Windows Server

Fix Windows Server 2012 Reboot Loop Issue

If you encounter an issue where Windows Server 2012 is stuck in reboot loop, let me share a workaround for it. The workaround here is to interrupt the boot and use Safe Mode. This issue is seen only on Windows Server 2012 OS and not on Windows Server 2012 R2 or any other OS.

If your Windows Server 2012 goes into boot loop, don’t worry because a lot of IT admins are actually dealing with same issue. It’s not your fault either, it’s an update that has caused the reboot loop on your Windows Server 2012.

We have still got few VM’s running Windows Server 2012 while most of the VM’s are running 2012 R2 and above. Today on two VM’s running SCCM distribution point role, I noticed the reboot loop issue. Surprisingly there were no issues with other VM’s running WS 2012.

I had heard about the Windows Server 2012 boot loop issue earlier but I never expected that I would also encounter it in my setup. The DP’s were online however I was unable to RDP any of them. After restarting the VM’s I never saw any login screen. It just stays at “please wait” and then the server restarts.

Fix Windows Server 2012 Reboot Loop Issue

If you do a bit of research on why this reboot loop issue occurs you will find lot of info on web. A reboot loop on Windows Server 2012 could be due to the installation of the Servicing Stack Update (KB4523208). In this thread one of the user identified the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) update KB890830, as the cause of the installation loop.

The workaround here is to interrupt the boot and use Safe Mode. It will still reboot at the same stage trying to boot into safe mode but next boot works.

Fix Windows Server 2012 Reboot Loop Issue

To fix the Windows Server 2012 boot loop issue, perform the following steps.

  • First of all restart the VM or machine running Windows Server 2012.
  • Go to Advanced Boot Options by pressing F8 key.
  • Under Advance boot options, select Safe Mode and press enter key.
  • Once the OS boots in safe mode, don’t login. Reboot the Windows Server again.
  • This time let the server start normally. You should see a login screen.

Fix Windows Server 2012 Reboot Loop Issue

Prajwal Desai

Hi, I am Prajwal Desai. For last few years I have been working on multiple technologies such as SCCM / Configuration Manager, Intune, Azure, Security etc. I created this site so that I can share valuable information with everyone.

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6 Comments

    1. It worked for me. However I’ve seen this issue before, try deleting/renaming the pending.xml or restart.xml file in the WinSxS folder. Another cause maybe that the trustedinstaller service is set to start automatically instead of manual. I had to boot to recovery mode and run autoruns.exe from a flash drive to fix that issue.

  1. Hi Prajwal
    In our company we have too issue with stuck boot. Workaround i have, but do you some idea why it happens? We made case on Microsoft, but their field engineer says something about bad patching strategy, but nothing specific. I thing that that is nonsence because patching process is still the same. We offer patches based on predefined query – if is the KB needed on some machine, it is downloaded and offered. I tried offer for W2k12 only Servicing stack + Monthly cumulative update, but problem persist. We have about 250 W2k12 servers and stuck boot was on approx. 20 of them. Do you have some idea how predict which systems may be affected? First problem we registered in November 2019, in December patch round problem persist and we stop patching of W2k12 system. Now Im afraid what happens in January….
    Thank You

  2. I saw safe mode as a possible fix on various forums. However whenever I try to boot into safe mode I don’t get to the login screen and it just reboots. Anyone know of a fix for this?

    1. It worked for me. However I’ve seen this issue before, try deleting/renaming the pending.xml or restart.xml file in the WinSxS folder. Another cause maybe that the trustedinstaller service is set to start automatically instead of manual. I had to boot to recovery mode and run autoruns.exe from a flash drive to fix that issue.

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