Q: Windows Vista Update Hangs

Just today August 20, after restarting my computer this morning the computer automatically starts an update and it gives me the "Please do not power off or unplug your machine." Message and below it, it says "Installing update 1 of 1" with 2 dots on the right moving to the right. I believe it has been AT LEAST 3 or 4 hours and it has been stuck ever since, I'm currently on my laptop writing this message.

A few specs:
Windows Vista Home Basic
2GB of RAM
Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.2GHz or around there.
Geforce 7100 / nForce 630i GPU

It should not be too slow to update. I don't think my computer has a virus either, I practically run virus scans and disk defragments every day. Using AVG Internet Security, and Iobot Freeware.



Restore Point:



Try tapping F8 at startup, and from the list of startup selections, select Safe Mode by using UP Arrow Key to go there > then hit Enter.

Try a System Restore once there, to pick a Restore Point before your problem..

Click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore > pick a different time > Next > etc



If the above does not work, try making a Bootable Repair Disk to do a Startup Repair:



As is the case with most computer/laptops these days, they do not come with the proper Vista Disk to do Repairs with; only Recovery Disks.

As yours falls into the above category: Download the ISO file at the supplied link, and make a Bootable Repair Disk from it.


Go into your Bios/Setup, or Boot Menu, at startup, and change the Boot Order to make the DVD/CD drive 1st in the Boot Order, then reboot with the disk in the Drive.


At startup/power on you should see at the bottom of the screen either F2 or DELETE, to go into Bios/Setup, or F12 for the Boot Menu.


When you have changed that, insert that Bootable Disk you have made in the Drive, and reboot.


You can do a Startup Repair, System Restore, etc with it.

Read all info at the website about creating and using it


ISO Burner:

It makes a very good Repair Vista disk.

You can do a Startup Repair, System Restore, etc from it.

It is not a reinstall disk.


And the 32bit is what comes normally on a computer, unless 64bits requested.


Mick Murphy - Microsoft Partner

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These are to add to those Mike has already suggested if needed :

I am guessing that part of the issue might be a driver which is really older or similar which should not be loaded.

Do this to leave Windows Updates on (after you gain access) and to stop Driver Updates from loading.

How To Disable Automatic Driver Installation In Windows Vista - Drivers


You can use the solutions in this KB - 3 methods and I listed a little help for them below

The update is not installed successfully, you receive a message, and the computer restarts when you try to
install an update in Windows Vista

Method 1: Start Windows Vista with the Windows installation media, and then use the Repair feature

How to Do a Startup Repair in Vista

You can also do a Startup Repair from Safe Mode accessing the Recovery Options if you have them available
or use the DVD as above.

This tells you how to access the System Recovery Options and/or use the DVD

Try StartUp Repair from Recovery Options

How to do a Startup Repair

Method 2: Start the system in safe mode, and then use the System Restore feature

How to Do a System Restore in Vista

This tells you how to access the System Recovery Options and/or use the DVD

Method 3: Rename the Pending.xml file, and then edit the registry (This method is part of the advanced troubleshooting.)

See the KB article below for this.

You can use this method on updates that have this issue.

Hide the Update (Right Click - HIDE in Windows Updates) and go to the Microsoft download center to download
and install it.

Microsoft Download Center


Once your are in Windows again I would run the Reset here as a precaution.

How do I reset Windows Update components?

Hope this helps sort it out for you.

Rob - Bicycle - Mark Twain said it right.
Rob Brown - Microsoft MVP - Windows and Devices for IT 2010 - current
Windows Insider MVP 2016 - current

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Views: 15,993 Last updated: April 4, 2018 Applies to: