How to repair your Windows Vista if it would not stop configuring update stage 3 of 3 0% complete...

Personally, I have experienced so many things that happen during and after installing Windows update that I prefer to switch automatic updates off. There was a time a friend installed Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 and the audio went mute, many a time on Windows XP the computer will for any random reason show bluescreen and reboot. But on Windows Vista the most annoying is probably when you try shutting down and the computer installs automatic updates only to hang at "Configuring Update stage 3 of 3 0% complete..." and believe me it will remain at that stage forever! And when you power the computer down (cold boot) and power it up again, it would try to install the update again and go forever at the stage 3.

To repair this problem you will need to delete a pending.xml file in C:\Windows\winsxs folder. The major work is how to get there and delete it since you are unable to boot completely. There are probably more than 3 ways to do this.

1. You can slave your hard disk on another system, access your hard disk and perform the deletion.

2. You can use the command prompt (System Console) in the repair tools after booting from the vista DVD to repair. Some laptops have this repair option availble without having to boot from the DVD, just press F8 as soon as you power on the laptop. When you are in the command prompt, change directory to the C:\Windows\winsxs folder and rename pending.xml to pending.xml.bad or simply delete it. The problem I have with this option is that the prompt refuses to change from the default X:\ (boot partition) to the C:\ partition. I got several tips online as to how to make the partition accessible but none worked.

3. The surest and easiest means of carrying out this operation is to boot (hyperlink 'how to boot linux from CD or USB flash) from linux CD, browse to C:\Windows\winsxs folder using the lovely ever reliable Linux GUI folder browser and delete the culprit, pending.xml. Then restart the computer, remove the CD and boot straight into your Windows Vista.

It is just as easy as that, I have done it before and if you would like to know more about the pending.xml file you can google it.

If you are confused about anything, feel free to comment.


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