Link to home
Create AccountLog in
Avatar of Helen Feddema
Helen FeddemaFlag for United States of America

asked on

Weird update/installation problem

Yesterday, I got the usual Windows message about needing to restart my Dell OptiPlex 3010 computer (running Windows 10 Pro); I accepted it, closed down all apps, and let it restart.  After a while I noticed that it was hung on a black screen with only a circle of white dots revolving on the bottom of the screen.  I left it overnight, but it was the same the next morning.  I turned it off, left it for a minute or so, and turned it back on; it started to reboot, but when the blue window appeared in the middle of the screen, the circle of white dots appeared, with a brief message "Attempting to complete installation" (or some such).  The white dots kept on circling for a few hours, and again I turned the computer off, waited a minute, then turned it back on, this time holding down the F8 key in hopes of getting into Safe Mode.  That didn't happen, but this time when the circle of white dots appeared, under it was a persistent message "Recovering your previous Windows version".  This time the reboot was successful, ending up with Windows the same as before, as far as I could tell.

So what was going on?  Was there a massive SP-type upgrade that amounted to a new Windows version?  Will the same thing happen on my other two computers, also running Windows 10?
Avatar of John
Flag of Canada image

The most likely thing here is an update that could not be done (driver, antivirus issue or so on).

Is it an endemic Windows 10 issue?  No. Updates are fine on my machines.

Go to Microsoft Downloads, look for, download it and run it. Look for troublesome updates with this tool.
Avatar of Helen Feddema


I will do that tomorrow morning and let you know what happens.

I liked it better when we had some control over updates.
The method above is how Microsoft now controls errant updates. Please let us know once you have tried it.
I opened the Microsoft Downloads page and searched for, but just got this message:
Sorry, no results found for:
Avatar of John
Flag of Canada image

Link to home
Create an account to see this answer
Signing up is free. No credit card required.
Create Account
"Was there a massive SP-type upgrade that amounted to a new Windows version?" - exactly. The standard updates show a different message when they are rolled back due to problems. You can verify your windows major version by using the command
in the search box. It should return Version 1607 if you are on the latest version. If not, it will return either 1511 or 10240. Tell us.
I have downloaded the .cab file.  The instructions seem to require knowing which driver is causing the problem -- how do I determine that?
When you run the program, there will be a list of applications and drivers that MAY be causing problems. You need to know which driver if more than one.
Maybe you did not read it in time, so I will repeat it: this was clearly not an update. It was a failed attempt to upgrade to the next major version of windows 10.
You can verify your windows major version by using the command
in the search box. It should return Version 1607 if you are on the latest version. If not, it will return either 1511 or 10240. Tell us.
I am on version 1511 on both desktops.
You should retry the upgrade this time using the media creation tool:
The list of updates that could be hidden includes some for printers, a bunch of INTEL ones, and a Feature Update for Windows 10, version 1607.  Is that the major upgrade?
One of the printer updates is for a printer that I don't have any more (it was replaced more than a year ago).  Could that be the problem one?  There are updates for both of my current printers.
Link to home
Create an account to see this answer
Signing up is free. No credit card required.
Create Account
I selected the LaserJet 3200 update to hide (I don't have that printer any more).  This is the result:

User generated image
I will retry the update less that driver, and let you know what happens.
So far so good.  One restart, and the computer is now in the "Working on Updates -- Don't turn off your PC.  This will take a while" part of the upgrade.
25% complete now, and restarting.
Sounds like hiding the printer update is working. Please keep us posted
Now at the stage of a black screen with the little white dots circling.  How long do you think this should take?
Are you really trying that process for the third time? Most probably to the same result as before. That's why I asked you to use the media creation tool for a change.
Just the second time.  I will give it a few hours, and if it doesn't complete, I will try the media creation tool.
It does take a while (more than the time between your posts)
It has been several hours now -- how long should I wait before concluding that it is hung up?
Once it starts installing updates, it should take not more than 2 hours. So I do not know what has gone wrong. You may need to restart and use the Media Creation Link (I have used this several times).
I will leave it overnight, and if it is still hung up tomorrow, I will stop it (turning the computer off is probably the only way to do that), and use the Media Creation link once I get back to Windows.
I just checked my 2-in-1 -- it did upgrade to version 1607 (it is running Windows 10 Home).  No problems, except that it knocked out Classic Shell.
Just reinstalled Classic Shell -- no problems.
So it is all running now. Thanks for the update and it looks like our fixes solved the issue for you.
No, that is another computer.  The OptiPlex desktop is still hung up on the circling white dots stage.  I will try the Media Creation link once I get back to Windows -- or maybe first use it to create a DVD on my other desktop first, to save time.  (I have two OptiPlex desktops and the 2-in-1, all Dell.)
Back to the previous Windows version, I clicked on the Media Creation link to make the DVD, and found that I was out of DVDs, so I am off to Walmart to get a box.
Helen, you are offered to to the upgrade without DVDs, just retry.
OK, I will try that first -- but I now have some DVDs in case of need.
I ran the update from the Windows 10 Downloads page -- it completed preparing and updating, and then restarted.  It is now in the "Working on Updates 0%" stage.  It got past the circling white dots stage, so hopefully it will complete the update normally.
I have an older ThinkPad in the basement. I had it running (took the battery out) non-stop. This morning, I cleared out Downloads in Software Distribution (not self managing just now), shut down and started up. It began updating and is taking a long time. It is still on the blue screen update "do not turn off" and proceeding. It has been 5 hours at this point but it appears to be working.

Please keep us posted.
It finished that stage, and is now in another circling white dots stage.
I will give it a few hours at least, but it doesn't look good.  They could at least put up a progress bar so you can tell if it is doing anything.
John -- is the Thinkpad in the circling white dots stage?  If so, how long has it been there?
The circling white dots are a progress indicator on a blue screen saying several things - mostly do not power off.

It has finished and is at a login screen, so it looks like the update finished. Close to 6 hours all told.
Mine are on a black screen, no text.
I have only ever seen blue screens with the progress indicator. It could be just the video driver in your machine.
There was a blue screen with a message earlier.  I think the circling white dots on a black screen is the last stage before Windows starts up (if the update is working correctly).
The machine I was working on is now 1607 14393.222 most current.

There is post in a discussion group here that I started a while back "Dark clouds for Windows 10"  that discusses this very machine if you can find the post.

It may be worth a read for you.
The same failure cycle repeated -- after a few more hours of circling white dots, I turned off the computer; when it was turned back on, it attempted to complete the installation, that stalled, and I turned if off again.  After it was turned back on, it went into restoring the previous version of Windows.

Any more suggestions?  Is it worth making a DVD and installing from it, or would that make no difference?

In any case, I think I will give this computer a break and attempt to upgrade to v. 1607 on the other OptiPlex.  Perhaps it won't have a problem.
I will check your link.
You can use the Media Creation Link, and run Upgrade to Windows 10 even though running Windows 10 and keep everything . I have done this.

Click on Upgrade to Windows 10 (even if Windows 10 is running), click on the Download button, select Open (Run) but NOT Save. Allow the program to run. Allow drivers to update. Then select Keep Everything.
Interesting discussion.  I hope my computer will be able to upgrade to v. 1607 too.
Just noticed -- on my restored Windows desktop I now have a Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant link.  I doubt it will be helpful.
John -- this last time I selected the top option, Update Now, which was not successful.  I will try your steps later, after trying to update my other desktop.
I have not found that tool to be all that helpful.
Whatever you do with the tool, install directly or burn a DVD will have the same outcome.
You don't need to waste more hours on it again. Please share the upgrade error log with us. Its path is C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\Panther\setuperr.log
setuperr.logHere it is.  

I ran the update on my other OptiPlex, and it went normally with several resets up to the final stage of circling white dots, where it has been for 30 mins. or so.  If it fails too, I will also upload that error log.
I do not know what CMXEPlugin does, but that is the last failure point.
I think it has to do with audio.  Recently, when starting Windows I have gotten this error message:  Unable to start SmartAudio.  A while back I posted a question about this, because I had lost my audio after a Windows upgrade.  One of the experts pointed out a setting which, when I checked it, was set at microphone (I don't have one); I changed it to audio and got my sound back, but I still get this error message.

I have not gotten this message on the 2-in-1 computer, which updated without problems.
You had not mentioned Audio earlier in this thread and Windows 10 can update Audio as part of it process. Did you try getting the Manufacturer's Audio Driver update and installing it?
I found some information on this problem on another forum; I will try it later today.  Not now, because I need to work on this one and the other will have to revert to the previous Windows version.
John -- the solution does involve getting the Conexant driver.
Conexant is part of Audio so you need one or both depending on how supplied.
This solution was on the WindowsTen forum.  Here is the link if you want to check it out:
Maybe I will try it on the other computer, once it finishes restoring the previous Windows version.
Link to home
Create an account to see this answer
Signing up is free. No credit card required.
Create Account
I couldn't try the solution on WindowsTen in any case, because I didn't see any drivers labeled Conexant.  I have uninstalled all audio components on one computer, and I will try the upgrade again.
I uninstalled all audio items in the Device Manager on my other desktop, and it is now attempting the upgrade again (11% through the second blue screen "Working on Updates" phase).
Now on third blue screen "Working on Updates" phase, 35% complete.
Now on the circling white dots stage -- that is where it hung before.
Helen, fingers crossed. But I advised to look for and kill any remnants - did you do that? Just used device manager? That might not be enough. Uninstalled all helper applications at least? These funny bloatware software suites, I mean? The ones that weigh 150 MB while the actual driver files are 1,5 MB in total... ? Those matter.
How would I find the remnants?
Analyse what these stupid driver software suites try to install and then look if all of it got removed when uninstalling. This requires software that can do before-after-comparisons. Usually I'd recommend MSI packaging software for that like wininstall LE. Was freeware when still in the hands of scalable software.
Turned it off, and when turned on again it went into the "Attempting to recover installation mode" -- but this time, instead of hanging on the circling white dots stage, it completed successfully!  So it appears that uninstalling the audio/video components did the trick.  I will try this on my other computer later today -- hopefully it will work there too.
Thanks for all the help and links, and for persisting so long until success was achieved.
Thank you for the update and I was happy to help