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2,862 Tutorials

Help! A Windows update won't install

How to escape endless updates

A reader found his PC was getting stuck on a particular Windows update. Our Helproom Expert explained how to break the cycle.

QUESTION I'm having problems installing Windows updates on my Vista PC. It successfully installed one of three updates, then stalled on the second.

I rebooted the machine and it began installing the third, then stalled again. The PC refuses to bypass this screen and boot into Windows. Phil Barstow

HELPROOM ANSWER To break out of this endless loop, try booting from your original Windows Vista installation disc (assuming one was supplied with the PC). Choose the language, click Next, then select ‘Repair your Computer'.

The installer will search for any Windows operating systems residing on your hard drive. If you have only one, click Next; otherwise, you'll need to discern the correct installation from the information provided.
Select Startup Repair from the recovery options displayed. The installer should guide you through the steps necessary to boot into Windows and access the desktop.

If this doesn't work, instead select Command Prompt from the recovery options. Enter the following commands in the interface that appears, substituting C: for the relevant drive letter if this is not
the drive on which Windows is installed. Press Enter after each line, then reboot.

C:
cd c:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
ren Download Download.old

This will prompt Windows to back up all your pending updates, then move them out the way so the operating system can start up normally. You can then install individual updates via Windows Update.

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