Windows 10 Stuck on the Restart Screen (Creators Update)

For a quite a lot of users, Windows 10 is getting stuck on the restart screen (forever) while trying to manually restart their PCs. Even for me, especially since upgrading to Windows 10, the OS just doesn’t do anything until it’s hard to reset and will just sit there unless intervened.

From my experience, though, this doesn’t stay forever because if you give it enough time, it eventually does restart. So, it seems like some process or program running in the background is hindering the whole restart mechanism.


After digging a bit about the issue, I have realized that the problem is with our very old Windows Update. What’s happening is that in order to download updates for the OS, the updater updates itself. This is where it is getting stuck. So, the solution to this problem is to just regenerate the SoftwareDistribution packages in Windows update. The regenerated packages will allow Windows update to check the updates for all the installed programs and software from the beginning unlike previously where it was getting stuck. Let’s see the steps to do that.

Fix Windows 10 Stuck on the Restart Screen

  • Press Windows + X and then C to open Command Prompt (Admin).
  • Type net stop wuauserv. Press Enter. This will stop the update service from running in the background.
  • Now type cd %systemroot%. Press Enter. This command will navigate the command prompt to the installation directory of Windows OS.
  • Type ren SoftwareDistribution SD.old. Press Enter. By this command, the OS will rename the SoftwareDistribution folder to SD.old for a backup. In case anything goes wrong, you can just go to the C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution and change it to its original name. You can also try clearing the data of SoftwareDistribution and Downloaded Installation folders.
  • Lastly, type net start wuauserv. Press Enter. With this command, we will restart the update service in order to enable updates in the system.

By following the steps, Windows 10 will stop getting stuck on the restart screen like it used to. If you are having any problems with Windows 10 getting stuck on the start screen, even after following the steps, please let us know in the comments section so that we can help you.


Add a Comment
  1. How can I click any thing if it’s stuck on restarting. And no ctrl alt and delete doesn’t help.

    1. You have to use the Safe mode for that.

      1. Er… no…. You just need to perform the steps *before* restarting.
        So switch off the PC, and boot it again, and then rename the folder.

        1. Nothing works. The laptop just stuck on ‘restarting’ and if i press the power button it shuts down, but when i do it again it goes back to ‘rest…’. Is there any command in this screen i can do to enter safe mode or cmd or how do i solve this?

  2. What if the PC won’t load in Safe mode, just goes back to the grey screen and the endlessly looping cirlce of little balls?.

    1. In that case, you will need to do a clean install of Windows 10 on your PC. Can you do that?

      1. Hi. I am also stuck after I tried to install a program. Now power cycle only turns my pc off and when I hit power ok again. It goes to that blue restarting screen and stuck forever. Anyway to get around this without a clean install? Thanks.

        1. Do you have any USB devices connected? If yes, then unplug them. Try restarting after that.

          If that doesn’t work, try booting into safe mode and then delete the contents of SoftwareDistribution and Downloaded Installations.

          Reboot after that. This should fix your problem.

          1. You sir are a genius. USB mouse dongle removed, endless loop no longer a problem, Windows 10 reset back on track. Thank you!


            1. ????. Thank, my man. I’m glad to help.

      2. How do. You do this ? I have been having problems restarting my computer for a week now it says something about a update all I need to do is connect the charger and wifi and it should start and nothing I tried F8 F12 F2 options nothing I have tried power and shift and NOTHING PLEASE HELP

    2. I had this problem. I worked around it by unplugging all usb devices from the machine, and then booted again by cycling power. This enabled me to get past the spinning circles on the black screen. From what I understand the OS was stuck trying to load a driver or something for one of the usb devices. When your computer gets to the log screen, go ahead and plug in all you’re usb devices. Then log in. Wait for a minute or two to let all the startup services begin, Then follow the steps above. This worked for me. Windows 10 anniv upgrades have been a real headache for me.

      1. How do you reboot by cycling power. I’m a complete technophobe and need very specific instructions

        1. Power cycling means turning your PC completely OFF and then turning it ON. Most PCs have a restart button on the front of the case. I haven’t seen any laptop with a restart button, though.

        2. There are actually a few levels of boot. They are as follows:
          Warm Boot = A restart = reboot.
          Cold Boot = A complete power shutdown and restart.
          Ice Cold boot = complete shutdown, and unplug power.
          Some devices demand an Ice Cold boot.

      2. Yeahhhhhhh!!!!! Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou!!!! Your description lead me right to it. Thanks again.

      3. This worked for me. I turned off the power to a USB hub and the computer finished the restart process

      4. too bad if it is an *internal* USB device that cannot be unplugged.

  3. I get access is denied when I try to rename it.

    1. Rename what? You don’t have to rename anything.

      1. I thought the ren SoftwareDistribution SD.old was rename. that what I thought “ren” meant.

        1. Yes, it does. I apologize that I had written that it was doing something else. I just edited it our a few minutes ago. Thanks for pointing it out.

          1. I wonder what you originally wrote.. hehe..

            I want to add that you have to repeat “net stop wuauserv” a few times until you see “The Windows Update service is not started.”. This is because Windows will automatically start the service again under the assumption that it might have crashed, but after you stop the service about 3 times quickly, Windows will no longer automatically start the service (it assumes the service is unable to start).

            Then you can safely rename the SoftwareDistribution folder as there is no lock on the folder with the service stopped.

            1. I guess, I mentioned that that the ren command doesn’t rename the SoftwareDistribution folder. I’m not sure though.

        2. And, I think that you are not using an elevated command prompt for typing the commands on the command prompt. They won’t work without it.

          Or maybe our account is not an admin account. Check this post . That might help.

          1. I got it to work. The folder that had the SoftwareDistribution didn’t have my username with permission to change it. Once I changed file permissions the command worked and I finish the procedure. Thank you for the help.

  4. ren SoftwareDistribution SD.old .. I get the system cannot find the file specified.

    1. Please double check what you are typing in the terminal. I have tried these commands, and they work fine for me.
      Although, you can also try deleting the contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder manually.

      For that, go to the C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\ and delete everything. Then restart your PC.

  5. AFter the update I have 5 laptops at our school that are stuck on the restartin g screen
    When I type Net Stop commnad it states that the service is invalid

    1. How much time did you wait? For my PC which has around 160GB C:\ drive filled with a lot of software, it took around 1.5 hours for the Windows to do its thing.

      Try waiting for some time if you know that your laptop is filled with a lot of stuff. If that doesn’t work for you, you will need to reset Windows Update components. Read the contents of the link. If something doesn’t feel right, feel free to ask here in the reply.

      1. The restart screens have been circling for over 10 hours. I am using the Media Creation Tool CD to get to a command prompt. The startup Repair does not do anything.

        1. You need to be inside the systemrootdirectory for the ren SoftwareDistribution SD.old command to work.

          systemroot is an environment variable which is only recognizable by the command prompt when Windows has booted up. Since you are using the Media creation CD to run the commands, the command prompt cannot know what systemroot means.

          This is why you are getting the system cannot find the file specified error.

          You can fix this by typing C:\WINDOWS in the command prompt instead of cd %systemroot% which I mentioned in the post.

  6. When trying get to run the net start command I get a message stating the service name is invalid.

    1. The net start wuauserv command is to start the Windows update service on Windows. You can actually do this manually too with the Computer Management. For that, open the Run box and type services.msc in it.

      This will open a list of all the services currently running on your PC. Locate Windows Update service there and restart it. You can do that by right-clicking on it and selecting Restart option.

  7. Better solution: Embrace Ubuntu. Microsoft has.

  8. My screen is black with the spinning dots. Keyboard commands don’t work. There is no mouse cursor. I have forced shutdown 3 times and it does the same thing every time no matter when or what I press on the keyboard at any point during the reboot. It has been spinning now for 10 hours. I’ve read that others have waited 3 days or more for the update to work. I’m at a loss. What can be done?

    1. Boot your PC in safe mode then do the things mentioned in the article.

      1. How can I boot my laptop in safe mode? It immediately begins spinning right after the Asus logo appears and nothing works.

        1. When the dots begin spinning, press the restart button. Do this once or twice. Windows will then go to the Advanced booting menu. You can find safe boot from there.

          1. What is the restart button????

  9. Thanks for this & easy to follow instructions… Windows hasn’t been rebooting after updates for a few months now, but does come back to life after hard reboot – finally got frustrated enough to dig for solutions. After following your other link to allow admin privileges to rename the file, I was able to enter the commands via the DOS prompt screen. Hoping this will fix it.

  10. I’ve had to use these instructions twice. First in September when they re-released the monthly patches; again today after I downloaded the Anniversary Upgrade.
    To begin with, thank you so much!
    However, what can I do to permanently fix my machine? I would like to be able to download more than just the Defender updates.

    1. Microsoft is always changing things with Windows 10. This thing works now, but may not in the coming months. There is no permanent solution. If something changes, I’ll update the article. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  11. Please help me! My laptop doesn’t restart and there is no spinning circles. Only the restarting on the screen

    1. Only restarting on the screen? Can you please give a little more detail on what’s happening. If the computer is not restarting normally, just hold the power button for a few seconds to force it to turn off. After that, perform the steps in the article. Is there any problem that you are having?

      1. The start menu problem started when i used malwarebytes,and the restart problem happened after the latest update but that was 3 days ago. Now, i used the microsoft startup repair tool but it only says it found the problem but can’t fix it.

        1. Can you tell me what problem did the repair tool found?

          1. Error: “”Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost” and “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana” applications need to be installed correctly.”

            1. This error can be solved by creating a new user account in Windows 10 from the one you are using. Go to Settings app > Accounts > Family & other people > Add someone else to this PC. Enter an email address for the new account.

              If you don’t want to add an email, click on “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.” Then on the next screen, click on “Add a user without a Microsoft account.“. Enter all the required details and your new account will be created.

              Once that is done, press Windows + L to open the log-in menu. Select the new account. Now perform all the steps in the post above. You won’t see that error again.

              After everything is done, you can either remove the new account or use it as your primary one. Let me know how this goes.

      2. I mentioned the start menu problem cause i think that is the thing causing tge restary problem

        1. Is the Start menu crashing for you?

          1. I have fixed everything now!! I just restarted my pc. Although it deleted my apps. All the problems are now solved including the missing dotted circle and start menu error ???

            1. I’m glad that everything got fixed for you.

              1. What i mean by restart is reinstall whole windows. Hope this would help other people

                1. No problem. Thanks for your input.

  12. Tap enter while it is booting up. Once the Windows 10 disappear, a few more taps. Screen will go black . Tap couple more times and stop. Will boot up. Been doing it this way for few months. Try not to power down.

  13. Windows 10 Microsoft free upgrade from Windows 7 – With all the subsequent updates including the anniversary update. Problem persisted.

    Your solution worked perfectly well for me. Thank You, Thank You.

    1. I’m glad that i could help.

  14. I have the blue screen with the restart and it went for over 10 hours. I have tried control alt delete. I have tried several times to manually shut it off as well as unplugging the computer for several hours but still restarting. I tied the info above by right clicking at the bottom of the screen – nothing there. Getting very frustrated here. Thanks

    1. Are you open to the idea of resetting Windows? Because that’s the most simple solution here.

      1. Don’t know how to do that and don’t want to lose everything

        1. You can use Safe mode to boot into Windows without being stuck on the restart screen. Did you install or update any driver on your computer before this happened?

          1. Hi, How do I get to the restart button? All I have is a dark screen with spinning dots.

            1. How long did you wait? I guess it can take a little time depending on your computer’s speed.

  15. Good day, first thing in the morning, as soon as I see those trailing balls spinning. The screen just went death as soo as I move the arrow to the left hand corner. And then, the laptop turns it self off after 20mint. Not completely off-with orange light still on. Please help!

    1. Looks like something messed up Windows on your laptop. Try repairing it via a an ISO. Do you know how to do that?

      1. Good day, I had tried a few times; each time It started like normal updates-blue window, trailing balls… then the screen just turn death only the little balls in circles. The arrow won’t do anything no matter where I place it. I do not know how to repair it via an ISO. This is worrying.

        1. There are a lot of guides which you can refer to for repairing your Windows 10 PC. I’d start from Feel free to ask questions if you get any problems.

          1. This is unhelpful. It is no good to ask me to down load stuff or trying things when my laptop is not responding to anything.

            1. You don’t need to load anything. It’s the ISO file which will repair all your files of OS. As you might have seen in the comments, a lot of people are having the same issue. There is no official explanation by Microsoft about that too.

              I’d like to give you a few tips so that you can safely repair everything.

              First, remove all the USB devices connected to your laptop. If you have WiFi in your home, turn in off. Remove all the external devices connected to your laptop. Restart it. Sometimes, due to some driver issues, Windows stops responding to anything. Removing the particular hardware for that device can mitigate the problem. Check if you are still stuck on the restarting screen. If yes, then proceed with the second step.

              Second, boot your PC in safe mode and go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC. By doing this, you will lose your settings and customizations from Windows. However, you will get the option to preserve all your files and documents.

              Since Microsoft hasn’t provided any ‘official’ solution or a fix for ‘stuck on the restarting screen’ problem, all we can do is use some workarounds to counter it. Resetting your PC is the simplest and most effective one.

              Try this out and let me know.

              1. Sorry, I gave it a good try. Deligently. I had also tried by pressing both the window and the R key down. The PC didn’t respond at all. Frustrating.
                It still stuck on: a quick brief window’s update music-blue windows-circling balls on grey screen.
                I can’t get out of this. What else I can try without losing all my fields?
                Thanks for trying to help.

                1. The Windows + R buttons are for opening the Run box. They won’t work when you aren’t logged into your PC.

          2. Hi again,
            Where is the Restart button? On screen or keyboard? Can’t do anything on the screen. Is there another way? Thanks.

            1. When you boot into the Advanced booting menu, you will see the restart button in the Startup settings screen. Like here.

  16. Removing the mouse USB plug resolved, eventually, my problem with the forever spinning dots.

    1. Yeah. This happens a lot. I’m glad that it was fixed for you.

      1. Ah. You might not see my last email. I am still stuck on the grey screen with circling balls. Can’t get out of this no matter what.
        That’s why I was hoping the restart button can be reach or substitute in a way.

        1. I know that it’s a known problem of Windows getting stuck with the circle animation. It almost always happens because of some USB device connected to the PC. And, the restarting button is only available at the advanced boot menu.

          1. I’ve unplugs everything, had try what was suggested . Still can’t get out of the trailing balls. Unable to get to Advance boot. What to do ?

            1. Since all the ‘simple’ stuff isn’t working for you, the only solution you are left with is to repair your PC.

              You need to get access to another PC for this to work.

              Edit: Resetting Windows 10 Guide

              Get the Windows 10 ISO and make a bootable drive from it using that PC. Once the bootable drive is made, insert that USB drive to your PC and boot from it.

              You will be greeted with Windows setup screen. From there, you will get the option to repair your Windows 10 installation.

  17. Windows 10 pro never restarts on restarts option , i have to always have to shut down.on restarting it hangs, then i have to switch off directly from power button.after 10minutes it starts.

    1. You mean, the restart button on the Start menu right? If that’s so, then clear your SoftwareDistribution and Downloaded Installations folder. That oughta’ fix this problem. Do let me know what happens.

  18. Cleaned, I am trying to manual update windows.after partial install windows automatically restarts and freeze at restart screen…and fail to update

  19. Nothing happens when I right mouse click in the lower left hand corner

    1. Try Windows + X. It’s the same thing.

    2. Hey people, I do not know if this is the right thing to do but it worked for me. I have a Lenovo G400s machine running Windows 10 64 bit and I had the endless circle of bubbles with RESTARTING. On the advise of this page I went to bed after turning off the Wi-Fi and made sure there were no USB’s attached, woke up 7 hours later and still the computer was RESTARTING. I hit the power button and held it down until the computer turned off. I restarted by pressing the smaller button to the right [to gain the technical selections SAFE MODE etc] and I chose normal start up and I was pretty happy when that is what my computer did. A normal start up. Hope it helps you folk out there. Cheers, Steve

  20. Did what you said on the first command. response was “Windows update could not be stopped”. Now what

    1. You need to run the Command Prompt as Admin. Press Windows + X and then C to do that.

  21. My error seems to be a bit different, as the circling dots actually stop circling and everything freezes. No mouse movement, no strg-alt-del, nothing. Powercycling does get the machine back up with no obvious errors. This is a clean installation with no programs installed or drivers, except for those windows loaded in the background automatically. Win 10 Enterprise 64 1607 LTS release.

    1. Since you are using the Enterprise version, is there any chance that you have some specialized hardware connected to your PC? Maybe try removing it before trying to use Windows 10.

      You can also try removing all the unnecessary peripheral devices (especially those connected using the USB) because they also cause this issue.

  22. I can’t even get windows + x to work. Am I supposed to power down and get into safe mode? How?

    1. Windows + X should work all the time. Alternatively, you can right-click on the bottom-left of your screen to get the same effect.

  23. I have the same problem, but it happen after my system recover failed, it keeps saying that it fails to restore, so it just stays on that cycle no matter what i tried.

    1. You can download the Windows ISO and restore your PC manually.

  24. I did all the steps an it sayz it dossnt recognized that path of command.

    1. I have tried all the instructions myself before posting this article. I guess you are making some mistake. Can you please tell me exactly how you are getting this error?

  25. I have same issue as oliver.

    So, about 6 weeks ago, I started getting issues with Win10 crashing on shutdown. After researching it, I disabled the Fast Shutdown option via power management.

    Seemed to work for abit. But then it started again, so instead of shutting down, I would restart the pc, then at login screen, shutdown. Against this seemed to work for awhile. Then it started crashing on restarts as well as shutdowns, now, it is still intermittant, but maybe every other day or so, if I play some games on steam.. if I watch youtube.. then shutdown.. crash.

    So reinstalled. Wiped the drive.. Still happening. Hardware issue maybe? Cpu on it’s way out? I’ve tried exiting antivirus, steam, everything thats running in background via task manager, then restarting, but sometimes it still crashes I get a blank black screen tested so far for over 10minutes. (ie made a cuppa)

    Any ideas? This is starting to get annoying, prior to a month or so ago, I had never had a single crash. Ever. Been using Win10 since it was released.

    1. That’s definitely a hardware issue from the information you gave in the comment. Have you installed any new hardware recently? Check Windows Update history to see if Windows installed (updated) any driver on your PC.

      1. Only thing I did, before it started happening was install Malwaybytes. And that was a week or so before. I may have gotten some Windows Updates just before, which is why I thought it might be a Windows Issue.

        I’ve since reinstalled, well, clean installed and updated to new drivers for the video card. It only happens after watching videos on youtube, playing games etc. If I leave pc on all day it switches off fine.

        1. I guess malware bytes is messing up something. You can use an alternative like IObit Malware Fighter, or Hitman Pro. I have had good experiences with both.

  26. I’ve also cleaned the pc in last few days, it’s running alot cooler now, cpu and gpu are well within normal limits during gaming etc. But this intermittant issue still occurrs.

    Also now getting a No Signal Msg on Tv, again, intermittantly. This is after the pc is on and running fine for 15 hours. It’s like the pc went into sleep mode, whilst I was playing a game. All power options are set to never sleep, faster shutdown is disabled. I just can’t fathom it.

    1. So, your PC restarted on a resource intensive task. What PSU are you using? Is it sufficient for your PC?

  27. Thank you for your help. It worked like a charm.

    Safe Mode —>> deleted all the files from SoftwareDistribution folder and rebooted. Done.


  28. Thank you for your help. I wish I had seen your solution before wasting time searching elsewhere.

  29. Win10 recently updated a few days ago. Since then the problem has vanished. Hopefully it will remain so.

  30. That worked for me. Thanks a lot ????

  31. Been having this problem for a while now, and the basic “unplug yer dongles” method does nothing. I was really hoping your approach would work. Unfortunately, upon entering “net stop wuauserv” in the Command Prompt window, I get the following: “System error 5 has occurred. Access is denied.” Needless to say, that prevents my trying the rest of it. Any thoughts? Or should I just take a sledgehammer to the CPU and have done?

    1. You forgot to open the command prompt as an administrator.

      1. Does that require an additional command prior to opening the Command Prompt window? Forgive the stupidity of the question; I’m old and rather out of my depth.

        1. Oh please, don’t feel bad about asking questions. We all are bad at some things and good at others.

          You can open the Task Manager as admin by following the steps:

          1. Press Ctrl + Shif + Esc keys on your keyboard at the same time. This will open the Task Manager on your PC.
          2. On the top file menu, click on File and select create new task option. This will open the Create new task box.
          3. Type cmd in there and press Enter. Make sure that you check the “Create this task with administrative privileges” checkmark.
          4. Now, you can type the commands mentioned in the post above.

          If you open the Task Manager as admin, you’ll see Administrator in the window title. I have highlighted this in the following image:

          1. Update: we’re not there yet, alas. Thanks to your explanation, I got the CD window to open as an Admin, and stopped the update service successfully. However, the attempt to rename SoftwareDistribution was met with “access denied”. Trying to rename it by hand in the WINDOWS folder got the message that “the folder or a file in it is open in another program”. I hit the same roadblock when attempting the data clearance procedure you linked to in your original post. Is something “running” from SD that shouldn’t be?

            Interestingly, after these failures, when I entered “net start wuauserv” to restart update service, the system said that “the requested service has already been started.” Don’t know if that has any bearing or not.

            1. Further update: After a hard reset I got the full procedure to work. However, even though there is now a folder called “SD.old” in WINDOWS, the “SoftwareDistribution” folder is also still there. Attempting to rename, remove or clear it gets the same “in use” message that I mentioned earlier. And the system still freezes during restart. I assume that I’m still doing something wrong..?

              1. After a hard reset, your PC is booting fine? Right?

                If that is so, then you don’t need to do anything now. Resetting should be the last resort while fixing problems with Windows, but nevertheless, I guess it normally fixes most issues.

                1. Oh, the PC boots up fine. It’s on Restart that it consistently freezes. To be honest, I only care because during large OS updates where the PC is supposed to restart several times, the update always ends up failing: the first time it restarts, it locks up and stays that way until you do a hard reset… which of course cancels the update install.

                  In any event, the problem remains. It’s a shame, I’d really hoped your method would work. But thanks so much for your help anyway! 🙂

                  1. Can you tell me your PC’s specifications? Perhaps some hardware component is interfering with your OS. Deleting the contents of the SoftwareDistributions folder is the sure shot method of fixing the update issues in Windows. It should work for the majority of the people.

                    By your own admission, you said that you are not good with computers, so I guess failed updates are a bigger problem for you. Microsoft pushes these updates to fix security exploits and bug fixes in Windows 10. If you don’t keep your PC updates, you are making yourself vulnerable to data theft and other ‘hacks’ by malicious programs.

                    1. Oh, I’m well aware of that potential issue. And my copy of Windows 10 is pretty much up-to-date; small update installs are usually fine, and the large ones I bully through using literally dozens of hard resets until they finally somehow complete. The one that just came out has been particularly irksome, though, so I was just hoping to find a way to do it normally. 😉

                      I can send you my system specs later on, hopefully. As Martin notes below, maybe its an issue with an older component.

                    2. A tip for you. You can manually download updates that fail to install automatically from

                      Simply download the update and open the .msi file. Windows will do the installation automatically.

  32. Update: we’re not there yet, alas. Thanks to your explanation, I got the CD window to open as an Admin, and stopped the update service successfully. However, the attempt to rename SoftwareDistribution was met with “access denied”. Trying to rename it by hand in the WINDOWS folder got the message that “the folder or a file in it is open in another program”. I hit the same roadblock when attempting the data clearance procedure you linked to in your original post. Is something “running” from SD that shouldn’t be?

    Interestingly, after these failures, when I entered “net start wuauserv” to restart update service, the system said that “the requested service has already been started.” Don’t know if that has any bearing or not.

    1. Utk, Just a quick update on my solution, might give some info for others.

      I was having all kinds of issues with windows crashing on shutdown etc locking up and so on.

      Recently built a Ryzen system and I literally just moved the ssd with win10 on it, straight into the ryzen. Validated Win10, installed some drivers.. Not had a single crash, lock up or anything. So it wasn’t the ssd nor the software.

      Could have possibly been another hardware unique component, but I’m thinking that due to the numbers of people having these issues, it might actually be bios or possibly a specific set of hardware built into older motherboards. Since this effects both amd and ms/nv motherboards and setups.

      For me the problem is now history. I hope everyone else can find a way to fix it, but they might consider, replacing the mainboard as a consideration, if that is possible, it could save them hours/days/weeks trying to problem solve this issue.

      1. Thanks for your reply, Martin. I guess it’s up to the motherboard manufacturers to fix this issue now.

        But, people with laptops and 2-in ones are stuck with it anyway.

        1. yeh the obvious problem there with lappies and these notepads etc is the manufacturers aren’t regulated and use the cheapest garbage available. At least with pc comps you can check for quality of components. Which a good reason to steer clear of people like Dell, HP etc..

          But I am thinking, given I’ve built 3 brand new pc’s all running win10, none of them have the issues. 2 with brand new win10’s installed, one of which is business ver, other is home ver. So I honestly don’t think it is software as much as it’s an issue that occurs as windows unloads/restarts and likely is being caused by hardware.

  33. I’ve just initiated the reboot. However, after it has configured windows 10 at 100%, I’m stuck at the restart balls where the balls aren’t moving, they’re just stuck in place just like the picture you posted. After reading I’ve decided to unplug my wireless mouse dongle. Now, I’m gonna leave it overnight. My question is that would it be safe for me to force shut down if nothing changes tomorrow?

    1. Yeah. If Windows gets stuck somewhere, you can simply restart your PC by unplugging the power. I have done this probably thousands of times in the last decade of using a computer.

      Also, unplugging a USB device and restarting your PC is a ‘quick’ solution. Meaning that Windows should instantly recognize the change and start normally.

  34. Thanks for the reply. I’m actually using a laptop. Is there a proper way of going about this? In a sense that I should force shut down and have to wait for how long or should just unplug the power cord and let the battery die on its own then restart again, etc.

    1. Hold the power button for around 10 seconds. Your laptop will turn off.

  35. Noted. However, this update is one of those big time windows 10 updates which gets me to windows 10. smtg smtg. I’m worried if I force shut down, I’ll break my windows software and have to reinstall it.

    1. In that case, let it run overnight. If it doesn’t start until the morning, force the shutdown. The worst that can happen is that the update will fail and you’ll be on the older version of Windows 10.

  36. I am trying to fix my parents’ desktop computer. It is over 8 years old. It originally had Win7 on it and they accidentally upgraded it to Win10.

    They are now on Win10 v1703. The system was experiencing problems with locking up trying to install the Fall Creators Update (1709). I followed instructions in another article to hide that update so it would not install.

    After that, the system would do a full shutdown fine, and I could restart it by powering on, but trying to use the Restart option it would lock up again.

    I tried the info in this article. After that Cortana stopped working correctly. The Cortana dialog would display, but after typing in just a few letters in the search field the entire dialog would close without showing any search results. This worked before I renamed the SoftwareDistribution folder.

    I power cycled the system again. Stopped the Windows Update service again. Renamed the folder back to SoftwareDistribution. Cortana is still broken.

  37. Same as above problem, I am trying to fix my desktop computer. It is about 6 years old. It originally had Win7 on it and I upgraded it to Win10. Now the PC always gets freeze when restart or shutdown.
    The PC is with Win10 v1703. The system keeps trying to install the Fall Creators Update (1709) and the installation is interrupted due to restart freeze. By intervening with force restart, the installation fails. Even I want to manually download and install the Updates, it may not work as it still needs the several restarts. I followed every instruction and none works for me to fix the problem.

    The PC specs link:

  38. I also tried to update the drivers to see if I can fix the problem.
    Thanks for your comment.

  39. It worked the first time I did it. Now it is back to freezing. Can’t install updates.

  40. Ok I have been through several websites and tried everything that was mentioned and my laptop is still stuck on restarting screen. I am supposed to start online classes Monday so o need to get this fixed ASAP. PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. If it’s an emergency, you can just reset Windows 10 provided you are prepared to reinstall all the programs on yout laptop. Its simple and will definitely give you a usable device for your online classes.

      1. Ok…how do I do that? All it will give me is a blue screen that says restarting and a loop of dots. It won’t let me click on anything and nothing happens when I push buttons

        1. When Windows is booting, simply hold the power button so that it abruptly shuts down. Do this 2-3 times and Windows will automatically go to some sort of recovery mode. From there you will get the option to reset your laptop to its factory settings. There’s also an option to only reset windows without removing your personal data. Select that.

          I’m on phone so I can’t really give you screenshots of how to do this, but please try this and get back to me. Feel free to post your questions here.

          1. I am having the same issue. Problem is that this is an encrypted laptop (TrendMicro encryption) I am worried about doing the factory reset. Will this work on an encrypted laptop?

  41. You are AWESOME!!!! Thank you So much for your help!!!!

    1. Oh please. Thank me only after your issue has been resolved. I’m happy to help.

  42. It’s resolved…i am using it right now!!! Again thank you!!! I was freaking out!! I just bought this computer a week ago for school.

    1. That’s nice to hear. Good luck.

  43. Fixed my problem when Windows decided to break itself again. Thanks

  44. I too am stuck in the “Restarting” mode. I tried unplugging USB devices (mouse, printer), cycled the power mode. PC turns off. When I turn it back on, it goes right back to the same screen. Windows key + X and then C does nothing. Please Help!

  45. Hi Hope you can help me my issue is when asked to restart or wishing to restart I hit the restart button pc powers down ok and goes off then it comes back on but, hangs on the makers name and no booting up clatter is heard I then have to then hold PC’s power button till it cuts all power and press again to cold boot very annoying imagine the time it took to update win 10 this April like 5 times ver 1803 but I managed to get it on and it seems to be working fine.

  46. Did the steps. My computer now: “We couldn’t complete the update. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer.”

    1. Yeah. Let your PC rollback the changes. Once that is done, the updates will install automatically.

  47. I’ve tried power cycling, ctrl+alt+del, F8….it’s stuck on the reloading screen. It’s a laptop so I can’t find a reset button. Any other ideas?

  48. Can’t even get Windows+ x to work

  49. So, when I tried doing this, it said that ‘systemroot’ doesnt exist.
    I’ve tried resetting the computer as well, and it fails to. Please help!

  50. Hi
    Followed your instructions and this happened:
    cd: C:\windows\system32\%systemroot% because it does not exist.
    What now?

  51. My computer is stuck on the restarg screen.. it doesnt have any circling balls it just says restarting. It wont go into safe mode nd holding the power button doesnt changd anythin

  52. Just unplugging the usb mouse/keyboard connection did the trick.

  53. Hello my dell came with windows 8 I upgraded via internet to windows 10. I did a reset on my system and now windows won’t load, goes to the blue dots and then reset back to start screen where it ask for time zone and country. I attempted doing a cold start nothing is hooked to the computer other then power. When I go to the command prompt it wants a admin password but I’m sure I never set one up. How do I get around this?

  54. Following the steps to stop Windows 10 from freezing during a restart did not work for me.

  55. The restart screen for me is different. The balls are stuck in place and my keyboard won’t respond. It’s been stuck on the screen for about 2 days now and it won’t let me turn it off. Is there a way to fix this?

  56. The restart screen for me is different. The balls are stuck in place and my keyboard won’t respond. It’s been stuck on the screen for about 2 days now and it won’t let me turn it off. Is there a way to fix this? the

  57. Nope. Didn’t work for me.

  58. Fantastic! This worked like a charm! As with many things in Windows. It is fixed until it breaks again. But I have faith so thank you very much for this excellent, simple solution.

  59. Access is denied on “rent SoftwareDistribution SD.old”
    despite cmd being run as administrator.

  60. Cannot do anything at all. No matter what I press, the blue restart screen stays on with the spinning dots. I have tried to press the off button on laptop…hold it down for 5 seconds. It flashes and goes back to same restart screen. Hold it down longer, it just puts it to sleep and restart screen shows up when pressed again. Close laptop for long time…open laptop…same restarting screen.

    I am unable to get anything to happen when pressing windows, x and c. I am unable to get anything to happen when pressing F8…

    Nothing is plugged in. I am hoping the battery dies and I am able to restart that way…

    Any insight/help is appreciated.

  61. I have got version of 1903 for win 10 successfully updated. Except each time when restarting it stuck on loading screen. Ctrl+alt+del or power off works as the second restart fix the stuck of first restart. After that I can enter windows 10. It happens on every soft/hard restart that requires another restart to fix. Any suggestion please ?

  62. I’m pressing windows and x at same time then I press c? Is that right? Because it’s not working.

  63. During an update my computer got stuck on an error message ” please insert the external storage media and press ok ”
    I have a SUB drive plugged in , it’s still stuck , turned the computer off and back on several times no change , not able to go to any other screen . What can I do ?

  64. Command prompt (admin) didn’t show up for me so I googled it and It has been changed to Windows PowerShell on some computers – but apparently they’re the same thing.

    I put in “net set wauaserv” and it came up with “The Windows Update service is stopping..” and then “The Windows Update service could not be stopped.”

    My computer haven’t been able to successfully restart for around 9 or so months as it freezes each time. I’ve tried reinstalling windows but that fails as it freezes when it restarts itself. I’m running out of options. What should I do?!?

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