Fixing “Please Wait Screen” Problem in Windows 8 (8.1)

Among the more frustrating issues of Windows 8/8.1, the “Please Wait Screen” error is markedly emerging forward. Resulting from either a third-party software conflict, or missing/damaged system files, this problem presents itself upon system startup, displaying a “Please Wait” message on a blank screen. Unfortunately, being the obedient user that you are, you follow the instructions and continue staring optimistically at the words for many an hours. However, the verses never seem to disappear, and you fail booting into Windows, yet again. While sometimes, performing a simple restart might resolve the issue, majority times it requires further drilling. This article highlights numerous approaches on how to analyze this problem and remove it appropriately from your system.

Method 1: Launch Safe Mode and Perform a Clean Boot

Safe Mode is a troubleshooting mode that starts Windows with minimal set of drivers and services. Boot your OS in this manner and check if the issue appears.

To boot into Safe Mode, execute this procedure:

  • While at the “Please Wait” screen, press ALT+CTRL+DEL
  • Click the power icon displayed at the bottom right
  • Hold down the SHIFT key and select Restart. This will take you to the Windows Startup Settings screen

Note: If ALT+CTRL+DEL does not work, restart your system, hold SHIFT key and keep pressing F8 key before Windows starts up to reach Windows Startup Settings screen

  • Select Troubleshoot
  • Click Advanced options and choose Startup Settings
  • Click Restart
  • From the Startup Settings screen, select the number corresponding to Enable Safe Mode
  • Choose the user account that has administrative rights

If you again found yourself facing the “Please Wait” error, the problem does not lie with a software conflict and you can jump to Method 2. Else, continue with the Clean Boot steps, and identify the problematic program.

  • Open Run box by pressing Windows + R key
  • Type msconfig and press Enter
  • From the System Configuration dialog box, click the Services tab
  • Check Hide all Microsoft services and select Disable all
  • Navigate to Startup tab and choose Open Task Manager
  • On the Startup tab in Task Manager, select each item and click Disable
  • Exit Task Manager
  • On the System Configuration dialog box, click OK, and then restart your computer

Once you are in the Clean Boot environment, it is now time to pinpoint the service causing the problem:

  • Enter System Configuration dialog box as before, and navigate to Service tab
  • Check Hide all Microsoft services
  • Select the upper half of check boxes from the list and clear the others
  • Click OK and then reboot the system

Check if the problem happens again or not. If it does, repeat these steps, this time clearing the lower half of items in the Service list from the original selection. If the problem did not occur, redo the procedure, this time selecting check boxes that were previously left unchecked.

Continue narrowing down your search till you reach the specific service triggering the error. Once identified, either search further support from the concerned manufacturer, or keep the process disabled to prevent further problems.

Method 2: Repair system files using SFC scan

This is a command-line tool that scans for corrupted files crucial to the system, and automatically initiates a repairing process.

Run this command using the steps mentioned below:

  • Reach Advanced options from the Windows Startup Settings described formerly
  • Choose Command Prompt
  • In the command prompt screen, type the following command

Sfc /scannow

  • Press Enter
  • Execute the on-screen instructions to complete the scan

Note: This method may require you to insert the Windows installation DVD to extract missing/damaged system files from the media

Method 3: Log in using a different account

Sometimes, the concerned error may be occurring only the specific account. This can fixed by creating a new profile from Safe Mode, and logging in to the system using that account.

To accomplish this, follow this procedure:

  • Enter Safe Mode ( See Method 1)
  • Point to the lower edge of the screen and drag upwards to select Settings
  • Click Change PC settings
  • Click Accounts from the left pane and choose then choose Other accounts
  • Select Add an account from the right pane
  • Type in your Username and Password and click Next
  • Select the new account and click Edit
  • Set the Account type to Administrator and click OK

Wait for the system to load the new account. Once done, log in to this new User and see if the please wait message bothers you again. If it does, proceed with the following methods.

Method 4: Perform a System Restore

As formerly stated, the Please Wait matter is mostly due to a recent system change in the settings or the configuration files. To undo this alteration, use the System Restore feature and fall back to a previously created restore point.

  • From the Advanced options screen, choose System Restore
  • Click Next to the Restore system files and settings message
  • Select the restore point you want to revert to, and click Next
  • Confirm your decision by clicking Finish
  • Click Restart

Method 5: Stop pending updates

Long delay in the booting process can also be traced down to an unfinished system update, still placed in the waiting queue. To disable this process, use the DISM command from recovery console, illustrated here:

  • Enter Command Prompt from the Windows Startup Settings
  • In the command line, type the following command and press Enter

dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

Also, you could try renaming pending.xml folder executing the following commands from the opened Command Prompt:

  • Takeown /f C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml
  • Ren C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml pending.old

Note: Once you reboot to your system, it is recommended you run Windows Update again

Method 6: End task restoreoptin.exe

Microsoft support forums are flooded with reports of encountering blank screen error owing to restoreoptin.exe, a process used by SkyDrive to store files. This process is considered to conflict with the computer’s operations and bring it to freeze at the startup screen.

Go ahead and try disabling this component. You might be one of the numerous victims of this process.

  • Login to the error-inflicted account
  • Open Run box by pressing Windows + R key
  • Type taskkill /f /im restoreoptin.exe and hit Enter

Reboot the PC and see if the problem resolves. If it does, contact SkyDrive manufacturers and inquire the matter further. For the time being, keep this process disabled.

If none of the described solutions worked for you, use the Refresh your PC feature incorporated in Windows 8 and 8.1 system recover options. This will change PC settings back to its default value, while keeping your personal settings and files intact. Rest assured, you would not need to continue your troubleshooting journey anymore.

  1. Many thanks indeed, have just spent two days with a please wait screen, I can,t say it was any particular method, a bit of a mish mash of all your methods, but finally got to insert msconfig which got me to a system restore, the dell check list then informed me it was the amazon app and the windows store failure launch which created the problems in the first place, so once again thank you very much
    regards Nigel Jennings

  2. I can’t go into safe mode.
    I had try on ctrl+alt+delete , and f8 as u mentioned.
    But unfortunately it still fails.
    Any other method?
    Please I need help as I need to use this laptop fast.
    Thank you so much!

  3. Thank you so much for your help… I was so down and felt terrible about my decision to buy Dell and still use Windos os… rather than going to Apple. Now my problem is about to be solved.. thanks to you. Thank you.

  4. I keep having to repeat restore points. A day or so later after when booting I get the problem again. Tried method 1 but after the clean boot I still get the problem. Any ideas. Note safe mode therefore enters with out the issue.

    • You have a service or driver or an application that is causing the issue.

      You have to identify the faulty one yourself, by disabling services/startup items and then re-enabling one by one or half of them, and booting to normal mode.

      Read the ending paras of Method 1.

  5. Hi guys,

    I had horrid time with this issue and for a simple fix I did system refresh which cleared application and re installed without any loss of ur personal data. Took me just 15 mins. I believe it was because of few faulty application

  6. Thanks for your help, none of the solutions actually worked but it did enable me to use safe mode to save down files before using the ‘Reset your PC’ option. It seems Dell machines like mine are more susceptible and one of the first things my machine did was to update the Amazon app. These silly apps are getting the boot.

  7. Hello.. It’s the second time that this please wait screen happens to me. When I try method 1 I get to the point where I should be in Clean Boot but I still the current bane of my existence the please wait screen .. Can you help in detail?

  8. i have to create a new account and delete the original one (still have my users documents) since asus didn’t give me a reinstall disk, it seems like it works, also unintall mcafee

  9. I just purchased and msi gt70 dominator pro and it was it came with windows 8 already installed. It tried to update and the update failed. Now the screen just says please wait and none of the commands work. Ctr + alt + del doesn’t work. And it doesn’t allow me to get to safe mode either? Can anyone help me with this?

  10. I had tried all of these methods but can’t work on my acer notebook. and i don’t know how to disable services. I mean to say how can i turn off wifi and bluetooth using keys? if screen is still please wait.

  11. I had the please wait screen. All I did was turn my computer off then on again, I waited for the bios prompt. In the bios I went into the boot section and change from a normal boot into a fast boot then went to exit, saved the changes and restarted. This seems to have worked, I think my problem had to do with a power outage, where the power came off and on again twice within a couple of hours.

  12. Thought I had a problem when the windows update screen came up and sat at 100% complete for about 15 mins but just needed a little patience no a lot of patience and eventually my log in came up. Only used this computer a few times…

  13. Hi, i tried method one and didn’t work out…
    so i tried to create new account and it worked.
    (but i wanted to go back to my Microsoft account)
    so i reopened the Microsoft account and i got the massage again.
    But i realized that the One drive is whats cause the problems.
    So problem solved

  14. Hello,
    I got the “Please wait” message with Windows 8.1 on Lenovo X240. ALT+CTRL+DEL does not work. Restarting system and holding SHIFT key and keeping pressing F8 key does not work. I bought the computer with Windows 7 with option to upgrade on line to 8 and 8.1 and unfortunately I did not think to make the recovery file…..So got only recovery disk for Windows 8.
    I will appreciate your advise…..!

  15. I m using win 8.1 . after entering password , the screen shows blank for long time , but wireless mode , power options are active .

    How to rectify this problem ?

  16. no key combination recommended has changed the screen from the “please wait” and the dell computer came with windows 8 installed so I didn’t get a start-up disc. Now what?

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