One of the most common issues I have run into at work are employees trying to login to Windows 10 and instead have to stare at the spinning circle/loading icon for several minutes, if not forever. This issue seems to pop up after a Windows OS update, such as upgrading from Windows 8 to 10, or when trying to perform a regular Windows 10 update, such as the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. So, here are a few things one can try if they face this same dilemma.
Pretty much self-explanatory. Another restart of the system can solve many issues.
Remove USB Devices
This method, while it seems odd, is to try to remove all USB devices from the computer, and then restart again using the power button. Once, and if, you successfully pass the loading screen, then merely reconnect the previously removed USB devices.
To View Login Screen
In some cases where you do not see a login screen at all, you can access the login box to enter your username and password by using the Ctrl+Alt+Del buttons.
To End Processes of Failed Programs
If you are stuck at the restart screen, entering Ctrl+Alt+Del will replace the restart screen with the Task Manager. Hanging/failed programs will be revealed, allowing you to end the processes of all running programs or those with issues, thus recovering you from the restarting screen.
Via Settings (Logged In)
A handy method of fixing this and many other issues is running a Startup Repair; this can be accomplished (if already logged into the computer), by selecting the Start Button, then navigating to Settings. Next, click on Update and Security, and then Recovery. After this is done, under the Advanced Startup option, select Restart Now (be advised that there are options to perform a reset of your computer, which is not what you want). After the computer restarts, it will now display a Choose an Option screen. Then, select Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, Starting Settings, and finally, Restart. Now once the computer restarts, select a startup setting.
Via Sign-In Screen
While this is helpful if you can actually log into the computer, what if you are stuck on the sign-in screen? Well, on the sign-in screen, just hold down the Shift key and select Power and then Restart. Then you will be taken to the same Choose an Option screen as mentioned in the above method. At this screen, select Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, Starting Settings, and finally Restart. Now once the computer restarts, select a startup setting.
System Maintenance Troubleshooter
A relatively easy way to fix being stuck at a login screen, and many other issues like it, is to run a System Maintenance Troubleshooter; this can be done by pressing the Windows key, searching for Troubleshooting, selecting Troubleshooting, and then choosing View All via the left side panel of the window. Next, select System Maintenance from the options, then Advanced, and (if your Systems Administrator allows it), check the box for Apply Repairs Automatically. Finally, follow the instructions that follow, and wait for the process to finish.
By using the Elevated Administrator Command Prompt (Command Prompt (Admin)), you can stop the Windows Update Service, enable the service to restart automatically, or restart the entire process; these options might be handy if none of the other steps are working.
Restart Update Service
For example, to stop the update service, you would type “net stop wuauserv” (without quotes), and then press enter.
Direct to Installation Directory
Typing “cd %systemroot%” (without quotes), and pressing enter, would then direct the command prompt to the installation directory of Windows.
Rename Software Folder
Typing “ren SoftwareDistribution SD.old” (without quotes), and then pressing enter, will rename the SoftwareDistrubiution Folder to SD.old (to be used as a backup). The great thing about this is if something doesn’t work, you can simply go back to the C:WINDOWSSoftwareDistribution and change it to its original name.
Restart Update Service
Finally, by typing “net start wuauserv” (without quotes) and pressing enter, the update service will restart, hopefully fixing your issue.
Probably more of a last resort option, besides performing a full fresh install on Windows, would be to rollback to a previous version of Windows. Hopefully, you are someone who creates backup images of your system! For this option, we have two methods available to us.
Rollback to a previous version of Windows 10.
Restore Windows 10 to a previous version via a backup image.
Hopefully, you have not made it this far into the post before your issue was fixed, but if so, remember that these types of problems plague everyone, regardless of skill level. More often than not, troubleshooting a stuck Windows 10 loading screen can be more stressful to me than fixing a complicated server error or coding issue. Good luck!
Categories: Operating Systems/Programming