Windows 8.1 computer is frozen

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Windows 8.1
Hello experts, I'm stuck - literally. My Windows 8.1 computer is stuck on 'Preparing to configure Windows'. I've tried to turn the computer off and back on but that did nothing. I just don't know what to do. Can anyone help?
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It sounds like it died in the middle of a system update. Powering on/off during this process can cause the OS to fail. You might be able to reboot in safe mode and go back to the last good restore point to recover your system.

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  • bhannah
    I have to agree with ToddN2000. You will have to reboot and enter safe mode, and then start your investigation as to which patch failed. If it will restart in safe mode then you can go through the update history and look for the failed patch and remove it. If that does not work then you have will have to try a restore point. As one who is dealing with this issue and have a Win 8.1 system that is locked because of a failed patch. In my case though the locking of the system destroyed the restore points and now will not unlock the HD.
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  • ToddN2000
    @bhannah: What was the reason for the failed patch? Was is a bad patch from Microsoft or did something happen to your system when it was being applied? I'm curious as to if some patches may have pre-requisites and I know people that have auto updates turned off and only apply what they want. It makes me think this may be the cause of some future updates failing.
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  • bhannah
    @ToddN2000. I have had and still having this issues starting with Win 7 and proceeding through Win 8.1. In Win 7 it is usually the security updates that does it. In Win 8.1 it is still the security updates, but it also maybe a .Net update that caused the issue.  Microsoft support is useless on this level. I am still trying to repair the locked Win 8.1 drive.
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  • 8586virat
    Try to reboot it in safe mode and then restore it.
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  • bhannah
    @ToddN2000. To continue with the comments that you asked about on this one. I had just had Microsoft remove part of the thread about failed Microsoft Patches after someone else commented that they are having the same issue with the patches. I wonder what they are trying to hide. I am still trying to get answers for the locked hardrive but if Microsoft is going to delete issues to hide their mistakes then we may never get an answer.
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  • ToddN2000
    Big Corporate trying to hide something??? Nooooooo, that never happens :)
    If you know the patch that is causing the problem (KB number)
    you may be able to remove it in DOS mode.

    Open CMD Prompt or Notepad
    These commands can be run directly from the CMD prompt,
    or can be saved as a .bat file from notepad for use on multiple machines.
    I recommend creating a .bat file and changing the KB number as needed.

    This will run the uninstall without any open windows,
    and will not prompt for a reboot:
    @echo off
    wusa /uninstall /kb:2744842 /quiet /norestart
    END

    If you are manually running the script on a number of computers
    that you want to reboot after the uninstall,
    just change the /norestart switch to /forcestart:
    @echo off
    wusa /uninstall /kb:2744842 /quiet /forcestart
    END

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  • bhannah
    While I appreciate the thoughts that you supplied, I cannot get the HD open far enough to determine which patch failed on the Win 8.1 machine. When attempting to boot it, It immediately goes into a locked state and says repair me, and none of the Microsoft Supplied steps work to repair it. I did save the steps that you supplied to see if they would repair a damaged Win 7 machine.
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  • ToddN2000
    If you have the Windows CD you can try and boot from that. It might then get your system back to a point where you can fix it. You may need to change the boot sequence in the BIOS to boo from CD then HD.
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  • bhannah
    That is a step that I have already tried, but I appreciate the the thought. I belong to MSDN and I have already downloaded the latest and greatest install DVD for Win 8.1. You then allow it to boot from the DVD and then go to advanced utilities. There is a series of commands that you run that supposedly repair the damaged and locked boot structure and then you can run the repair utility to fix the bad patches. Only the commands do not unlock the drive so the repair utility can run. This is the point where I am at now. Microsoft has been useless at this point and I am not the only one that this has happened to.
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  • ToddN2000
    Definitely strange. It almost sound like there is a bad sector in the boot process. It may be flagged as a mechanical issue and there is no way to recover those bad sectors that I am aware of. If that is the case you might have to boot from the removable media and do a low level reformat of the drive and re-install Windows unfortunately. If you do get your system up with the CD/DVD back up everything you can before attempting anything.
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  • bhannah
    ToddN2000, Thank you for the thought. I was able to run some diagnostic utilities on the drive when it is out of the machine and sitting in an enclosure. Physically there is nothing wrong with the drive. Something in the failed Microsoft Patches caused the drive to lock,. It works perfectly fine in the enclosure and no bad sectors are found. I did some searching through the FAQ sheets on the Microsoft site about drive locking and I am not the only one that has encountered this issue. The main suggestion to repair this problem is to do a refresh of the O/S. The problem with doing a refresh is that if the drive is locked by the Microsoft error, then it will not allow a refresh. It also will not allow an upgrade to Win 10 for the same reason.
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  • ToddN2000
    @bhannah: Let me ask a few of my techies if they know of a fix. It does seem strange that it will work in an enclosure. The only thing I can think of it may have something to do with the boot process. I assume you are not booting from the drive when it's in the enclosure.
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  • bhannah
    Yes, when it is sitting in the enclosure it is not being booted from it, it is seen as just an external drive. If you go back a few messages in this group you will find that I mentioned running a series of command line commands that are supposed to unlock the drive and do not. After you these command line utilities then your run the repair from install utility on the install DVD and then it should be repaired, but it remains locked.
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