Microsoft Windows

Computer Froze Mid-Update? Here’s How To Fix It

Stop Everything You’re Doing — Windows is Updating…

Is it just me, or does Windows update at the most inopportune times?!  It seems like that is the exact moment I need to use my PC, shut down the device, or I’m in a hurry to get the day going.  But then I get thrown into a “wait on Windows update” loop.

As annoying as the timing may be, these updates are important for the device.  Therefore, as the user, we are stuck waiting for the process to wrap up.  Although, there may be times that we cannot do this.  For instance, business travelers cannot exactly leave their computers on to update while flying, and there are certainly times these updates end up freezing the device.  What do you do then?

While the update screen is showing, users do not have access to power down their computer.  The only way to kill the power to the device is to do a hard-shutdown.  This means, manually holding down the power button for a few seconds until the machine shuts down.

But wait, the update often will specifically state “Do not shut down the device”.  Yes, yes it does.  However, if the device needs to be powered off for safety reasons, or because it is frozen, you don’t have any other option.

So, you’ve shut down the computer, mid-update.  Now what?  According to testing completed by How To Geek, what you see next will depend on how far the update got.  If the update did not yet begin, the user will be able to log back into their computer and will get a notification that the update was not completed.  Now, if the update started, any updates made prior to the shutdown will be reversed to the previous version.  The user will then be able to log in and will be notified the update was unable to complete.

During the testing completed by How To Geek, there were no negative effects of doing a hard-shutdown mid-update.  Although, that is not to say all devices will react the same.  If the update is not frozen, and the user can wait out the update, they most certainly should.  However, if the device freezes mid-update, a hard-shutdown is the only option.  Users are encouraged to maintain timely backups of the files on their computers to avoid any irreversible damage.

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7 thoughts on “Computer Froze Mid-Update? Here’s How To Fix It”

  1. I had this happen during a power crash & had no control over the update. Log on’s have been have been more difficult to do since then.

  2. In Part 2 of the spring Windows update, I keep getting the “you need more space” message. My 5 year old dual boot tablet has only 60 GB on the Windows side but 124 GB of space on the SD card “D” drive. There is only 9 GB of empty space on “C” drive with Windows taking up ~40 GB of that. The update says it wants 14 GB more space. It seems that the Windows update recognizes neither the “D” drive nor an external HD drive. Checking the tablet’s Storage Setting does show that they are recognized by the tablet’s processor. With everything I’ve tried, Windows Update ends up showing a failed update attempt with the Notification that I need to free up more space. When you try to “FIX” the issue, the Windows icon shows that there is no “D” drive (SD card) or “E” drive, the external HD drive. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  3. Misleading headline didn’t see how to fix the freezing, my computer always freezes the update at the 78% mark. Hard Shutdown and it restores previous version of Windows. I gave up trying to update after several tries.

    1. Hi Billy, if you’re having persistent issues with the update even after doing a hard shutdown, we would encourage you to contact Microsoft.

  4. When it happened to me, I didn’t even know the update was in process. What happened is a box came up blocking the “SEND” button in Yahoo. I don’t remember what the box said, but it wasn’t a specific warning. When I couldn’t remove/move the box and needed to send the email, I attempted to shut down normally the button was blocked/inactive. I did a hard shut down. When I tried to re-boot, the startup routine was corrupted and I lost tge ability to start the computer. I was able to recover the data with a new hard drive, but it should not have happened.

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