Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a Windows 2008 Standard server, fresh install, fully patched with no roles installed.

This morning I went and installed the following roles:

  • AD Certificates
  • Terminal Services
  • IIS

When the server restarts, it goes into "Configuring Updates" for 15 minutes. It then restarts. When it restarts, it says that the updates failed, and rolls them back. When I log in, it brings up the Roles wizard (as it usually does after adding a role) and tells me I need to restart again.

It will not let me remove any roles till I restart. Of course, when I restart it goes back to "Configuring Updates", fails, restarts, rolls back, then demands another restart, repeat and rinse.

How can I remove all of the pending roles without using the Remove Roles task in the Roles screen of the Server Manager (because it won't let me, because it demands a restart)?

share|improve this question

Try this:

Reboot from the server 2008 install disc and choose the repair option and command prompt.

navigate to c:\windows\winsxs, and rename pending.xml to pending.old


share|improve this answer
Thanks. I managed to get it fixed by another method, but this may have worked too... – Mark Henderson Jul 2 '09 at 22:44
I had to do this when trying to install a bunch of updates threw the server into a reboot loop. Worked great! – a_hardin Jun 28 '10 at 21:54
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I was able to fix the issue by:

  • Waiting for the restart loop to finished
  • Log in as a local administrator (not a domain user)
  • Go to the Roles panel, and install each role one-by-one
  • Logging in as local admin each time

Once I had the same roles installed that were failing, it started behaving again.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.