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How to removing a pending update that is preventing a successful boot

    Question

  • Hi,

     

    For an unknown reason (my guess is an update was automatically applied and automatically restarted), my computer rebooted overnight and in the morning was stuck in a failed boot loop.  When trying to boot I get the message:

     

    "Preparing to configure windows"

    "Do not turn off your computer"

     

    Then after a few seconds the computer reboots and does the same thing.  Safe mode yields the same result.  Using the F8 option to restore last known good configuration doesn't change anything.  I can boot into the recovery console.

     

    I have tried running SFC /SCANNOW in a command prompt in the recovery console and get the message:

     

    "There is a system repair pending which requires reboot to complete. Restart Windows and run sfc again."

     

    Restarting of course doesn't change anything.  So it seems something happened to an unfinished update and is still pending.  I think if I can remove this pending update I might be able to boot normally, or at least run SFC and hopefully then boot normally.

     

     

    Does anyone know what I should try to remove this pending update that appears to be preventing a successful boot?

     

    Thanks!

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010 3:05 AM

Answers

  • You can remove the file C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml. After booting into the system, I recommend you run Windows Update again.
    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 5:40 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello deuce_mn,

    This is the command to run when booted offline at a recovery command prompt

    dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

    This is supposed to revert all pended updates, however if System Restore is not working, then there may be other issues as well


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. VAMT - Volume Activation Management Tool - Download link http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ec7156d2-2864-49ee-bfcb-777b898ad582&displaylang=en
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 1:21 AM

All replies

  • Hello deuce_mn,

    This is the command to run when booted offline at a recovery command prompt

    dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

    This is supposed to revert all pended updates, however if System Restore is not working, then there may be other issues as well


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. VAMT - Volume Activation Management Tool - Download link http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ec7156d2-2864-49ee-bfcb-777b898ad582&displaylang=en
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 1:21 AM
  • You can remove the file C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml. After booting into the system, I recommend you run Windows Update again.
    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 5:40 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello deuce_mn,

    This is the command to run when booted offline at a recovery command prompt

    dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

    This is supposed to revert all pended updates, however if System Restore is not working, then there may be other issues as well


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. VAMT - Volume Activation Management Tool - Download link http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ec7156d2-2864-49ee-bfcb-777b898ad582&displaylang=en
    I'm thinking this may help with a similar problem I'm having with SP1 (fatal error applying update during boot).  I noticed that when I'm at the recovery command prompt, the system image is moved to E: vs. C:.  Will DISM work in this case & will it restore my System Image, pre-SP1 failure, to C:?  Also, does it matter whether I run the recovery command prompt from the current installation or do I need to start from the original install media?  Oh, one more question...  When I installed Windows 7x64, I used a minimal unattend.xml file to force all User Profiles to another, non-system, disk drive, currently D:.  Both my system drive & user profile/data drive appear unharmed so far.
    • Proposed as answer by nigelbeatson Monday, August 19, 2013 12:16 PM
    Thursday, February 24, 2011 9:20 AM
  • You can remove the file C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml. After booting into the system, I recommend you run Windows Update again.
    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”

    How does this suggestion differ from the DISM solution?  Is the end result the same?  In my case, the fatal error occurs after trying to apply the SP1 update.  My User Profile/Data drive is D: & my System driver (previously C:) appears to now be moved to E:.
    Thursday, February 24, 2011 9:23 AM
  • This was great, Windows 7 would not boot after an update and this solved the problem. The error that came up on boot was "CQPFO is compressed"

    Thanks a million!!

    Friday, July 15, 2011 3:20 AM
  • I'm having a similar problem but get the message "the /image option that is specified points to a running windows installation. To service the running OS, use the /online option. For more information, refer to the help by running dism.exe /online /?."
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:02 AM
  • I am having a similar issue at the moment  hoopsdowntown12. Any advice? What have you tried? PS. my sfc scannow didnt find anything wrong. Thanks in advance. 
    Tuesday, March 3, 2015 2:39 PM
  • In my case DISM does not works.

    I resolve the problem booting with DART/ERD commander, modifing registry, eliminating all sub-Keys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Component Based Servicing\PackagesPending

    that's all!


    SDB

    Tuesday, January 5, 2016 3:09 PM
  • Dear,

    Thank you for the answer you got. But I cannot seem to fix mine. I tried doing the entries in <g class="gr_ gr_167 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_disable_anim_appear Grammar only-ins doubleReplace replaceWithoutSep" data-gr-id="167" id="167">command</g> prompt at <g class="gr_ gr_64 gr-alert gr_spell gr_disable_anim_appear ContextualSpelling ins-del" data-gr-id="64" id="64">start up</g> repair but the result was: ERROR 2 Unable to access the image.....

    I am really frustrated about this.

    Please help further.

    Thank you.

    Monday, January 16, 2017 9:56 AM
  • Ashyboy2017 I have the same problem. Were you able to fix it? Cheers
    Wednesday, January 24, 2018 9:41 AM
  • You can remove the file C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml. After booting into the system, I recommend you run Windows Update again.

    This worked for me.  2012 server with a few updates that showed "Pending Restart" as status.  But under installed updates they showed up as if fine.  No new updates would be detected (because Windows expected a Pending restart install).  They never would finish.

    Had to make myself owner on the pending.xml file to get access to delete it.  Deleted it, rebooted, Windows failed the pending updates and uninstalled them.  Now Windows update detected the current month's updates fine (as approved in WSUS) and they installed properly.
    Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:13 PM
  • See my comment quoting the 'delete pending.xml' directions.  That worked for me.  Make sure to backup the server or snapshot it before just to be safe.
    Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:15 PM
  • You can remove the file C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml. After booting into the system, I recommend you run Windows Update again.



    This worked for me.  2012 server with a few updates that showed "Pending Restart" as status.  But under installed updates they showed up as if fine.  No new updates would be detected (because Windows expected a Pending restart install).  They never would finish.

    Had to make myself owner on the pending.xml file to get access to delete it.  Deleted it, rebooted, Windows failed the pending updates and uninstalled them.  Now Windows update detected the current month's updates fine (as approved in WSUS) and they installed properly.

    hey, Brian!

    I encountered error when applying updates on my Server 2012 R2 and came to your comment and actually tried to delete my pending.xml file.

    I then tried to reboot. Did it take quite long time to do so?

    Because mine won't reboot normally as it takes such long time loading (at this moment, it still try to boot, it's been approx. 10-15 mins).

    Edit: almost an hour but it's not booting.

    Please give me information on this to determine if it works or not for me. 

    Thank you very much.


    • Edited by mizky Monday, September 3, 2018 7:06 AM
    Monday, September 3, 2018 4:45 AM
  • Hello 

    Deleting Pending.xml is not answer to the problem, this should only be used a last effort to recover a machine that will need to be rebuilt.

    Windows is in a torn state, the update that was trying to install is now partially installed so parts of the update are not installed properly

    THis may mean that future updates will not install or will no install properly

    If there were security updates in the failed update, deleting pending.xml means some of the security updates are not completely installed .


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

    Monday, September 10, 2018 11:24 PM