Getting out of a no boot situation after installing updates on Windows 7-2008R2

A call we receive from time to time is how to enable the rollback of a hotfix when it appears to be in a hung state.  Commonly the symptom is that the user has rebooted and is now stuck at a screen which reads "Completing stage 3 of 3" over and over, with the update never completing.

This occurs for several different reasons, but luckily we have a solution in Windows 7 and 2008 R2 (which releases officially this time next week).  Its the /revertpendingactions command that I mentioned in an earlier blog entry.  I figured I would discuss its usage quickly here based on a conversation I was having with my co-worker the other day about the command.

First, the command is located in the new DISM tool.  To utilize this you must reboot the system into the Windows Recovery Environment by either booting from media or choosing F8 on boot for a Windows 7/2008 R2 installation (WinRE is built into installations now).  Once you are in the WinRE environment, choose the command prompt option and switch to the root directory of the Windows installation you are repairing.

The run the following command: DISM /image:<drive letter which holds the Windows directory>\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions.  A sample command for an installation installed to C:\Windows would be:

DISM /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

Once this is done you should see some messaging that says:

Reverting pending actions from the image.... The operation completed.  Any revert of pending actions will be attempted after reboot.

Reboot your machine and you will now see a new splash screen that says "Reverting pending actions" with a progress indicator in replacement of the previous "Stage 3 of 3" screens.