Stuck on “Preparing to Configure Windows” Update

If you use Microsoft Windows 7, you are likely familiar with the message “Preparing to configure Windows, please do not turn off your computer,” appearing when you turn on your computer.

System is Normally Updating

This means your system is running its normal necessary updates, and it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes or half an hour.

Recently during one of these routine updates, however, I waited for more than eight hours with the same notification on my screen.

I wondered if this was happening because of a particular update, and therefore routine, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

I did a hard reboot which under normal circumstances is not a good idea, but I had no other option.

After turning back on, it went back to the same configuration process, stuck again.

windows configure error

Here are some things you can try to bail your system out of updating purgatory.

“Failure Configuring Windows Update” Error Message

When trying to reboot, you may be confronted with the message, “Failure configuring Windows update. Reverting changes. Do not turn off your computer.”

What this means is that something in the update has failed. And your system is attempting to undo the updates and return to previous settings.

Don’t panic!

This process shouldn’t take too long and you should be able to log in normally. If it works, you can then run the necessary updates manually.

However, if it gets stuck, there are things you can do to fix or work around this issue.

Reboot in Safe Mode

Switching on a computer system can be done from a number of modes, one of which is Safe Mode. This process will bypass the normal booting sequence of a computer.

Make sure before doing any of the following, see if your computer will reboot in Safe Mode. Once you are able to log on, you can repair the problem.

System Restore

You may need to undo the changes that were made during the aborted update. System Restore is built into Windows, and is a way to undo system changes without altering personal files.

Once you are able to log in using Safe Mode, go to Start and type System Restore into the Search box.

Select System Restore

Selected Recommended Restore and Next. Review the restore point, then select Finish.

You may be prompted to supply your administrator username and password. To choose a different restore point, select Choose a Different Restore Point.

To review selected restore points, click Scan for Affected Programs, to learn how each restoration would impact your system.

System Restore will revert the system back to a restore point, which has been automatically created by Windows.

Before running into any update problems, you can also manually create a restore point. To do so:

Go to the System Restore box and select Create a Restore Point.

A System Properties window will open. Select Create…

You will be prompted to give your restore point a name. Select Create and wait for the restore point to be created.

Prevent Windows Update From Getting Stuck

Maintain your system by checking for and installing updates as recommended. This way, many updates won’t stack on top of each other, and are less likely to face errors or incompatibilities.

Install updates as soon as you receive the notification.

Install a reliable antivirus program and malware remover.

Viruses or bad files can be interfering with updates.

If the above solutions fail, you may need to contact a certified manufacturer technician, as there may be hardware issues.

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