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Stephanie asked: “My laptop is Windows 7 Home Premium. Recently, after hitting the windows button on it, I got a message saying “Preparing to configure Windows, do not turn off your computer.” That was four days ago. I can not use the computer. If I shut it down and turn it back on, I get the same message. I don’t know how to get out of that loop so that I can use the laptop.”
Stephanie, unfortunately you are not alone, many people have faced similar issues with Windows security updates, but you should be able to recover your laptop. If you’re lucky, you may be able to just press CTRL + ALT + DEL and just sign in and use your user as you normally would. However, there’s a good chance that this won’t work and, even if it does, it may not break the update loop.
It’s likely that something went wrong during the update process that keeps it stuck in that loop, so you’ll probably have to roll back to a previous system restore point. To do that, you can just go to the Start Menu, then Accessories, and finally System Restore and pick a previous restore point. If you weren’t able to get into your account by holding down CTRL + ALT + DEL, don’t worry, you should still be able to log in to do this using Safe Mode.
Just reboot your computer, hold down F8 as your machine is booting up and ask Windows to boot into Safe Mode, that should bypass the System Update and just let you type in your password and get into your account. After you’re in, just go to System Restore and let Windows take itself back to a date when everything worked normally.
If you do that, the update that locked up your system won’t be installed yet, and we understand that you may feel like skipping Windows Updates altogether, but try to give it another shot. A lot of these security updates fix holes that can make your computer less secure, so trying to install it may be a good idea.