I love computers and I enjoy giving tips on how to troubleshoot them.
Stuck on "Preparing to Configure Windows" Update
If you use Microsoft Windows 7, you are likely familiar with the message “Preparing to configure Windows. Do not turn off your computer." This appears when you turn on your computer. It means that your system is running its necessary updates, and it shouldn't take more than 20 or 30 minutes.
Recently, during one of these routine updates, 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, 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 the computer back on, it went back to being stuck on the same configuration process.
Here are some things you can try to bail your system out of updating purgatory.
When trying to reboot your PC, you may be confronted with the message that says “Failure configuring Windows update. Reverting changes. Do not turn off your computer." This means that something in the update has failed, and the system is attempting to undo the updates and return to its 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.
1. 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. 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.
2. System Restore
You may need to undo the changes that were made during the aborted update. System Restore is built into Windows, and it 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, then select Recommended Restore and click 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.
3. 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. They will be 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 technician, as there may be hardware issues.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: When I open my pc [Windows 7] it says "Configuring Service Pack Please..... Computer" it says that for ten minutes then it says Shut down and it does this every time I turn it on. What must I do?
Answer: Did you just format your PC? you may need to take it to a certified computer technician for a check-up and an update of the service pack.
Question: When I open my pc [Windows 7] it says "Configuring Service Pack Please..... Computer" and after about 10mins , it says Shut down. What must I do?
Answer: Perhaps your Operating System was not properly configured or some of the files are corrupt. Do a backup of your existing files and re-configure the OS. If the problem is not solved, contact a certified technician.
Question: My windows 7 was given to me. It has been stuck on the "configuring windows failed". I'm about to try what you suggested. My question is what If I don't know the admin username or password? The gentleman that gave me the computer gave me several to try but none of them worked.
Answer: Please get windows password reset disk. if you can't get it done, you have to re-install Windows.
Bhashkaramatya123@gmail.com on June 12, 2020:
Thanks it works!
Jimmy on January 26, 2020:
Thanks Buddy It's Work
Omogiade Stephen Nosakhare (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on December 17, 2019:
Contact a certified computer Technician, Thanks
Shubham on November 23, 2019:
I have same problem but it doesn't work
Allan on April 13, 2019:
Thanks it works
Wesley on April 09, 2019:
I have a similar problem, but not the same, i also get "preparing to congigure ..." message, but after a few minutes, my pc just reboots allover again ...
Xej on December 29, 2018:
It doestn do anything when i try to go to safe mode it saids the same message
Chelsea on December 03, 2018:
I got my laptop from my grandparents. It won't stop. I tried multiple days and hours without anything happening. It's just stuck and won't change. Help?
Lan on October 22, 2018:
Thanks Heidi. That works for me.
Heidi on October 17, 2018:
I just had the same problem and the Update screen had been on for almpst an hour. I then tried to press Ctrl+Alt+Del and it went straight to the login screen.
Tamir Omara on September 29, 2018:
Try disconnecting the computer from the internet. It worked for me!
Emily on June 07, 2018:
Yeah I've been having the same problem too!
I've waited for like 1 whole day for the reverting update thing but sadly Im still stuck on it ... I think I'll probably sell my laptop to the junkyard -_-
Albert on June 04, 2018:
Same problem try press Windows bottom corner left press settings press update security Windows press update scroll down to change active hours start time means when you use your laptop business 9 till 5 that's when it's active so ends at 5 after that the downloads will start and stop at 9 in the morning hope this works let me know cheers p/s forgot to say after your time save it.
Nureni Lekan on March 30, 2018:
Hi Please My HP Laptop is giving me problem, The system keep saying window preparing configure, And is very slow to operate. please kindly help me out. From Nigeria.
Joe on January 31, 2018:
Hi, I just bought myself a new HP laptop from Argos in my home city of Dublin, Ireland on last Saturday and there is a problem with it. It gets stuck on the screen saying, "Preparing to configure Windows. Don't turn off your computer" when I selected restart and it won't restart. It takes a very long time to configure Windows. I've been waiting for about an hour. It's really weird. I am very worried and stressed about it.
Can you tell how do I fix this problem?
Rob on September 27, 2017:
While configuring after few seconds it stops.and the loading ring stops rotating
Please help meeeee
T babes on August 07, 2017:
Thank you so much. It works for me. God bless you.
Chiefcmg on June 22, 2017:
My new laptop is 2 days old and its doing this ? Im getting my 600 dollars back refund dumb idiots who make laptops
tasha on June 17, 2017:
Hello, my computer is stuck on configuring please do not turn off computer! its been like that for 6 hours I am a business I need it up! any ideas how to get that to go away?
Benson Kela on June 13, 2017:
Tnx Boss, u just brought me out of a big challange. Keep up the good work.
Gware on May 12, 2017:
Have experienced this issue on computer that Windows 7 installed on for 6 years when installing May 2017 updates. Left computer on for approximately 9.5 hours and issue resolved itself. Appears to be just another Microsoft issue with installation of updates on some computers.
Mahdie on May 03, 2017:
Hi. My lap top is preparing confiugre windows more than 12 hours and it do not shut down. Please tell me a solution
Laetitia on January 01, 2017:
What's written in my older brother's PC is "Configuring Windows Updates 12% complete do not turn off your PC" but it's always stuck at 12%. I've been waiting for like the whole day but it's still like that. It restarts and goes to configuring again. By the way I think his PC is still using Windows 7. I'm afraid that he will scold me. What should I do?
Omogiade Stephen Nosakhare (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on December 16, 2016:
You can contact a certified technician if the solution provided did not solve your problem. There may be other issues.
Tracey on November 22, 2016:
I have tried f8 and ctrl+alt+del and it's still stuck on 15% configuring? Its not doing anything! Is there something else I can try?
Rob on October 19, 2016:
Thanks Deniz! That did the trick.
Michael on July 12, 2016:
When in safe mode make sure C: drive is not out of space. In my case I have to increase the size of C: drive which fixed the problem. I have virtual environment, if your PC is physical make sure you delete unwanted space from your C: drive to get back the space.
Umesh on June 10, 2016:
Please disable auto restart option in F8 function then it will work.
tochii on March 30, 2016:
My window 7 has been stucked on the failure to configure page. I have tried safe mode as directed but it still gets stucked same place. Can any other thing I done with me having to lose my files?
Vincent Baird on November 05, 2015:
If pc continuously 'reverting changes' manually install the available Windows updates one at a time until you find the failing update- troubleshoot individually, or exclude the failing update from the install list
ranjana kaplish on October 23, 2015:
Failure. Configuration. Windows update reverting changes..do not turn off. Your computer... Its showing this thing.. What should i do??
Patrick on June 15, 2015:
Deniz you saved my life!!
Never did a hard restart but was still stuck on the "Preparing to configure Windows..." and trying to be patient. Stuck all night. CTRL+ALT+DEL brought the login prompt right up!!
A.Hop on May 07, 2015:
Ironic, at this very moment my laptop is stuck on the "Failure Configuring Windows Updates" error message screen (for the past 3 hours), and I just discovered that I do not have restore points at all on that system, as I just installed a new hard drive yesterday. This means I get to reinstall Windows 7 - all over again. Fortunately, I also have this relic of a desktop...
insky on April 04, 2015:
It was not possible initially to start my computer as I could not get past
the message Failure configuring updates uninstalling programs do not turn off your computer, however I found that holding down the Enter key
for several seconds enabled the computer to start.
I hope this is just a one off.
Gerald on February 25, 2015:
thanks a lot of this article it help my problem. god bless
Celeste on January 08, 2015:
Last week I had 10 updates which failed and I had to revert back to an older update. Now for a week I have tried to install updates (146 of them now because I reverted to back before a service package) anyway... The updates install then when I turn it back on it goes to configuring windows update - doesn't pass 0% before failure to configure and I get stuck in the reverting stage.
Reading a windows troubleshoot said to turn off antivirus for one reset then turn back on once configured. Still failing to configure.
Any advice on why this may be?
Omogiade Stephen Nosakhare (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on December 26, 2014:
Thanks for all comments. I observed that starting some systems from safe mode may not resolve the issue. It is however the primary starting point which has proved useful as attested to many computer users. If the configuration process is 100% done as written on the system screen, you need to be patient, no cause for alarm.
If every avenue to get it resolved is exhausted, you may need to re-install an operating system.
Joe black on August 30, 2014:
My laptop said please wait and I waited 20minutes already.Can someone please fix this and tell how to do it and it said restarting but it went back the same problem.
Tracy on August 22, 2014:
Omogiade, thank you so much for posting this. I waited an hour on that stupid screen and your instructions worked perfectly. Thanks again sit!
Jonathan on August 15, 2014:
If I turn off then on will it go back to it Answer No
Bia on June 09, 2014:
mine goes back to that same screen...f8. didn't help at all ctrl alt del didn't either please heeelllppp :/ win8
sherry on June 02, 2014:
my computer say failure configuring windows updates reverting changes do not turn off computer. but It turned off and then when i turned back on it says the same thing what should i or shouldn't i do?
maya on May 25, 2014:
Will this delet every thing from my computer?
Prem on May 23, 2014:
F8 doesn't work for me
Omogiade Stephen Nosakhare (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 21, 2014:
Follow the steps I discussed and the problem will be solved. If the problem persist contact Microsoft help desk or perhaps you may need to format your system.
shey on April 13, 2014:
I found an error " failure configuring windows update...... " so I waited then after a while it shows restarting. Then it goes back again in the same error..
Omogiade Stephen Nosakhare (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on December 09, 2013:
Except there are other technical problems, the steps I discussed will bail you out.
sandeep d on November 27, 2013:
hi ...i hav also got d same problem since 1 month." reverting changes , do not turn off ur computer". it takes almost 15 -20 mins to start my laptop. its windows 7.
Omogiade Stephen Nosakhare (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on September 15, 2013:
What exactly is written on your PC screen. Is it the same as this article suggest. You got to do more explanation because there could be other factors, if this proffered solution did not help you.
mahesh on September 15, 2013:
hi all my pc has the same problem but it was restarting every time ..... how can i over come this problem..... can any one tell me the solution for this....
lorokk on August 15, 2013: