I encountered a stuck deployment at the “Getting ready” stage when deploying Windows 8.1 at a customer site the other day. None of the logs produced by the task sequence gave any indications on the problem at that stage so to find the real problem I had to turn to the Windows setup log setupact.log which is found in C:\Windows\Panther\UnattendGC.
In clear text it stated a few lines of this code. It kept on retrying to join the domain every ten seconds.
2014-03-14 10:48:23, Warning [DJOIN.EXE] Unattended Join: DsGetDcName failed: 0x54b, last error is 0x0, will retry in 10 seconds...
That particular problem was caused by the fact that the domain name to be joined was not entered as a FQDN in the task sequence. Note there are other causes of a failed domain join but remember that if your Windows 8.1 installation hang at “Getting ready”, examine the setupact.log and find the root cause and fix it.
Interesting to say is that this behavior seems to be different in Windows 8.1 than in previous Windows versions (at least Windows 7), where a failed domain join would be skipped and the deployment would continue leaving the machine in a workgroup mode.
UPDATE: It can also be caused by the network not having a connection at all. So check the network cable could also be a solution.