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When I went to shutdown it indicated there were updates. I continued to shutdown and now it says

Please do not power off or unplug your machine. Installing update 1 of 1...

There is a progress indicator spinning.

This has been going for over an hour now. I did try to do a hard shutdown of the machine. When I turned it back on it went right back to this Windows Update screen.

Should I just let it go? Is there something wrong? Is it ever going to finish or do I have to somehow abort this?

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It ended up taking just a long time, about 1 hour and half. – DahlinDev May 14 '12 at 15:14
With Windows its always best to be patient! – Moab May 14 '12 at 17:08

I have been involuntary help desk for a similar Windows 7 issue, where it took, I kid you not, more than 24h for the update to finish. The only reason the computer was let to have this much time is that I was geographically not there and the best advice I could give was "just let it be".

I actually have no experience of updates hanging forever, just that it can feel like forever, so I suggest just leaving it on for a long time (overnight) before looking at other actions. If there was a hardware failure, hopefully some internal test would notify you.

And curse the programmers (their bosses, more likely) that don't include progress bars with any connection to reality. "People like stuff that is moving. Let's spin that cube/progress that bar, even if nothing is happening!"

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Interesting answer that doesn't involve the repair option on boot disk. – hydroparadise May 14 '12 at 15:21

There was a similar problem in Vista, it was called the "3 of 3 reboot loop". The solution for that should resolve your problem as well.

  1. Boot from the Windows System Repair Disc and choose the repair option in the lower left hand corner, choose System Restore, and select a Restore Point predating the attempted installation of the updates.

    (If you don't have the DVD and Vista/W7 came preinstalled on the machine, use F8 at the BIOS splash screen to get the Windows Advanced Screen, choose "Repair Your Computer" from the list, let Windows RE load then do a system restore.)

  2. If restore fails to get it booting properly, load the recovery environment "command prompt" and enter

    Del C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml
  3. Exit recovery environment and restart the PC.

You may get "1 of 1" again, but be patient, the desktop should load. Create a restore point and turn off automatic updates until you can figure out which update caused the issue.

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Thanks Daniel Andersson – Moab May 14 '12 at 17:08

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