Windows Server 2008 “Stage 3 of 3” Fixes
July 31, 2013 Leave a comment
Well, unfortunately, I do .. if only for a little while longer (famous last words, for a production server).
Anyhow, these symptoms appear from a routine update operation:
- You order a system restart.
- The system displays the “Configuring Windows Updates – do not unplug .. “.
- The system goes into POST operations.
From here, all is well, until it displays the message: “Configuring Windows Updates – Stage 3 of 3 0% Complete”, from which it never recovers.
There are several unrelated causes for this, per other aggrieved users .. your mileage may vary. However, you simply cannot fix issues with the system when it’s in the “3 of 3” state, so here’s how to get back to the console to debug:
- Try pressing Control-Alt-Delete. In about half the cases, you will get the login screen, but it can take a few minutes to appear. If you can, log on and check your system logs for evidence of the hang (LSASS.EXE deadlock is a likely culprit .. try fixing that first).
- If you cannot get into the system gracefully, hold down the power button until the system switches off. Restart the machine in normal mode.
- If the system hangs at the “3 of 3” state, hold down the power button again until the system switches off. Restart the system in safe mode with networking.
- Once restarted in safe mode, the system will likely show the “3 of 3” state, but this time, should get to 100%.
- Navigate to C:\WINDOWS\WINSXS and look for a file called “pending.xml”. If you find it, delete it and restart the system in normal mode.
From here, you’re troubleshooting .. I like the deadlock reference above for starts. This condition was fixed in the hotfix referenced by KB2379016: “A computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 stops responding and hangs at the "Applying User Settings" stage of the logon process”, I’d give that a try first.