PC stuck on Getting Windows ready, Don’t turn off your computer screen

If when you are upgrading your Windows 10 computer or laptop to a newer version, it is stuck on Getting Windows ready, Don’t turn off your computer screen, then this post is sure to interest you.

Getting Windows ready

Getting Windows ready, Don’t turn off your computer

I recently encountered this screen while upgrading my Windows 10 v 1607 to Windows v1703. While my other laptops did not face any issues, my Dell XPS laptop was stuck at this screen for over 2 hours! But there have been reports that it even takes 7 hours!

First, you will have to see if the cursor’s (circle) animation state:

  1. Is it moving
  2. Or is it frozen?

The circle animation is moving

Well, what can or should you do in this case? Actually nothing much. You just need to wait till the upgrade process is over.

Never make the mistake of shutting down your laptop, else you never know, the PC might just not boot!

What did I do? After patiently waiting for over 2 hours, I decided to go to sleep. But I had ensured that my laptop would never go to sleep.

Before I start any upgrade process I always ensure that my laptop will not Sleep when plugged in. In Windows 10, you will get the setting under Setting > System > Power & Sleep. You will see a drop-down for When plugged in, turn off after setting. I select Never before upgrading my PC.

I ensured that the laptop was connected to the Mains power supply and things were all working fine.

After a few hours I found that the laptop had successfully upgraded and when I logged in I saw the following screen.

Getting Windows ready windows 10

So the takeaway from this small post?

As long as the circle animation is moving, don’t do anything. Just wait.

The circle animation is frozen

What if the animation itself is frozen? Well, I’d say still wait for a day. If you think its a lost cause, well you might have shut down Windows using the Power switch on the laptop.

  1. If your PC reboots, great! Clear the contents of the Software Distribution folder, reset the Catroot2 folder and then run Windows Update again.
  2. If your PC does not boot, well, you may have to reinstall Windows 10, using Media Creation Tool or Windows Upgrade Assistant, ensuring that the ‘Keep personal files & data’ option is selected during installation.

Useful read: This post shows you how to access Safe Mode or Advanced Startup Options when Windows 10 is stuck on loading some screen with the spinning dots animation moving endlessly, welcome mode, login screen, starting Windows or will not boot.

All the best!

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Juan Figueroa

    In other words and sorry for the word..is a PITA process, but the article is right, we must wait, give it a day at least. I had encountered long waits in some computers, but at the end it finishes. Why this happens it unclear because it happens with fast computer too.

  2. ReadandShare

    Countless updates over Win XP, 7, 10… I’ve never had an update that wasn’t flawless. OTOH, who knows what the future holds? But I am also not the patient type… if my laptop should hang for hours, I can definitely see myself killing the process! But now that I know updates can actually run up to 7 hours… I’ll know to just leave the thing overnight. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. TE

    Thanks for the tip. I have had that blue screen for a couple of hours, and I’ll just ride along and let it do its thing.

  4. Mark Wiseley

    this is extremely annoying. Some progress bar or something would be helpful, to at least know that i’m not just wasting hours and hours of time…

  5. What if you need your PC for, you know, work? Do you guys take the day off? Your boss happy? You make up for the loss of profit by working 16 hours the next day? You got two identical PCs?

  6. OutWest01503

    Just invoice Microsoft for the lost time. I’m sure they will pay.

  7. OutWest01503

    I aborted it (by pressing and holding the power key) even though it was still spinning. When it came back up, it spun again for 20 seconds, then told me “Sorry we could not process the windows update, undoing, please do not turn off your computer”. About 30 seconds later I was in. Not recommended for others, but this was a one-week old PC that didn’t have a whole lot on it (and was still under warranty!)

  8. natgrenadine

    I wonder, when writing posts like these, does the authors ever consider for a moment “perhaps this represents poor customer service,” or “just maybe I deserve a quality product–considering the hundreds of dollars for my laptop with a ‘world class’ operating system installed,” or do they instead think to themselves “hurray–I didn’t really have anything important going on when my PC randomly switched to dead-mode–what better use of my time than to blog–at first in my paper notepad–about my experience wondering if my PC will magically unfreeze itself tomorrow?”
    You know, I used to scoff at those Mac religionists too.

  9. I am not offering customer service here. I am like you – a Windows end-user. If you have issues with Windows, you should contact Microsoft. I am just extending my helping hand, hoping some find my suggestions useful. 🙂

  10. Disappointed

    “Sorry you don’t have a support contract with us and are not under warranty” is as helpful as they get.

  11. You don’t get it do you? I am offering help in my INDIVIDUAL capacity FREE!

  12. Disappointed

    I was referring to Microsoft of course, not you. Your help and advice is appreciated. Waiting 16+ hours on a screen that says “Getting Windows Ready. Don’t turn off your computer” is not a helpful or user friendly message when you need to finalise and submit an assignment located on the computer for the following morning. Just when do you give up? No clue previously on how long Windows would be unavailable for nor option to delay whatever it was about to do. Instead 100’s of 1000’s of users have to endure and accept this as normal and without question – just Google the message and find out how many frustrated users encounter this.

  13. Putri Dian Rahma Maulidya

    But what if i must going to plane, and i didn’t turn on the airplane mode. So i have to turn off my computer, what should i do. You say we shouldn’t turn off our computer. But what if i forced to do that. Tnkyu

  14. Phillip Veitch

    These modern computers are ridiculous. Wait a whole day for this stupid thing to boot up? Time to go back in time before computers. No wonder the world is in chaos today. I bought a brand new laptop and it’s the slowest thing I’ve ever seen. I tried connecting my rediculous samsung 7 to it to view photos and such with no success. I have concluded that it is not worth taking photos anymore cause can’t get them off phone without removing memory card ( a difficult task itself) so without film around anymore it is pointless to take photos. Also it is really easy to loose them, not photos from a film camera, you got thrm developed and put them into a real photo album. Its no wonder the world is doomed, self inflicted stupidity i call it.

  15. TurdInator

    This is the dumbest post ove ever wasted my time one.

  16. SkankHunt48

    “but the article is right, we must wait, give it a day at least” – obviously you are a loyal Microsoft sheep.

    Only trying to install updates, no notification of an “upgrade” was given which is total crap. As a admin I don’t have hours to waste on this kind of Microsoft stupidity. Put them on the spot. Call support, force them to explain why it is taking so long and what they are going to do to resolve the issue. You do NOT have to accept this level of service from them. If more people realized that and complained loud enough these problem would go away.

  17. Omer Rocky Fortuna

    How come this company does not go bankrupt? Any other company would have collapsed ages ago with such bug-prone, user-unfriendly products that feature uncertain, non-predictive behavior.

  18. Lunarsight

    When Windows 10 is updating, it would be nice if Microsoft communicated what step of the process it’s at — when it’s stuck for a long time on ‘Windows getting ready – don’t turn off your computer’, it’s difficult to tell if it got hung up or if it’s actually doing something. (Sometimes the HDD light will give you a clue – sometimes not.)

  19. Bradley Ahrens

    Seriously? Horrible advice. Horrible operating system.

  20. Mike James

    I wish I would have read the turn off sleep mode before updating. Now I guess I need to sit here and move my mouse every so often? What if the screen is black (went to sleep) and you move the mouse and the getting ready screen is still up? Does that mean it started over?

  21. Say What??

    As someone who owns his own computer repair company I can honestly say that Windows 10 is very frustrating. I’m sick of the constant updating when I’m trying to work on someone’s PC. Heaven forbid I have to do a restart (usually the customer hasn’t restarted in a few weeks) and then I’m greeted with a half hours worth of updates which takes valuable time away from what I need to do. The Windows 10 start menu is a complete joke. Classic shell ends up getting installed on ninety nine percent of the computers I work on. The only thing I can say that is a benefit to Windows 10 other than security is driver support. Most of the drivers are automatically installed which makes things a bit easier but the annoying updates negate that. For personal use I always stick with Windows 7 and I will until it is no longer supported in 2020. I’m writing this as I sit here waiting for updates to complete on my own machine on the Windows 10 fall creators update that I just installed to test. It has been sitting on the getting windows ready screen for fifteen minutes. Mind you this is on a Kaby Lake Core i7 with 24gb of ram, a GeForce gtx1070 and a 1tb SSD.

  22. Hosseinf.g

    What is going on if shut down may lap top after 30 min?

  23. Tamas Harczos

    Exactly my opinion.

  24. lightyme

    It takes too long. I restrted the laptop and it just went to don’t turn off your computer. I installed windows 18 days ago.
    Microsoft: is NO excuse for something like this to happen.

  25. Chickaboom25

    Brand new laptop, wouldn’t even let me get as far as the desktop without updating and restarting. Now when trying to shut down, encountering the “Getting Windows ready, Don’t turn off your computer” message with update percentage displaying. The updates did not install before? There were more updates I wasn’t aware of? Is the computer in an update loop? Frustrating, to say the least.

  26. Alice Young

    What a dumb post from a so-called “Windows Insider MVP”… if you really knew what you were talking about, you would find out WHY this was happening. You probably don’t have the skills to diagnose it.

  27. flaboater1

    Wait a day? Your joking… this is pathetic good thing i still have a computer with XP

  28. JUKK

    You are absolutely, 100% RIGHT!

  29. joanne crawford

    I clicked on restart and my wifi was off. My screen came back pink saying, Getting windows ready Don’t turn off your computer. It’s been stuck with this screen for ten hours. Is this normal. I’ve never encountered such a long period of time with this. Please help.

  30. Jmc

    Windows getting ready has been running for 2 days now, a couple of times I have shut down in hopes of a clean reboot, no suck luck just continues with windows getting ready. Starting to suspect this perpetual screen signals this computers demise. Doesn’t seem to be anyway around this incredibly poor design!

  31. Robert Egbert

    Im switching to MAC

  32. Grumpy old man

    So a person whose business it is – is to play music through a computer didn’t think to have a spare (maybe for financial reasons?) bought himself something that is I guess 2 or 3 times the price of a normal laptop, rather than thinking about which service to disable. You know the old days of having 2 record decks or 2 cd players attached to a mixer….

    Did this same person have all the music stored *just* on this one machine too. Quick glimpse into the future; when the disk/machine eventually dies/is stolen, they will complain about how windows/mac sucks and its everyone else’s fault they can’t earn money anymore.

  33. Grumpy old man

    Just so you’re (the reader not the OP) is aware, Microsoft’s ***large*** patches aren’t actually patches anymore, they are actually a new version of windows. (You’d need to look at the description to get an idea of which is a patch and which is a version upgrade). The OS is being upgraded to the next version of windows, which visually looks the same as the previous one. Once it is complete, you will see a “c:windows.old” folder which contains the old version of windows. This is why some versions take a very long time.

    There is also some cleanup you can do to claw back the used disk space (Search: “disk cleanup” and “delete system restore points”) post successful upgrade.

    MS do need to sort out their updating issues and provide some real time feedback. Over the years status bars have been less than useless, which is probably why they’ve gone to a spinning wheel. The only useful one I’ve seen was text updates saying what it was doing in real time (file replace, registry updates etc…). I think this was shown on server 2008R2/Win7 SP1 update. This also gave an action ID number count-up.

    If you don’t like it, move to MAC or Linux. Guess what. They have updates that need to be applied to them too. The only difference, when they do a version upgrade, it tells you its doing a version upgrade and it will take a long time.

  34. Say What??

    Yes he had a spare at the time which he used but the updates left a bad taste in his mouth and he ended up switching to a MacBook Pro.

  35. Unable to load name...

    Sometimes installing an update actually takes longer than installing windows so I don’t see why when installing large updates they don’t just reinstall Windows except with another screen claiming to be updating. Doing that is a very Microsoft thing to do. Should also attach a file with the installer that also copies the new files into their spots. That would be SO much quicker. What do you think?

  36. Unable to load name...

    You have to pay for updates and you can’t game. Trying to play a MS-DOS game on a MAC will result in your computer getting fried. Plus you should see how much the people who make them get paid.

  37. Robert Egbert

    I don’t play any kind og games on a PC and I would gladly pay if I didnt have to deal with Windows anymore.

  38. Spencer Powers

    Welp…….thanks…i guess….but now ik scared cuz i can’t actually do anything while its doing this i cant uninstall anything i just wait and i have turned it off like twice maybe three times and mistake my spelling im on my phone cuz of well my laptop obviously….and i cant spell rip also i edited it so I dont have any spelling errors…

  39. Spencer Powers


  40. M. Brian Palmer

    Don’t bother if u r a power user. Mac is for zombies, seriously annoying. I went back. I miss XP SP3 ; 0. It’s all crap and endless bugs lately.

  41. M. Brian Palmer

    Don’t do it!!!

  42. Glunt

    Soooo I just need to wait as long as the cirlce is moving, right?

  43. Invino Veritas

    Windows Update is a denial of service attack. We completely disable it at the GPO level at most of our firms. We use other software to secure Windows. Our customers have signed off on this because to most of them, productivity is far more important than security. Sorry Microsoft, but you have to improve this process (wait, with a monopoly, you actually don’t…).

  44. Brandon Bradshaw

    WTF? Did you really just waste everyones time with an article that says “just wait for it to finish”??

    BS article.

  45. CY

    I am now just in this stage my Windows 10 with the circle moving. I just restart my Dell laptop and it stuck in “Getting Windows ready Don‘t turn off your computer” for already 3 hours. It did not give me any warning before it is doing that, which I think that is not right. I need my computer urgently, but cannot do anything. Now I just use my mobile phone to write this. Why don’t Microsoft provide a warning before doing that !!!!!!!!!!

  46. Bernard Leeman

    I have been hit by this function three times in a week. I have writing deadlines to meet and it is been a major problem. The update always gives me the appalling Bing search engine. Should have stuck with a typewriter.

  47. Eduard

    i think i waited like 1 hour, so your advice is to wait until it stops right?

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