Fatal Error C0000034 in Windows 7

This week Windows 7 Service Park 1 started being pushed out on Automatic Updates. On one hand, I think this is a good thing, because it forces people to update who otherwise never might. On the other hand, I’ve been getting a lot of call from folks this week who are inconvenienced by the update, just because it takes so long to install it. There’s the initial install, then you reboot, and then it goes through a whole secondary install that can take 15 minutes or half an hour. And these are people who have come into the office in the morning and are ready to get some work done, but they can’t do anything because they’re waiting on their computer.

But anyway, that’s just an inconvenience, pushing back the start of work 20 minutes or so. I’ve also been running into a far more serious problem with this service pack, one that’s an actual showstopper that has needed my intervention. The first time I saw it I was freaked out, because I had no idea how to fix it, but thankfully I found step-by-step instructions on how to make it go away. It’s still a 10 minute operation, and I still have to physically go to the computer to make it happen, so this is bad news no matter how you look at it, but at least it’s fixable.

The problem is that during the reboot, where the service pack is supposed to be finalizing the installation, the screen will suddenly say

Fatal Error C0000034 applying update operation 282 of 117624

And the computer locks up at that point. If you reboot, the same error keeps coming back. You’re stuck in update hell with a dead computer.

I’ve found a few solutions for this problem, but most of them seem to be hit and miss. There is one, though, that I came across that has worked for me twice so far, so I’m going to mark it down and pass it along. It is found at this link, in the TechNet forums. It involves booting to Startup Repair and going to the command line, then opening Notepad and editing a text file. It seems complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple if you follow the directions closely. Here are the steps, reproduced.

01. Reboot your computer while it’s starting up.

02. When your computer starts up again, choose the option “Launch Startup Repair”

03. When the Startup repair starts, click cancel.

04. After you click cancel it will show a box. Click “Don’t Send”

05. Click the link “View advanced options for recovery and support”

06. In the new window click Command Prompt at the bottom.

07. In Command Prompt type this and press enter: %windir%\system32\notepad.exe

08. Notepad will open. In notepad go to File–>Open.

09. Change the type of files notepad views from .txt to All Files10. Now in Notepad, go to C:\Windows\winsxs\ (or whichever drive Windows is installed on)

11. In that folder, find pending.xml and make a copy of it

12. Now open the original pending.xml (it will load really slow because the file is huge)

13. Press CNTRL+F and search for the following exactly: 0000000000000000.cdf-ms

14. Delete the following text (yours will be a little different):
<DeleteFile path=”\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\_0000000000000000.cdf-ms”/>
<MoveFile source=”\SystemRoot\WinSxS\Temp\PendingRenames\e56db1db48d4cb0199440000b01de419._0000000000000000.cdf-ms” destination=”\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\_0000000000000000.cdf-ms”/>

Your PC might not have all 3 sections of code (<Checkpoint>, <DeleteFile>, <MoveFile>). Just make sure you delete section “Checkpoint” and whatever other sections have “000000000000000.cdf-ms”. They will be right next to eachother.

15. Save the file, close notepad, close command prompt, restart your computer.

Thanks to thiswoot for discovering this! It really saved my hide and got my users back to work. So far this has only happened on 64-bit machines, so I’m not sure if it’s a 64-bit specific error, or if it’s just a big coincidence. I just hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else!


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