complete, so you wait and wait and wait and wait.

     

     


    D-B-S
    • Proposed as answer by FQRE Monday, February 28, 2011 5:14 PM
    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 3:56 PM
  • Excellent...  Saved me wasting another 90 minutes....
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 4:21 PM
  • perfect, that was the answer.  I thought sitting at this screen for 16 hours would be long enough.

    Just hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and the normal screen pops up.  (WS08 R2)

    Thursday, June 23, 2011 11:15 AM
  • Anyway backing up this R2 installation wasn't too critical.  I don't have data stored on the hard drive, but I do have software I need for a project I'm working on installed on it.  It's a company license and I don't have the key to reinstall.  I'm almost done with the project, but getting it installed on a personal computer was a hassel and I'd rather not stir the water again.

    So--that being said, is there anything I can do to attempt to recover and resolve the startup issues?


    if you had backed up your server when this software was yet installed, performing a bare metal recovery as reported here

    http://www.wbadmin.info/articles/howto-bare-metal-restores-windows-server-2008-backup.html

    you can solve the problem.

     


    Edoardo Benussi - Microsoft® MVP
    Management Infrastructure - Systems Administration
    https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/Profile/Benussi
    Windows Server Italian Forum Moderator
    edo[at]mvps[dot]org


    Seriously.. that's your answer?  BMR???  That's not a solution, that's a last ditch effort.

     

    I've run into the same issue.  CTRL-ALT-DEL not working for me.  Will post my findings as soon as I get a chance.

    Saturday, October 08, 2011 2:57 PM
  • Ok, here's how I solved my problem.

     

    Connected to computer management remotely and went into services.  I stopped the Windows Modules Installer and then started it manually (I'm assuming a restart will work but this is exactly what I did).

     

    That solved the problem for me.  Hope this helps someone.

    Saturday, October 08, 2011 3:15 PM
  • Frank - thanks for the tip.  I had the same problem...I was patching the idle node of a 2-node SQL 2008 R2 cluster running on Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise when this happened.  The prospect of breaking the cluster and rebuilding the node was, well, undesireable.  Based on your tip I remotely connected to the server using Computer Manager and saw the Windows Modules Installer service was stuck at "stopping" so I could not use the service console to stop it.  I had to use psexec.exe to remotely execute a "taskkill.exe" command on the server to kill the stuck service and then the server rebooted normally.  After that, all was well.

    What a blast that was.  Nothing like seeing a production server stuck at "preparing to configure Windows" to make your heart skip a beat.

    Thanks again for the tip.

    Nelson

    Friday, October 14, 2011 6:29 PM
  • Np Nelson,

     

    Only think I'm missing is what caused it in the first place.  Subsequent reboots worked perfectly so I'm not sure.  I patched 16 different servers on the same day and they all went without a hitch (minus one that is....)  Wish I could reproduce the error!

    Friday, October 14, 2011 6:34 PM
  • Same here.  Patch 10 of servers without a hitch and then out of the blue, this freaky thing happens.

    Have a good weekend,

    Nelson

    Friday, October 14, 2011 6:35 PM
  • Ok, here's how I solved my problem.

     

    Connected to computer management remotely and went into services.  I stopped the Windows Modules Installer and then started it manually (I'm assuming a restart will work but this is exactly what I did).

     

    That solved the problem for me.  Hope this helps someone.


    Frank and Nelson,

     

    You are both correct - the issue was with the TrustedInstaller "Windows Module Installer" service being hung. These are very helpful posts.

    In some cases, the TrustedInstaller service will not accept sc query commands so the use of PSExec is necessary to kill the task.

     

    Christian Severt | Operations Engineer - MS Online
    (Contracting with Direct Apps, Inc.)

    Saturday, November 05, 2011 6:51 AM
  • What command did you run to do this Nelson if it works it could save me so so much time...

    So far I have taskkill /s 10.140.1.12 /PID ????

    How do you find the PID number and why do you need to use psexec.exe with it??

    Thanks

    Friday, November 11, 2011 2:49 PM
  • Hi,

     

    I used the "tasklist" command to get the list of PIDs.  So:

    psexec \\computername tasklist

    and then noted the PID of the "Windows Modules Installer service"  then ran

    psexec \\computername taskkill /F /PID pidnumber

     

    Nelson

    Friday, November 11, 2011 2:56 PM
  • I just re-read your question and saw that part about "why do you need to use psexec.exe with it".  I guess I never knew you could run taskkill remotely.  So I just use psexec to run the tasklist and taskkill commands on the remote machine.  But if taskkill itself can be run remotely (I am guessing the /s gives you that functionality) then I guess it would be easier to just do that instead.

    Nleosn

    Friday, November 11, 2011 3:00 PM
  • So I guess this will work:

     

    tasklist /s servername

    note PID number

    taskkill /s servername /f /pid pidnumber

     

    Cool - you taught me something new!

    thanks,

    Nelson

    Friday, November 11, 2011 3:02 PM
  • LOL no worries Nelson,

     

    I managed to run the commands on my server but unfortunately it didn't help still stuck in the loop :0(

    Monday, November 14, 2011 12:59 PM
  • Frank - thanks for the tip.  I had the same problem...I was patching the idle node of a 2-node SQL 2008 R2 cluster running on Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise when this happened.  The prospect of breaking the cluster and rebuilding the node was, well, undesireable.  Based on your tip I remotely connected to the server using Computer Manager and saw the Windows Modules Installer service was stuck at "stopping" so I could not use the service console to stop it.  I had to use psexec.exe to remotely execute a "taskkill.exe" command on the server to kill the stuck service and then the server rebooted normally.  After that, all was well.

    What a blast that was.  Nothing like seeing a production server stuck at "preparing to configure Windows" to make your heart skip a beat.

    Thanks again for the tip.

    Nelson


    Thanks for this extra info on using the psexec and taskkill, this was a life saver for me last night.  for others - note you will need to use /f on the taskkill command as the trusted installer will not end otherwise.  i used :-

    psexec \\computername taskkill /IM trustedinstaller.exe /f

    for reference.  This managed to get the server to then reboot.


    Stew
    • Edited by ssssstew Monday, February 13, 2012 4:57 AM added /IM
    • Proposed as answer by ssssstew Monday, February 13, 2012 4:57 AM
    Friday, November 25, 2011 12:30 AM
  • Thanks for the tips Frank and Nelson - saved me! taskkill /s servername /IM TrustedIntaller.exe /f worked as a dream! Again, thanks!
    Wednesday, December 14, 2011 10:23 PM
  • I have tried all of these commands, no luck... at what point should i execture? i have access to a vkvm with dell idrac over https
    Thursday, August 16, 2012 7:06 PM
  • This bit me this morning :(

    This is what I did
    Server 2008 R2 - Hangs 'Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer'


    Pete
    PeteNetLive



    Regards Pete Long http://www.petenetlive.com

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012 2:03 PM
  • I had the same problem, but it turned out the DNS server was not responding. Restarted DNS and it came right up with a login prompt.
    Friday, August 24, 2012 10:26 AM
  • hey IT-Works1, just curious, was that a local DNS server or DNS running on another system?

    Way2Throrough, did the commands fail when trying to execute or did they not help the problem?  Did you try simply connecting to computer management remotely?

    Friday, August 24, 2012 1:08 PM
  • I had to download Remote Process Explorer from: http://lizardsystems.com/remote-process-explorer/

    There I connected to the server and killed the TrustedInstaller process. As soon as the process was dead the server rebooted normally.

    So basically Remote Process Explorer saved the day.


    • Edited by Raggoz Sunday, March 24, 2013 3:24 PM
    Sunday, March 24, 2013 3:24 PM
  • Frank, your method worked because the system you connected to was running. As deuce_mn said, his machine is stuck in a loop in which the machine reboots before he can do anything. The hang issue which you talked about, albeit not as explicitly as others in this thread have done, is not the topic. Your response should not have been marked as an answer because it is off-topic.
    Monday, May 27, 2013 9:44 AM
  • Your response should not have been marked as an answer because it is off topic. deuce_mn described a reboot loop. You talked about the apparent hang at startup, which is a different problem entirely, and the solution you propose cannot be accomplished in the OP's scenario.
    Monday, May 27, 2013 9:48 AM
  • I'm always amazed -- and disappointed -- when a BMR is marked as an answer.
    Monday, May 27, 2013 9:49 AM
  • David,

    1) I didn't mark my comment as an answer, the moderator did (you can see that in my post)

    2) I had the SAME PROBLEM (please read the post more carefully and see where I said I had the same issue)  I was able to get in and restart the task before the system rebooted itself.

    3) How exactly do you know that my solution can't be accomplished in the OP's scenario?  Are you there with him?  If you can provide more information on his issue I'll be happy to help resolve it.

    Monday, May 27, 2013 1:29 PM
  • Frank,

    1. I didn't -- and don't -- blame you for the fact that your comment was marked as an answer. Anyone who frequents Microsoft's forums knows that non-answers or incorrect answers are often marked as answers by the mods. This is due to the fact that they often do not read people's descriptions of their problems any better than you did.
    2. You did not have the same problem as what the OP experienced. You said that you connected to the machine via remote management and modified the startup mode of a service. If your computer was stuck in a reboot LOOP, as the OP described, you would not have been able to do that. To remotely manage the system as you managed yours, several service must be started which are not started when deuce_mn says that his automatically rebooted. In fact, as I have found by examining ntbtlog.txt startup logs on various systems experiencing similar problems, Windows is usually still loading drivers at that point. However, if the system loads all of its drivers, starts enough services, and does not reboot automatically, if a user waits long enough, it may be that pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL, after disabling the Windows Modules Installer service, will bring up the login screen when the display says "Preparing to configure Windows". But his machine did automatically reboot. In his case, remote management was out of the question.
    3. See item 2, above.

    You see, I did read what the OP wrote. And, as it turns out, I read what you wrote, too. That word "loop" was crucial to understanding his problem, and the difference between your issue and his.





    Tuesday, May 28, 2013 7:16 AM