This post is a result of a recent repair I did on a Toshiba/Vista laptop. This may or may not help you with your own individual problem. This is the solution that I used to resolve the “Configuring Updates Step 3 of 3 — 0% Complete” infinite reboot cycle:
Requirements: You will need a “live cd” to boot into an environment from which you may delete or rename the “c:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml” file, to do this, I used the free and open source Ubuntu Linux distribution. You may also use a copy of BartPE, Winternals ERD or any other method to boot the machine to a command prompt that will allow you to access the NTFS volume. If you can boot to Safe Mode Command Prompt only. You will not need the Ubuntu CD. Just skip to step 11.
The specs for the laptop are as follows: Toshiba Satellite A205-S4567, Vista Home Ultimate.
Upon initial inspection it was discovered to be in a reboot loop. After post the unit showed a GUI with the message “configuring updates stage 3 of 3 0% complete”. After a moment or two the machine would restart and continue this process.
To fix this issue here is a Step-by-step method:
1) find a friend, relative, neighbor or co-worker with a working computer, and CD-Burner. Get a blank CDROM. Visit the Ubuntu download site: http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
2) download the desktop edition ISO.
3) burn the ISO to disk (if you don’t know how to do this do a bit of googling – it’s beyond the scope of this fix)
4) once burnt, boot your broken Windows Vista computer, you will likely have to change the boot settings to tell it to boot from the CDROM.
5) the Ubuntu CD should offer you a language selector and then the option “Try Ubuntu without modifying your computer”
6) Once Ubuntu has booted, go to the “Places” menu in the top menu bar.
7) Within the places menu, you’ll see some “disk drives” listed, you should be able to guess which one might be the one that is your Windows Vista C Drive by it’s size or name, e.g. “75.4GB disk” or “Presario” or “System” etc… it depends upon your computer. Once you’ve figured out which one it is then click it (don’t be scared to try each entry in turn)
9) a disk icon should then appear on the Ubuntu desktop that you can then double click and explore. If you see an error message that says something to the effect of cannot mount, fret not here is a way to get around that. Click on applications, then accessories, then terminal. enter the following command to ‘mount’ your drive.
sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/ -o force
10) Confirm that it’s the correct disk partition by opening the drive and looking for familiar folder names such as “Users”, “Windows” etc.. (if not try one of the others as described in step 7)
11) navigate to the following folder: windows/winsxs
12) locate the file “pending.xml” and delete it completely.
13) restart the computer via the Ubuntu System -> Quit… Restart options
14) remove the live cd when prompted.
15) let the machine boot up back into Windows Vista, it may go back to the “configuring updates” screen again – but don’t panic – be patient. It should switch after a while to say “Welcome” and eventually take you to your normal Windows Vista desktop.
This worked for me, I hope it works for you too. Keep in mind that there may be other ‘issues’ with the machine. They may be addressed separately. Once you are able to boot into a desktop environment, some additional diagnostics may be needed.