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What to do if your computer is stuck on “Getting Windows Ready”

10 Solutions if Your Computer Is Stuck on “Getting Windows Ready”

You turn on or reboot your PC or laptop and see the message “Getting Windows Ready: Don’t Turn off Your Computer,” only for your device to get stuck at this screen. You may be wondering why this is happening.

The problem most likely stems from your Windows system being unable to properly start. Common causes for this can include pending actions related to installing files, Windows updates, programs or software that is not compatible or missing an update, or even missing or corrupted system files.

In any case, it can be a frustrating problem to deal with. If you’re experiencing Windows 11 or Windows 10 stuck on a boot loop, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll go over a few simple solutions and then 6 more advanced troubleshooting steps to help fix your system.

We’ll Walk You Through a Few Simple Fixes Followed by 6 More Advanced Troubleshooting Solutions

First, we will walk you through a few common troubleshooting steps. If those don't solve the issue, we have a few more advanced steps we will talk about further down. Oftentimes, there is a simple solution that can solve a problem like this.

Try These 3 Simple Troubleshooting Steps First

Step 1. Wait at least 2 - 3 hours for the update to complete.

Step 2. Check your internet connection.

Step 3. Shut down & restart your computer.

Sometimes these updates need to go through several different steps that all happen in the background. It’s possible that they take much longer than we are willing to wait. The first thing you should do is make sure more than enough time has passed for the update to complete.

Please note that, though you’re dealing with a frozen screen, a “Getting Windows Ready” error is different from similar issues like your PC turning on but showing no display or a blue screen.

Wait Two to Three Hours

Windows might be installing updates and may need time to complete this task. Look at the hard disk LED light on your PC or laptop to see if it’s blinking to show activity. If it is, this will let you know you may just have to wait. Wait 2 - 3 hours for the updates to complete.

Check Your Internet Connection

Alternatively, the issue could be that you’re not connected to the internet. Check if you’re connected to the internet — your computer may be stuck on this screen because it needs a stable internet connection to proceed with the update process.

Shut Down and Power Reset Your Computer

Even though the screen says “Don’t Turn off Your Computer,” you may have to shut down your device with a power reset to fix the issue. A power reset (also known as a hard reset), can sometimes clear the memory cache without erasing your important data.

To Perform a Power Reset:

  • Disconnect all peripheral devices (such as USB devices, like USB flash drives, or external hard drives).
  • Remove the power cable.
  • Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to shut down your computer.
  • Turn your computer on again.

If these 3 simple steps do not fix the problem, you can try the following more complex solutions.

6 Advanced Solutions To Fix “Getting Windows Ready” Stuck

If the simple fixes we listed above don’t solve your issue, try the following advanced options.

Advanced Troubleshooting Solutions For “Getting Windows Ready” Boot Loop:

Solution 1. Use the Startup Repair Tool in WinRE

Solution 2. Restore the System to a previous point in WinRE

Solution 3. Uninstall Quality and Features Updates

Solution 4. Uninstall Windows Updates in Safe Mode

Solution 5. Perform a System File Check

Solution 6. Create a Backup & Reinstall Windows

Access Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)

Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) is a built-in program that can help address common boot issues. We will need to access WinRE for the steps.

You can access WinRE in several ways, but here are two common methods:

  1. Turn on your computer (after turning it off).
  2. Hold the Shift key down and press the power button at the same time.
  3. Continue holding the Shift key as your machine powers on.

Or, you can try these steps:

  1. Hold the power button down for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
  2. Press the power button again to restart your device.
  3. Once you see that Windows is starting (for example, the manufacturer’s logo shows on the screen), hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device again.
  4. Repeat this three times total to enter WinRE.

If these methods don’t work, try using Windows Installation Media to Enter WinRE. You can download the media creation utility for your Windows operating system from the Microsoft software download page.

Use another device to download the software, and then run it to create Windows installation media on a separate USB drive or disk. You can then use this external device to boot your computer.

1. Use the Startup Repair Tool

The Startup Repair Tool performs diagnostics, analyzing startup log files to determine the cause of the problem and then trying to fix the problem.

Once you’ve entered WinRE, you can access and use the Startup Repair Tool through the following steps:

  1. In WinRE you’ll see several options. Click on Troubleshoot.

    A screenshot showing the location of the Troubleshoot menu in WinRE on Windows 10 and 11

  2. Click > Advanced Options

    A screenshot showing the location of Advanced Options in the Troubleshoot menu of WinRE on Windows 10 and 11

  3. In the “Advanced Options” menu, click > Startup Repair
  4. Select an account from the “Startup Repair” screen, but remember, to continue, you’ll need administrator privileges for the chosen account.
  5. Input your password.
  6. Click > Continue to begin the repair tool.
  7. Give the Windows Startup Repair Tool time to run.
  8. Once it’s finished, you can restart your PC.

If you start your computer and get stuck on the start-up screen again, move on to the next troubleshooting step.

2. Perform a System Restore From a Previous Restore Point

Once you’re in WinRE, you can also restore your operating system to a system restore point from a previous date if you have any saved. System Restore creates restore points either automatically, such as when you install new apps, drivers, or Windows updates, or manually when you create them. If system updates are creating problems, you can restore your Windows system to a previous restore point, removing the update without affecting your personal files.

To Restore Your System from A Previous Restore point, follow these steps:

Step 1. Follow the steps above to enter WinRE again.

Step2. Click > Troubleshoot

Step 3. Click > Advanced Options > System Restore

A screenshot showing the location of System Restore in the Troubleshoot menu of WinRE on Windows 10 and 11

Step 4. Select a Restore Point & Follow the steps to restore

Keep in mind, however, that any new data that was created after the chosen restoration point may be lost. Also, in some cases, the restore may not work and could lead to other error messages.

If you have been performing system image backups, you can also restore your PC to the last backup date through System Image Recovery, which you will find in your Advanced Options tab. Like System Restore, this deletes anything new that was added after the last backup date.

To Restore Your System using Windows Installation Media, follow these steps:

Step 1. Download the utility from the Microsoft software download page onto an external drive or USB.

Step 2. Boot your computer from this external drive and follow the configuration prompts.

Step 3. Next, click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > System Restore

Step 4. Follow the steps in the software installation wizard. Find a restore point and start the process.

Once your computer restarts, give it a few moments to complete its processes. If you are still stuck on the Getting Ready screen, try the next solution.

3. Uninstall New Quality and Features Updates

Windows Quality and Features updates are meant to fix bugs and improve your experience, but they sometimes can cause compatibility issues with existing software or hardware, or affect drivers. This is a common reason why a computer may keep crashing.

To try uninstalling Quality and Features updates on your system, start by entering WinRE again. You can follow the steps above to get back to this screen.

Once in WinRE:

  1. Click > Troubleshoot
  2. Click > Advanced Options
  3. Choose > Uninstall Updates

    A screenshot showing the location of Uninstall Updates in the Troubleshoot menu of WinRE on Windows 10 and 11

  4. Try uninstalling the latest quality or feature updates
  5. Restart your computer

4. Uninstall Windows Updates in Safe Mode

You can also try uninstalling Windows Updates in Safe Mode, a built-in environment designed to help fix your operating system.

Getting to Safe Mode involves similar steps to the methods above:

  1. Enter WinRE (follow the steps above)
  2. Click > Troubleshoot > Advanced Options
  3. Click > Startup Settings > Restart
  4. Choose one of the Safe Mode Start options from the list or Press F4

Once you’re in Safe Mode:

  1. Navigate to Control Panel by right-clicking Start > Control Panel
  2. Click > Programs and Features
  3. Click Recently Installed Update
  4. Select recent updates and uninstall them
  5. Restart your computer

New updates can sometimes cause compatibility issues with existing software; removing them may help with boot issues. If the issue persists, move to the next solution.

5. Perform a System File Check

If none of the methods we’ve recommended up to now have worked, and you’re not confident using command prompts on a computer, you might want to consult a professional at this stage.

If you feel confident using command prompts, try performing a system file check. The System File Checker scans the protected system files on your device and replaces corrupted ones with cached working copies. This can sometimes fix some operational issues.

To access and run the System File Checker, follow the steps in previous methods to reach the “Advanced Options” menu from WinRE. From there, follow these steps:

  1. Select > Command Prompt” from the “Advanced Options” menu.

    A screenshot showing the location of Command Prompt in the Troubleshoot menu of WinRE on Windows 10 and 11

  2. Type in “sfc /scannow” and press Enter to begin the system scan.
  3. Once the scan is complete, type in “chkdsk / f c:” ( Replace “c” with the drive your Windows system is installed on if different) and press Enter.
  4. Once the scan reaches 100% - Reboot the Computer

If you are still experiencing the same problem, try the following.

6. Reset Your Computer and Reinstall Windows

If none of these methods work, you can try to reset your device. This is a drastic step, so you might want to consult a professional first. If you want to proceed with resetting your device, follow these steps:

  1. From “Troubleshoot,” select “Reset This PC.”

    A screenshot showing the location of Reset This PC in the Troubleshoot menu of WinRE on Windows 10 and 11

  2. Choose “Keep My Files” or “Remove Everything.” (Note: even if you choose “Keep My Files,” you may still lose data.)
  3. Click “Local Reinstall” and follow the instructions that appear on the screen.

Safely Recover Your Data

Dealing with any computer error is frustrating, especially when the problem prevents you from using your device at all. If you’ve exhausted all efforts, it may be time to reach out to a data recovery expert. Give Secure Data Recovery a call. This can be a great first step to get things back on track.

Article by

Yevgeniy Reznik is Laboratory Operations Manager at Secure Data Recovery Services in Cleveland, Ohio, and has more than a decade of experience as a data recovery engineer. He graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in computer science and spent 15 years as an IT entrepreneur and small business owner before joining the company.

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