Windows 10 stuck on Preparing Windows screen

Many a time when you reboot after a Windows 10 upgrade or just tried login to your account, you might just encounter this screen which says “Preparing Windows“, this could mean that Windows 10 is trying to finish off something or just waiting for few files to load up so you can use your account. Some users have also reported that sometimes when they re-login to the account, they get the same message. In this post, we will show you what to do if your Windows 10 is stuck on the Preparing Windows screen.

Windows 10 stuck on Preparing Windows

Windows 10 stuck on Preparing Windows

Many have tried to re-login to the account, but this still shows up, and even the CTRL+ALT+DEL doesn’t help. This makes it a clear case that it’s your Account which is somehow corrupted.

1] Boot into Safe Mode

You can boot your computer into Safe Mode, and log in with a working Admin account. If it’s your admin account which caused the problem, make sure to create an Admin account first. Login after rebooting into the account, and then log off. Reboot your machine normally and see if the problem is resolved for you.

2] Repair corrupt user profile using Registry

Create a system restore point first and then  type regedit in Run prompt, and open the Registry Editor.

Navigate to the following key:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

This will have a list of all user profiles on the PC. Click on each S-1-5 folder and double-click the ProfileImagePath entry to find out which user account it relates to. On one of them, you should see a path like ‘C\Users\ACK’ where ‘ACK’ is the username.

Preparing Windows

You know which account is corrupt. So, look for a key with name RefCount and change the Value data to 0 and click OK. If it’s not available, right-click in the right pane, and create it.

Next, double-click on the key State, make sure the Value data is again 0 and click OK.

Close the registry editor and restart your PC.

See if the problem is fixed.

3] Run System File Checker

RUN SFC or System File Checker

This will repair corrupted or damaged Windows files. You will need to run this command from elevated CMD, i.e., command prompt launched with admin privileges.

4] Repair hard-disk errors

Reduce ChkDsk Countdown Time in Windows 10

In the case of errors on the hard drive, the update will fail as the system will think that it’s not healthy. You should run chkdsk in the command prompt to resolve those issues. If this cannot solve your problem, you may have to think about replacing your hard drive. When you do so, make sure to backup all your data on the Windows 10 PC. You can also use it as a secondary hard drive.

5] Create a new user account:

If nothing works, you can create a new account in Windows 10. This is going to painful, and time taking as you will have to set up your account to install apps and so on.

Let us know if this guide helped you solve the issue.

Related read: Windows 10 is stuck on loading some screen.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, 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.

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