Saturday morning, I was all ready to catch up on some work and I got caught with the Windows Update error which caused my system to become stuck in a continual loop and unable to start up. The only thing I could see was a screen that said "Configuring updates: stage 3 of 3 - 0% complete" then the system shut down and rebooted to exactly the same screen, with no way to break out of this loop. NOT a good way to start the weekend...
Upon doing some checking, my husband and I (mainly my husband) found that this error is fairly widespread. See this link
What we discovered is that the only way to by-pass this loop is to restore your system to a previous restore point using the Windows Vista DVD. Once we restored the machine, everything works great.
If you are seeing this error, here is what to do to restore your system:
To be safe, plug your tablet into its external power supply. If the restore procedure is interrupted it could corrupt your system.
1) Plug in an external USB DVD drive, USB mouse, and a USB keyboard into the tablet (a USB hub to connect all three devices, if you don't have a hub, you can swap the mouse for the keyboard after choosing to boot from the DVD drive in step 7 below).
2) Power on the DVD drive and insert the Windows Vista Installation DVD, not the System Restore DVD.
3) Power on your tablet and enter the BIOS by pressing the [Delete] key repeatedly until the BIOS screen appears. Sahara Slate PC i400 series owners can more easily do this by pressing the "Rotate Screen" function button located on the face of their tablets to the left of screen as soon as the TabletKiosk logo appears on the screen.
5) Navigate to the "Boot" menu and select the USB DVD drive as the first boot device. Hit [F10] to save the changes and reboot.
6) Immediately after the TabletKiosk logo screen disappears, a message appears asking you to hit any key on the keyboard to boot from the DVD. Hit any key to boot from the DVD. (Note: Users without a USB hub can swap the mouse for the keyboard after hitting the key to boot from the DVD.)
7) Your tablet should boot to the initial Windows Vista installation screen. Click the "Next" button, using the mouse, to accept the language settings and proceed.
8) In the lower left hand corner of the screen that appears, click on "Repair your computer". DO NOT click on "Install now" unless you have decided you want to reinstall Windows.
9) Click the "Next >" button to accept the installation on your internal drive and proceed. From the "System Recovery Options" screen, click on "System Restore". After a few moments, a screen explaining about system restore will appear. Click "Next >" to continue to the "System Restore" screen.
10) Choose a restore point from a previous time you knew your system was functioning properly. The most recent restore point in the list should be sufficient. Click the "Next >" button to continue with the restore. DO NOT attempt to restart or interfere until the restore completes or you can completely corrupt your Windows installation to the point that only a clean reinstall with fix it. Be patient as this procedure can take a few minutes. (NOTE: This restore procedure will NOT affect any documents you have created or edited since the time of the restore point, only application installations, driver installations and other system configuration changes are affected.)
11) When completed, restart the tablet and again choose to enter the BIOS and change the 1st boot device back to your internal HDD (following essentially the same procedure as described above in steps 5 - 7).
Your system should now successfully boot into Windows Vista normally and inform you that the restore procedure was successful.
Until Microsoft fixes this error, we recommend that you change your Windows Update settings to not automatically and install Windows updates. Set it instead to inform you of new updates but not to automatically download and install them.
All of this information can also be found on the Forums of the TabletKiosk website.
Obviously, the copy above was written to reference a slate tablet pc from TabletKiosk. However, regardless of what brand computer you own, I hope this information helps you get your computer up and running again.