SBS2008 will not start - crashes at 'Configuring updates: Stage 3 of 3 - 0% complete'

I have a customer who has Small Business Server 2008.

This morning for some reason the server rebooted and has not come up.

When I restart the server it keeps coming up with a screen that says:
"Configuring updates: Stage 3 of 3 - 0% Complete.
Do not turn off your computer"

After this screen appears for a while the screen goes BLACK with no mouse and all network connectivity is lost other than ping i.e. cannot see file shares anymore.

There do not seem to be any hardware or RAID problems.

I have tried rebooting in both Safe Mode and Safe mode with networking per some googling I did - but with no result.

I've attached pending.xml saved off from C:\WINDOWS\WINSXS as some of the knowledgebase articles suggest this is the cause.  I cannot see how to delete this file as I cannot log onto the server or map with the correct permissions.

Michael GreenSenior IT Consultant / IT Project ManagerAsked:
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Michael GreenSenior IT Consultant / IT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
David AtkinTechnical DirectorCommented:

Have a read of this:

(The following command should fix this:
dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions)

Failing that I would try deleting the file:

Insert the SBS2008 media and select your language options, click on repair.  Select cmd.

Rename the C:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml file to C:\windows\winsxs\pendingold.xml

Reboot the server

Once its booted correctly I would re-run the Windows update.

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Michael GreenSenior IT Consultant / IT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
Problem is I'm unable to get to a command prompt ...and I cannot get the Windows Server DVD to boot from the DVD-ROM.  It think its failed.  Is there anyway to delete pending.xml remotely during that brief period the server is up before it crashes during the update process ?
Michael GreenSenior IT Consultant / IT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
David AtkinTechnical DirectorCommented:

You could put the Windows Server Media onto a USB stick as an ISO.  Boot via USB and do the above.
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