We recently had a very strange Windows 10 problem in which the machine would become non-responsive about 30 seconds after boot up.  If we signed in quickly, we could sometimes get the desktop to load, but not always.

The user told us that the last thing she had done was complete a Windows Update (it appeared to be our corporate patch cycle from August) and rebooted, so we naturally assumed the problem had to do with one of the updates.

To be clear, the machine did NOT crash.  There was no blue screen or error message.  It just locked up.

After 3 hours of troubleshooting everything from:

  • the M.2 SSD on the Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1, in question here
  • attempting to roll back Windows Updates
    • We were able to get the machine to attempt to revert updates but it would lock up on “We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer”  We ran had to hard power down and try again a dozen times before we gave up on this line of inquiry
  • poking around in SafeMode and checking the Event Logs
  • attempted to roll back to a previous RESTORE POINT, but there were none on this machine
    • this tells us something was very wrong as a Restore Point should be created automatically with every Windows Update cycle
    • we tried both in Windows SafeMode and via the WinPE advanced boot > repair options
  • running SFC /SCANNOW (found nothing!)
  • running DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  • running CCleaner to dump loose files and dead entries in the registry
  • going through all the steps in our  How To Repair Windows 10, Without Loosing Your Programs and Files

it occurred to us that because the problem occurs after boot up and that the machine operates fine in Safe Mode that the problem may be with a service.  As such we set dozens of services (via SERVICES.MSC) to be DISABLED and rebooted.

BINGO!  This obviously meant there was a problem with a service.  Perhaps one of the updates had corrupted a service or perhaps there was a conflict.  The solution however was stranger still.

Because we did not know which service was the culprit we started re-enabling services a dozen at a time, starting with the A’s and working our way down, then rebooting.  To our great surprise we were able to change all of the services back to their defaults of either MANUAL, AUTOMATIC or AUTOMATIC (DELAYED) without causing a failure.  Each time we enabled a dozen services and rebooted, we expected that machine lock up as it had before, but it did not.

Windows 10 nonresponsiveIt appears that the simple process of disabling the services and then bringing them back in batches allowed whatever was failing to resolve itself.

To be sure there were no further problems, we ran a Windows Update cycle including the 2021-10 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 21H1 and rebooted without problem.

This is a strange problem with a stranger fix, and we thought someone else like you may benefit from our process.


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