How to: Install software when it always displays there are pending actions from a previous install

How to proceed with an installation when the error message: “A Restart from a Previous Installation is Pending” or “There are pending actions from a previous install” or “Setup cannot continue because a restart from a previous installation or update is pending” keeps showing up.

In occasions you’ll find yourself unable to install software receiving an error message that indicates: “A Restart from a Previous Installation is Pending”. This is usually indicated as there are pending operations and generally speaking a restart of your system will force those operations to take place. Because of that new installations wait for the previous ones to complete their required file changes to avoid any potential issues. The real problem is that after you restart the machsesine you continue to get this error message.

In my case recently I was installing Lync Server when the SQL installer kept indicating it couldn’t proceed as there were pending actions and I must restart the system. After doing some research it turned out that my Group Policy that installed network printers was causing this behavior. There were pending file renaming operations because of that. In other words, every time I restarted my server group policy would install the printers which would then as part of the driver install indicate the OS to perform file rename operations on reboot. The rest of the story makes sense, every time I restart the group policy would cause those operations to be pending causing SQL express never to install. In order to resolve this you just need to go into the registry (via regedit) and delete the entries that indicates the pending operations on restart.

Below are the instructions from  Microsoft on how to do this:


Important:
This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to restore the registry, view the “Restore the Registry” Help topic in Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe.

To remove an orphaned UpdateExeVolatile registry key value

  1. Open a registry editor, such as Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe.
  2. Navigate to HKLM / SOFTWARE / Microsoft / Updates
  3. In the right navigation pane, double-click the UpdateExeVolatile key.
  4. Configure the key with a value of 0
  5. Close Registry Editor.

To delete the orphaned PendingFileRenameOperations registry key

  1. Open a registry editor, such as Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe.
  2. Navigate to HKLM / SYSTEM / CurrentControlSet / Control / Session Manager
  3. In the right navigation pane, right-click the PendingFileRenameOperations key and select Delete.
  4. Close Registry Editor.

As mentioned in my case this was because I install network printers via Group Policy. If you open the PendingFileRenameOperations registry key you might find something like this:

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\CA778A8A-4C7F-419E-845F-56A5E4972588\9a072afe.BUD

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\CA778A8A-4C7F-419E-845F-56A5E4972588\9a072afe.gpd

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\CA778A8A-4C7F-419E-845F-56A5E4972588

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\07768773-D716-45E6-AAD4-BF0F28BC4C51\9a072afe.BUD

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\07768773-D716-45E6-AAD4-BF0F28BC4C51\9a072afe.gpd

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\07768773-D716-45E6-AAD4-BF0F28BC4C51

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\C1267533-892D-4343-8AFF-56154AA9E470\9a072afe.BUD

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\C1267533-892D-4343-8AFF-56154AA9E470\9a072afe.gpd

\??\C:\Windows\system32\spool\V4Dirs\C1267533-892D-4343-8AFF-56154AA9E470

If you notice, all the files that are going to be renamed are in the spool directory which is the Windows Printer Spooler so you can rest assured that all the operations are due to the printers not any software you installed.

There are other situations where this can apply as well according to Microsoft. It makes sense as pending actions is a check that is perform by any major piece of software that is performing an installation. Below are other common cases:

Microsoft Exchange Server setup cannot continue because a restart from a previous installation or update is pending.

The Exchange Server Analyzer reads the following registry key to determine whether a system restart is required after installation or removal of a software update such as a security update, critical update, or hotfix.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ MicrosoftUpdates \ UpdateExeVolatile

The Exchange Analyzer also checks the following registry key to determine whether a previous software update installation was not completed and the system must be restarted to finish the installation.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Session Manager \ PendingFileRenameOperations

The Exchange Analyzer displays an error message if one of the following conditions is true:.

  • The value of the UpdateExeVolatile registry key is anything other than 0.
  • The PendingFileRenameOperations registry key has any value.

This error indicates that a restart from a previous install or update is pending and the system must be restarted before Exchange Setup can continue.

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2 comments

    • CD on February 9, 2018 at 1:48 pm
    • Reply

    This article was the only one to help us solve our issue. Our issue was also GPO printer issues, as we saw something concerning HP in that registry key. Thought you deserved a reply, Thanks!

    1. Glad to hear it helped!

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