Windows – Applying Updates – 3 of 3, 0% complete … going on forever…

I ran into this the other day. A server (a virtual machine or VM to be exact) was trying to apply some new Security Patches on boot but it kept saying Applying updates, 3 of 3, 0% complete“.  This went on for an hour (and who knows how much longer it would have gone, had it ever finished). I tried rebooting to see if that helped (reset). But nope, another 15 minutes and no go.

So, here was the trick (oh so simple, but so forgettable when you are in a jam). I booted into Safe Mode (Safe Mode with Networking to be exact but that shouldn’t matter – remember to press F8 on boot). The screen came up again, but the applying 3 of 3 took only about 10 seconds this time and then booted me right into Windows. At that point, I simply restarted the server and it came back without halting or trying to apply the update anymore.

I imagine the moral of that story was that something/some driver was halting/making the system wait for something that never came. But in Safe Mode, where it performs so much less operationally, whatever it was waiting for never had to happen and the patch applied.

Hope this helps someone during a late night stress fest.

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