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
- 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.