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Vista x32 ultimate stuck on window update 3 of 3 - keeps rebooting.

Dont have the os disk to hand to repair, safemode - all 3 dont work.

Advanced options - last known config - doesnt work either

Any suggestions

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Have you unplugged all cables and devices from the computer? – random Jul 30 '09 at 8:06
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This worked for me: I did not have an OS disc available.

BE AWARE – Manually changing system files is highly risky – exhaust all other avenues first.

From link

I could see a possible solution was to delete or rename the file C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml

When I tried by going into System Repair and choosing the command prompt boot option it appeared to let me rename this file to something else – but in the background Vista had not changed the file for the system as a whole - only for my user login.

Therefore I connected the hard disc from the ailing computer into a working Vista PC. I booted up the working PC – and was then able to follow the instructions in the following link:


run a command prompt with "Run as Administrator".

Type in the following commands:

takeown /f C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml

cacls C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml /G <YourUsername>:F

I was then able to copy pending.xml off as a backup.

then I deleted the file.

I ran checkdisk and returned the hard disc to it’s computer. This time on boot Vista did not get stuck on the endless reboot cycle.

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+1 thanks Paul will give that a go. – littlegeek Sep 22 '09 at 11:37
You could change the file without fiddling with hardware by booting an Ubuntu or other LiveCD. – CarlF Oct 17 '09 at 19:41

The idea of removing the pending.xml from c:\windows\winsxs is a great idea but also you should move/delete any other files in that folder starting with pending.xml. and allow Windows update to build a fresh new update check, the first check takes a while but usually carries on from where the updates got up to without problems.

In my case I used Hirens Boot CD to boot the Mini Windows XP to allow me to access c:\windows\winsxs

Made a folder in the root called c:\pendings and moved all files starting with pending.xml to that folder, if you are a DOS box fan then the following is a nice fast repair...

Assuming C: is where your windows folder resides...

md c:\pendings

move c:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml*.* c:\pendings

shutdown -r -t 0

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Unfortunately you have to get the CD /DVD from Some where and you can resolve this issue

Depending on your version place any 32 or 64 bit VISTA dvd in your computer and reboot it.

Boot from the DVD ROM

Select restore from a previous restore point

The first two restore points available to me failed. i had to go back 3 days before i found one that worked for me.

After that, manually attempt to download and install the update that was giving you issue. i simply disabled automatic updates until i can find out more about why this even happened.

Source :

Might be these links useful for you :

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Question clearly states that he does not have the disk – random Jul 30 '09 at 8:58
Answer clearly states he has to get the disk from "somewhere" – Phoshi Oct 17 '09 at 19:31

Please use this solution that I have placed on this forum.

Please follow exactly these steps then you computer should be working again.

I have used the following solution. Restart f8 then choose option restore computer. choose option open command. type: prompt winsxs (press enter) type: move C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml text.xml (press enter) type: exit and restart computer. Computer should be working again.

good luck. hope it works for you. pieter.

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