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Windows update went bad, now my PC is stuck in endless updating cycle

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 16, 2009 7:09 AM PDT
Question: Windows update went bad, now my PC is stuck in endless updating cycle

My Windows Vista laptop downloaded some Windows automatic updates and the third update never updated properly. Now my computer is stuck in a cycle of trying to update then shutting down and restarting. I've tried to restart my computer, but as soon as I log in the computer, it cycles back to the update that never installs. Is there a way I can bypass this and restore my computer? Right now I can't use my computer at all. Help!

--Submitted by Susannah M.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Windows update problems --Submitted by jacksaul1

This should work --Submitted by TheSalemCat

Endless update cycle --Submitted by john.ford1

A few settings need to change... --Submitted by NoellyB

If you have any additional advice or suggestions for Susannah, please click on the reply link and post your answer. Please be as detailed as possible in your answer and if you are referencing information, please provide the link. Thanks!
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Update gone bad

Did you try the simple way out 1st.
Go Back?

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by andylites / October 24, 2009 1:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Update gone bad


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Stuck in Windows update 3

I too had the same problem last week and the only way I was able to recover was to restore my computer to a previous date.

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Windows Update Recycle

I'm not a real Techy, but I think the best way to combat this is to start your computer in 'Safe Mode' and Restore your system to an earlier date.

If you don't know how to start in 'Safe Mode', all you have to do is start up your computer and repeatedly hit the f8 button till it gives you the option to start in 'Safe Mode'

I hope this helps

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by salsashark / October 24, 2009 2:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Windows Update Recycle

Go to control panel, click on security center, go to automatic updates then change your preferences to notify me but don't automatically download or install them, which you should do anyways since you don't want all the downloads....unless you just really like SP3 or IE8 lol. Then do a restart. It will not download or update unless you tell it to and which ones to update. Then do your updates and when you are done, change it back. Easier and quicker than a system restore.

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Answer: Windows Repair

My experience with this problem is that the Microsoft article linked above was utterly useless. System Restore only works if you have restore points saved on your computer. If you're like me and you've been perpetually putting off backing up your machine, you don't have any restore points to fall back on. So you're probably going to be stuck doing a System Repair.

Just insert your Vista disk, press any key to boot from CD when prompted, and follow the dialogue to start a System Repair. You may have to reinstall some programs, but your old user profiles and all of your data will be preserved in a new file on your C: drive called "Windowsold" or something along those lines.

As far as I know, MS has yet to release any actuall fix for this issue.

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System Restore
by TheSalemCat / October 16, 2009 10:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer: Windows Repair

System Restore is enabled by default. It is not related to doing Backups.

If you are able to restore to a point previous to the problematic update, immediately go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore, and create a new Restore Point.

Then try the Update again.

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I have the same problame the only way out is to restore to an ealier date

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Restore Points
by TheSalemCat / October 16, 2009 10:36 AM PDT
In reply to: stuck

Occasionally the Restore Points get wiped out, even when there is plenty of Hard Drive space for them, and System Restore is enabled.

Then a Repair is needed. Do NOT do a Rebuild unless you've tried a Repair.


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More info
by tealcat / October 16, 2009 10:19 AM PDT

It would be helpful to know what update is causing the problem. But one way to get around the problem would be to boot into safe mode, then go to the security center in the control panel and turn off windows automatic updates.

This should allow you to boot normally, then you can do a manual update, choose to view available updates, and the first update listed should be the one causing the problem. Uncheck it, then right click on it and choose to hide that update.

I hope this helps you.

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stuck in reboot loop
by mleebuis / September 8, 2015 12:51 PM PDT
In reply to: More info

I'm trying to get Windows 7 back, after upgrading to 10. I can't get to anything but f2 setup, or f12. Neither one of them is any use right now. If I do a 7 reinstall disk, how am I going to get it installed?

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Tip: don't hide new requests in very old posts.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 8, 2015 12:59 PM PDT
In reply to: stuck in reboot loop

This is 6 years later so start a new post and don't leave out details.

Be aware folk might tell you the "back to 7 from 10" discussion is well done. That is, you restore from your backup.

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Window Update Problem
by conwils / October 16, 2009 10:24 AM PDT

You may want to have a technician fix it and diagnose it online. PLaces like Geek will do it for a fixed rate and will do it while on the phone with you. Tell them about the problem and see if they can fix it. Chances are they will. If they can't you may have to contact Microsoft themselves and have them fix the problem

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Windows update went bad, now my
by sidhulo / October 16, 2009 10:33 AM PDT

boot up
f8...get into safemode
then reset your puter to day before screw up

those 3 updates will be gone
that simple

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Windows update went bad, now my
by Jakems91 / October 17, 2009 3:42 AM PDT

Thanks all for the many seemingly workable responses, but, in some cases, at least mine, you cannot access safe mode, cannot repair and cannot do any of the usual escapes. It sounds good to do all the usual things but whatever update 3 was, it would nor repair, allow safe mode boot or start anything in a normal mode. There is an unknown error and it seems Microsoft is the last to respond, as usual. My repair was to reinstall from scratch, a pain,as all know so well.

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Hi, have you already reinstalled the Operating system?
by yadurpravin / October 19, 2009 4:06 AM PDT

have you already reinstalled the Operating system?
If no then tell me if you have the laptop still in warranty period.
If the answer is a second no then there is a way that you could remove the bios battery and then every thing would be back in its place no need to do any reinstallation or any other things. But this method is only recommended if you are quiet comfortable with removing the tiny screws of your laptop and then fixing them back again as they were. For that you would require a mini screwdriver set specifically and specially made for laptops and the like which you can purchase in the market.
Hope this helps you in case you haven't done the re-installation already.

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by 25yomastertech / February 4, 2016 1:21 PM PST

Can't GET to safe mode..A UPDATE is in the way...SIMPLE,,HUH??

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Thread is from 2009.
by Dafydd Forum moderator / February 4, 2016 1:31 PM PST
In reply to: Your WRONG

Unlilely to get further replies so locking.

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pc cycles
by hayesaw / October 16, 2009 10:34 AM PDT

try starting your computer in safe mode then go to system restore.

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Windows update went bad

One way is to restore the PC to the last restore date prior to the update.

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installing update 3 of 3
by sam nugent jr / October 23, 2009 9:47 AM PDT

Ya this happened to me. I bought a E-machine from best buy I also had bought the service contract 3 years to. I tried rebooting it ,that didn't work so I packed it up and took it back to best buy Well after 3 0r 4 weeks I finally went back to the store.They told me that it was a software problem and that was not covered, that it would cost 200 to 300 bucks to fix. Well I did not think that was right, pulled my computer and took it to other cumputer store

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Turn of those updates
by sij_rocky / October 23, 2009 3:30 PM PDT

The best solution is to turn off automatic updates. Just go to control panel, security center and select the option Ask before installing updates. Using this u can manually select which updates u want to install.
As for the looping problem u need to restart ur computer in safe mode and do a system restore to the date u started having this problem. This should solve the problem

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MY PC is stuck in continous update cycle!!
by sfaidley / October 25, 2009 1:29 AM PDT

Ever since I loaded Windows 3.0, my PC has been stuck in an update cycle. I believe this is the 9th Bug fix update, and I've had to pay for them all. They tell me this one is the real thing and will solve all my problems. I'm not sure I trust them as they have told me this 8 times before. It is a shame there isn't a lemon law for software like there is for cars. If Bill Gates had to make good on all his promises and fix the crap he sold he would be on welfare right now!

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Re: Windows 3.0
by Kees Bakker / October 25, 2009 1:37 AM PDT

Yes, I remember that. It came out in 1992. Do you still have your 1992 PC? Or did you reinstall it on a more recent one?


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This should work
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TheSalemCat, FYI I deleted your post in reference to the...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 23, 2009 4:15 AM PDT
In reply to: This should work

XP solution. I didn't want other to get confused.

Thanks for providing the correct link for Vista!


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Windows XP "stuck in update" solution
by andrea2390 / October 23, 2009 1:37 PM PDT

Hi Lee,

How would be the best way for you to repost your original solution for Windows XP. Mine is stuck in a service pack update part 3. Thank you.


P.S. I know this is the wrong forum, but I am so grateful this issue was brought up.

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Unsticking the Update Cycle.

Shutdown your computer the hard way, press and hold the power button for four seconds. Once the computer is shut down then bring it back up in safe mode. Refer to your owners manual on how to do this as it is different on all systems. Once you're in safe mode then roll your system back to a period before the update download and installation. After the roll back is finished you'll want to reinstall all your necessary items that were backed up during the rollback. Once that's finished you can safely restart your computer and everything should work just fine.

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Safe Mode and System Restore

Boot in Safe Mode by tapping F8 key when your computer first starts.. Select Safe Mode and do a System Restore. Start -Search- System Restore


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Thanks! The Endless Update Cycle Has Been Ended
by susmay1 / October 23, 2009 12:56 PM PDT

Thanks to everyone for the great information and advice. I was able to stop the endless update cycle and now my computer is back to working order. I was able to use F8 and, after several attempts, finally got to the repair computer option at which point I did the system restore. I restored my computer to a point right before the offending update occurred.

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