Stage 3 of 3, 0% completed.

So, I’ve got this issue after Windows updates on one of my servers.
After reboot it’s stuck on: Configuring updates Stage 3 of 3, 0% completed.

According to the following three articles I found:

  1. Susan Bradley “Configuring updates Stage 3 of 3, 0% completed (aka the heart attack screen)”
    http://www.channelprosmb.com/blog/entry/1515/Configuring-updates-Stage-3-of-3-0-completed-aka-the-heart-attack-screen/
  2. Steve Wiseman “stuck on “configuring updates stage 3 of 3 0% complete””
    http://www.networksteve.com/forum/topic.php?TopicId=10407
  3. Ian Matthews “Microsoft Windows Server 2008 / SBS 2008 Tip & Tricks”
    http://www.urtech.ca/2010/09/microsoft-windows-server-2008-sbs-2008-tip-tricks/

all you need to do to fix that is:

  1. Reboot into Recovery Mode.
  2. Rename or delete c:windowswinsxspending.xml
  3. Recreate HKLMBaseSystemCurrentControlSetControlSession Manager /v SetupExecute /t REG_MULTI_SZ
  4. Delete:
    HLKMOffline ComponentsAdvancedInstallersNeedResolving
    HKLMOffline ComponentsPendingXmlIdentifier

 
After doing more research however I found that this issue may be caused by LSASS.EXE deadlock: http://blogs.technet.com/b/mrsnrub/archive/2009/11/19/http-sys-cryptographic-services-lsass-exe-deadlock.aspx

There is also Microsoft article that suggests how to fix that (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-US;2004121) so I decided to try this fix first, before doing workaround for pending changes:

  1. Open Registry Editor
  2. Navigate to HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesHTTP and create the following Multi-string value: DependOnService
  3. Double click the new DependOnService entry
  4. Type CRYPTSVC in the Value Data field and click OK.
  5. Reboot the server

After I made these changes and rebooted it quickly passed stage 3 of 3 and I was able to boot into Windows.

Of course if you get into the same issue, reasons behind it may be different, however it may be worth to try change service dependency first, before doing workaround for pending updates as it’s not completely clear what the downside is of skipping pending changes after updates are installed.