Vista update installing 3 of 3 loop

Got a call from mate the other day. His laptop running Vista appeared to be stuck installing an update (which we later worked out to be SP1), and continuously rebooting. The laptop was displaying ‘installing 3 of 3’ which didn’t really tell him too much.

The fact that he wasn’t even getting into windows severely limited his options on what he could do. Even trying to boot into safe mode was having the same result.

After a bit of searching around on the internet, I found a solution to his problem. And it looks like he’s not the only person that has experienced the exact symptoms.

Here’s what he did:
(Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any unexpected results of following the steps outlined below. You do so at your own risk, but if you do have the same problem as my mate, then you really don’t have much option other than to try it)

1) Boot from the Vista install disc
2) Choose your language, time etc and select the “Repair your computer” option.
3) Start a command prompt and delete/move the following file.
C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml. You can just move it elsewhere on the computer if need be.
4) Restart the PC, you’ll get the same ‘configuring updates’ screen but after a while it will carry onto the desktop.
5) Turn off automatic updates and create a restore point. Wait until MS fixes the update.

Hopefully after that your PC will will be working normally again.

Please post any comments on success/failure stories.

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