How To Fix A Stuck Windows Update

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If you've ever watching Windows install updates when you shut down your computer, you know it's a very automated process. Windows Update installs the updates while you walk away from your laptop, then configures the new files when you start up your computer again. This update system, which is in place on both Windows 7 and Vista, usually works flawlessly-- unless the updates get stuck.

How do you know if an update is stuck? If Windows continually tries to install updates when you shut down and then configure them for several minutes when you power your system on, the update is more than likely stuck. The familiar blue screen appears with a notice stating, "Configuring Windows updates 0% complete. Do not turn off your computer." After approximately 5 minutes, the configuring fails and the laptop finally starts up.

A stuck update usually isn't a critical problem, but it's certainly annoying-- especially when you want your computer to start up in a reasonable amount of time. Luckily, this problem is easy to fix and will work for almost any Windows Update that is stuck.

Over the last week or so, we've heard (and personally experienced) this exact issue with Windows Update. As of this writing, there's a series of four updates that are the culprit. In this case, the gang of four all have names starting with KB, for Knowledge Base, and are KB2515325, KB2522422, KB2492386, and KB982018.

Digging a little further by opening Windows Update from the Control Panel, we saw these  four stuck updates total 9.4MB and were waiting to be installed.

Though it's possible that your stuck update may include different files, this solution will still work. Here's how to fix it:

  1. Download the System Update Readiness Tool from Microsoft's website. It's a 300MB download, so it might take a few minutes over a slower connection.
  2. Open and run the program. Click "Yes" when asked if you want to run the Hotfix.
  3. Shut down your computer after it's done installing the readiness tool to trigger a re-run of the automatic update.
  4. Restart. This time your PC will complete the configuring of Windows Updates and you'll be off and running again.

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50 comments
  • Narayn Says:

    Is your advise is applicable for Window 10?????

  • john smite Says:

    People seem to be asking the same question. Please try reading before asking something that has been asked 5+ times. or better yet, turn off your computer pack it up and return it from where you bought it because you are too stupid to use it.

  • Sharon Says:

    I downloaded the System Readiness Tool and it will not open in safe mode to run it to install it. What would be a suggestion. I can only use my PC in safe mode with networking.

    Thank you

  • Tony Ray Says:

    Re: How To Fix A Stuck Windows Update.
    If the computer is stuck on an update how then do you DOWNLOAD a program to fix it?? Even if I turn off the computer, it remains stuck when I turn it back on.

  • Kenneth Says:

    my laptop is Toshiba Satellite C655 having installing updates take too long, but it is stuck 154 of 183, so how do I fix it?

  • James Says:

    Ok, mine won't go into safe mode & also won't F12 into boot options. What next?

  • John Says:

    you did not address the primary issue. if my PC is stuck at "installing update number 7 of 23" for 20 minutes, what am i to do? Pull the plug? continue waiting indefinitely?

  • bluebird Says:

    Mu new ASUS laptop is stuck on 9 of 45 installing updates, it says don't turn off but I read to hold the button down so I restarted it, now it is deleting updates since it didn't finish them hope this is the answer

  • Bob Says:

    What if the screen says the configuration is 100% complete, but the screen won't go away? Hard drive light's flashing randomly and the spinny icon's spinning, so it's not frozen. Plus, I can access the public files over my network. Is the screen just frozen, but everything else running OK?

  • Sujan Swearingen Says:

    This is bad advice. You cannot run the system readiness tool in safe mode. Furthermore, you cannot boot into normal mode because the defunct Windows Update feature makes the boot process hang.

  • James P Says:

    "Put your windows dvd in the drive, start the pc"

    And how many systems come with a Windows DVD..? That's Microsoft's advice, too, which is a bit rich since they discourage manufacturers from supplying DVD's in the first place!

    Catch 22

  • Nettie Says:

    How can you do anything if you computer is stuck?

  • Abby Says:

    1 of 4 updates looks so nice. I put Windows 7 Ultimate on my computer and ended up needing to do 132 updates. It got stuck on 47 and ended up shutting itself off at some point during the night. Hopefully this will help.

  • keith Says:

    Have I missed something, or did you NOT say I should force a shutdown? How am I to use a laptop with the "Please do not power off........" message still showing??

  • Brenden Says:

    Thank you worked a treat just had to be patient and it worked

  • Remco Says:

    If the screen remains stuck, switch of the power, start again, go to bios.

    Swith the primary startup device to cd/dvd, save and exit.

    Put your windows dvd in the drive, start the pc

    Boot windows from the dvd, select system restore and restore to an earlier point.

    You can now boot again and install the patch.

    You can also boot from usb.

  • Peter Says:

    Thanks for offering this solution, while Microsoft isn't saying anything, browsing to find a solution, even wiped out entire system what even made things worse, found at good luck your solution, long live Android.

  • Jeanine Says:

    My laptop has been intermittently hanging up on the configure updates screen since Christmas. I've tried a number of things to fix it, but nothing has worked. Tonight, I downloaded the suggested tool, but still had the same issue, so I decided to follow Gumby's advice. Finally, something worked!! The update configuration finally hit 100% (after a max of 14% for the last two months), and I've been able to restart my computer without any further problems! The only issue I had was it took a really long time for the configuration to finish. The computer actually shut down and restarted itself, but it resumed where it left off, and now it's working well. Here's hoping that continues!

    Thanks, Gumby!

  • Sanaa Says:

    Actually, mine's is diffrent, it says it's complete, but the computer is stuck on the screen, then it just starts over again and again it won't let me get on my computer!

  • Craig Says:

    Gumby's instructions looked excellent. However, I could not use my keyboard either. Somehow the Windows Update stuck at 32% disabled my USB as well.
    Anyway, after several unsuccessful attempts at reboots, I decided to put my Windows 7 disc in my drive. Somehow, that time Windows Update completed...

  • cmac Says:

    I can't get mine to do anything but keep going back to the update 3 of 3 0% screen. Help please???

  • Myra Says:

    Have often have problems configuring updates. I'm using Windows 7 64 bit. Most updates will install, but they won't configure when I reboot. I've found that if I uninstall iTunes each time I need updates, they will configure without problems. Kind of a hassle installing and re-installing but it works every time. I do advise checking to see if the updates will configure before uninstalling iTunes.

  • James Peace Says:

    I powered it off like someone said and now it won't turn back on?

  • peter Says:

    "Mac software upgrades do have issues too." not according to them ;)

  • sean Says:

    I have an Acer laptop - windows 7. Its been loading its updates since yesterday morning. currently stuck on 121 of 169 ... It was on that at 10.30pm last night and still there now at 6.15am. I can't turn off the machine, or in fact do anything with it. It appears frozen but the mouse icon in still spinning ( but won't move) and the two little dots after 169 are moving too. Doing to leave it "uploading" while I'm at work for a few hours and see where we stand this afternoon. PLEASE HELP!! Thankyou

  • Rob Says:

    there is always a troll that has to state something about how great a mac is. where do the mac trolls come from? do they go to Google and look up windows problems just so they can try and make them self's feel better about buying an over priced system. seriously, do they have nothing better to do? and this troll is wrong. Mac software upgrades do have issues too.

  • Ana Says:

    Stuck on stage 3 0%. Turned the power off and when i turned it on again, still stuck on stage 3, after 2minutes or so it will restart then again stuck on stage 3. It's looping :(( How do I fix this? Cant access anything because of the stuck windows update shit :(( Please help. Laptop is Lenovo, Windows Vista

  • Johan Says:

    Hi, i have a virtual server 2012 also stuck on "configuring updates" This is my file server, i can access the harddrive over the network. everything works except the fact that i cant log into the machine. Any sugestions would be apreciated, thanks in advance....

  • Dave Says:

    Stuck on shutting down installing update and still on update 1

  • ILUVMAC Says:

    This issue would not happen if you all were running MAC another example as to why windows is a poor poor product.

  • Ricky Says:

    The System Update Readiness Tool can not run in safe mode, I can not turn my pc on because it get's stuck on configuring of Windows Updates. So how do I get round that lol??

  • Willis Says:

    Automatic updates that require user research and software patches are NOT automatic, gosh darn it.

  • Mark Says:

    Having the same problem. Stuck on 12 percent. How do you fix it if you can't access anything else??

  • matt Says:

    my laptop is stuck on12 % i shut it off and turn it back on and only goe back to 12 on auto updates cant get to main screen what o i do

  • pauline Says:

    so what happens if the hotflix download becomes stagnant halfway?

  • sundaram Says:

    if you have a restart button press to restart the computer.this time the computer will show boot options. select start windows normally wubdiws updates will be completed successfully.

  • myesha Says:

    Ok here's the deal i.cracked my screen to my laptop but its hooked up to my tv but i was tired one night and my updatesweregoing and i shutdown the counter and now it won't work my tv is a black screen what should i do????

  • I hate technology.. Says:

    My laptop is stuck on the Configuring Windows Update 0% complete, and has been for ages. It sits there for about 5 minutes, before restarting itself, going back to the screen, and doing it over and over until i turn it off.
    Any Ideas?

  • Jonathan Halim Says:

    Installing Update 1 of 1 not working PLEASE HELP ME

  • warren Says:

    Thank you Gumby! Worked perfectly in a matter of minutes!
    This is THE way to fix this problem!

    Thanks again!

  • Mike Says:

    Stuck on update 14 of 14. I hold the power button down on laptop, it shuts down, but when I turn it on again it is still stuck on update 14 of 14.

  • Gumby Says:

    This seems to haave worked for me. My 3 mos. old Dell running Windows 7 was stuck updating and never reverted changes, even after >24 hours. On rebooting the update would just start installing itself either immediately or within a few minutes of startup. Frustrating! Especially when you have work to do and your alternative is an old desktop PC set up in the garage.

    First, I restarted in safe mode by pressing F8 repeatedly while rebooting. In safe mode, the OS reverted the changes, so I rebooted into normal mode, then went directly to Windows Update in the Start-All Programs menu(I'm pretty sure you can get there from the Control Panel too). I selected Change Settings, then under Important Updates I selected "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them" That way whenI get a new updatein the future, I can choose a convenient time to install rather than having this happen when I need to use my PC right now.

    Next I went into the Control Panel and selected "Find and Fix problems" under the System and Security heading. On that screen there is another System and Security heading. Select "Fix problems with Windows updates" That will run a wizard that will check your system and correct the problem causing the update to hang. After that it seems to have gone ahead and installed the new update without issue. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it worked. So far, so good after about an hour.

  • Dave Says:

    Mine is actually hung on the first screen. It's been several hours of "Installing update 4 of 10. Won't move, won't fail.

    Any ideas?

  • kev Says:

    This worked an absolute treat on my Dell inspiron running windows 7 64bit. last few weeks its taken ages to shut down due to the same 2 updates installing (or not as the case may be!). Following your fix has now allowed these updates to install and now the laptop shuts down as it should. Cheers for that!!!!.

  • Marcy Says:

    THANK YOU! You've saved me from another 2 hours of staring at the update screen!

  • bryan Says:

    if you let it sit there long enough, it should revert changes and allow the computer to start.

  • derek Says:

    hold the power button down on the asus laptop until it completely shuts down. im assuming youre only hitting the power button quickly enough that the laptop instead goes into a temporary sleep mode.

  • Michael Says:

    How do you shut it down on an ASUS laptop when it doesn't shut down or it turns off but once turned back on it goes directly to the windows update loop all over again?

  • Al Says:

    You will need to shutdown your PC and start it again.

  • Scott Says:

    So how do I download the program when I am stuck on the update screen. This is like telling someone to unlock the door to their car when the keys are locked in. ?????