[SOLVED] Windows Update Stuck at 27%

Updating Windows computers is normally a straightforward process that doesn’t take too long. However, sometimes Windows updates get stuck. One common place for Windows updates to get stuck is at 27%.

Normally, you will find that you are stuck on a grey or blue screen with a spinning wheel and a message saying:

Working on updates 27%. Don’t turn off your PC. This will take a while

Depending on which version of Windows you have, the message may instead read:

Preparing to configure Windows

Configuring Windows Updates

Please do not power off your machine

Getting Windows ready

This is particularly common when updating to Windows 10 version 1903 and on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 updates. It also happens with more recent Windows 10 updates as well.

Note: Windows updates can take a long time to complete. You should always make sure that your update is actually stuck before you do anything.

Why is my Windows update stuck at 27%?

Not all Windows updates which hang at 27% are actually stuck. Sometimes the installation process is just taking a long time.

When Windows updates are actually stuck, this normally happens because there is a problem with your computer or the software installed on it is conflicting with the update. Sometimes it can also happen because there is a problem with the Microsoft update itself, although this is rare.

Note: After you have fixed the update being stuck, you should repair any issues with your computer which are causing disruption to the Windows update installation process.

What do I do?

Before you do anything, you should:

  • Unplug USB devices to help your computer carry out the Windows update process
  • Make sure that you are actually stuck

How to know if your update is actually stuck

Most people consider 3 hours to be long enough for even large Windows updates to complete. Between 5 minutes and 3 hours is the normal time it takes for installing Windows updates.

First

Before you do anything, you should wait for 3 hours and see if the installation completes by itself.

Next

If it has not finished after this time, have a look at the hard drive activity light on your computer. This will be in different locations on different computers, in various colors, and with various symbols.

If this light is either completely on or completely off this suggests that your computer is actually stuck. If it flashes intermittently this suggests that it is still processing the update.

If the activity light is flashing

If you have waited 3 hours and there is activity on your activity light, then you can either assume for yourself that the update is stuck or wait longer as it may not actually be stuck. Some updates can even take overnight to complete. We suggest that you wait for 5 – 8 hours before assuming that it is stuck.

If the activity light is n0t flashing

If you have waited 3 hours and there is no activity on your activity light it is fairly safe to assume that your update is stuck and that you should take remedial action.

If you need to take remedial action because your update is stuck, then here is what to do…

Option #1: Press Ctrl+Alt+Del

Sometimes Windows just hangs while it is trying to install the update. If this is the case, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del should take you to your login screen. If Windows is just hanging, after logging in the update will install by itself.

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del
  2. If your normal login screen appears enter your user name and password
  3. Log in
  4. After you have logged in, the update will continue. Allow the update to finish
  • If you are taken to your home screen and a message tells you the update has failed, then skip ahead to option #4: Run Windows Update troubleshooter
  • Sometimes, when you press Ctrl+Alt+Del the computer will restart instead of taking you to your login or home screen. If this is the case, then go to Option #2: Restart your computer and allow the update to finish.

Option #2: Restart your computer and allow the update to complete

Restarting Windows can help a stuck Windows update to finish installation. If your computer automatically restarted after pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del, then skip to step 3 in the following process. If you are restarting from scratch go to step 1.

  1. Turn off your computer by pressing the power button. Sometimes you will have to hold the button down for a few seconds before it will turn off
  2. Turn your computer back on
  3. On startup, If you are not given the option of starting Windows in safe mode, it will start again normally and resume the update. If you are given the option of starting Windows in safe mode then choose to start it in safe mode. Skip ahead to option #3 on restarting your computer in safe mode
  4. If you are not able to access safe mode just allow the update to complete
  5. You should treat this as a fresh update. It makes takes a long time to complete.
  • On startup, if you are taken to your home screen and a message tells you the update has failed, then skip ahead to option #4: Run Windows Update troubleshooter

Option #3: Restart your computer in safe mode

By choosing to start Windows in safe mode during boot up you will limit the processes which are taking place on your computer. Safe mode will only allow essential system software to run. Other software installed on your computer may be interfering with Microsoft software and preventing the update from installing correctly.

You should have already been able to boot into safe mode and will now be in the startup process

  1. Your update should automatically resume
  2. Allow the update to complete
  3. You should treat this as a fresh update. It makes take a long time to complete

Option #4: Run Windows Update troubleshooter

If the update has failed and you have been taken to your home screen, then you can try running the Windows update troubleshooter. This will normally fix any issues which are causing the Windows update process to fail.

The process is different depending on which version of Windows you have.

On a Windows 10 Update…

  1. Search for Settings in the Search bar
  2. Click on Settings and go to Update and Security
  3. Go to Troubleshoot
  4. Click on Windows Update
  5. Choose Run the Troubleshooter
  6. Allow the troubleshooter to run. If the troubleshooter finds any issues it will resolve them automatically.

After you have run the troubleshooter, try to install your Windows update again. Hopefully, you don’t get stuck when you try installing the update again.

Option #5: Do a system restore

Performing a system restore will return your computer to a point before you tried to carry out the update. From here you will be able to repair whatever problem is causing your Windows update to fail. You will need to do a system restore from safe mode.

To do this on Windows 7 or 8, the process might be slightly different.

Instructions for how to do this on Windows 10…

  1. Turn off your computer by pressing the power button. On some computers, you may have to hold the button down for a few seconds before it will turn off
  2. Turn it back on
  3. Choose to Start Windows in Safe Mode
  4. You should be taken to your home screen
  5. Search for Run in the Search bar and open the Run app
  6. Type ‘sysdm.cpland click OK
  7. The System Properties window will open
  8. Click System Restore
  9. Click Next and then select a restore point before you tried to install the update
  10. Click Next and then Finish
  11. Allow the system restore to take place

After the system restore has taken place you should resolve whatever issue is causing updates to fail and then try to install it again. Hopefully, you don’t get the Windows update stuck at 27% error again.

Option #6: Carry out an automatic repair

If none of the above fixes have worked you can try carrying out a startup repair. On Windows 10 and 8 this can be done from the advanced startup options. You will need Windows 10 or 8 installation media on either a USB or hard disk in order to carry this out.

  1. Insert your installation media into the computer
  2. Turn off your computer
  3. Turn it back on
  4. On startup, press the appropriate key to take you to BIOS settings
  5. Look for Boot Priority Options
  6. Set your hard disk or USB flash drive as the highest boot priority
  7. Restart your computer
  8. Select your language, time and currency format, and keyboard, and then click next
  9. You will encounter a Windows screen
  10. Click Next and then click Repair your Computer
  11. Allow the startup repair process to take place

After it has finished you will be taken to your home screen. From here, you should resolve whatever issue is causing updates to fail and then try to install it again. Hopefully, you don’t get stuck at 27% again.

Option #8: Erase your hard drive and reinstall Windows

If you can’t find any way to escape the Windows update stuck at 27% error, then as a last resort you can reformat your hard drive and reinstall Windows. You will need Windows 10 or other installation media on either a USB or a hard disk in order to carry this out.

This will completely erase all of your data and should only be done as a last resort.

  1. Insert your USB stick or hard disk into your computer
  2. Turn off your computer
  3. Turn it back on and press the appropriate key to take you to BIOS settings
  4. Look for Boot Priority Options
  5. Set your hard disk or USB flash drive as the highest boot priority
  6. Restart your computer
  7. Select your language, time and currency format, and keyboard, and then click next
  8. You will encounter a Windows screen
  9. Follow the prompts until you get to a page asking if you want an Upgrade Install or a Custom Install
  10. Choose Custom Install
  11. Choose System Partition
  12. Click Format Now and follow the prompts
  13. Allow the process to finish