Keeping your Windows 10 installation up to date is incredibly important; it patches security holes, adds new features and generally keeps your machine running smoothly.

It can often be something of an irritation, however. Windows 10, in particular, has an annoying habit of deciding to apply updates at inconvenient times, and if its gets stuck during the process, it can take some serious time out of your workday. If your Windows 10 update gets stuck, here’s how to fix it.

First, though, a note: make sure your PC is genuinely frozen before you attempt any of these. If you were in the middle of doing something when the update hit, you’ll likely be impatient to get back to whatever it was, but remember that jumping the gun can cause more problems than it fixes.

If there’s been no on-screen activity for a couple of hours, you can be pretty sure that something’s wrong.

How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update

Step 1. Try pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del. In some cases, the update will get stuck on a particular point which will allow you to access the login screen by using the trusty ‘three-finger salute’. If it works, simply sign in as normal. If not, move on to the next step.

Step 2. Restart your PC. Resetting your PC mid-installation is a cardinal sin and expressly warned against by manufacturers, but if your update is genuinely stuck then you haven’t got a lot of options. Use your computer’s physical power or reset button, and remember than you may have to hold it down.