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How to Fix the Most Common Windows 10 Upgrade and Install Errors

With the deadline for the free Windows 10 upgrade looming, millions of end users around the globe are busy updating their Windows clients. Unfortunately, many users are finding that if a computer is more than five years old; the potential for errors occurring during installation is greater than newer systems. There are many factors at play, and we have made recommendations regarding what you can do before initiating setup. We have also covered some things you can try just in case Windows 10 installation does fail. That said, there are a set of common errors users are likely to come across when attempting to upgrade. This article will help you nip them in the bud.

Fix Annoying Windows 10 Setup Errors

While some of these mistakes might be self-explanatory or provide links to a solution, others can be obscure; you are often left perplexed. I’ll do my best to explain what’s going on and what you can try to resolve the issue.

It goes without saying I won’t be able to cover ALL the issues you might encounter so if I don’t list the issue you’re running into, feel free to post it at our free Windows 10 Discussion Forum –

Couldn’t Update System Reserved Partition

This error is turning out to be quite the star. The System Reserved Partition was first introduced in Windows Vista as a means to perform an essential system recovery. Typical functions include accessing the recovery environment, where users can perform basic tasks such as start-up repair, memory diagnostics, access the command prompt and restore a system image. The issue with the system reserved partition on older versions of Windows, it tends to be small, usually around 100 to 300 MBs. Windows 10 includes more functionality, requiring the system reserved partition to be around 500 to 600 MBs.

Users can resolve this error by resizing the partition itself; check out our previous article for instructions.

Incompatible Video Card or Display Adapter

Check the manufacturer’s website to find out the status of your video card. Before the upgrade, install the latest drivers available (Windows 7, Windows 8.1, etc…). If there are no drivers available or manufacturer support options, it likely means the graphics adapter has or is approaching End of Life status, which limits the level of assistance the manufacturer can provide. The best option, in this case, is to purchase a new video card. I know, not a great choice, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

If you installed a new video card without uninstalling the old video card, you might have to reinstall the old card, then uninstall it properly through device manager.

Press Windows key + R then type: devmgmt.msc, expand Display adapters. Right-click listed Display Adapter then click Uninstall.

Error 0xC1900101-0x20017

Error 0xC1900101-0x20017 might occur if your master boot record is corrupt. The MBR contains the boot information for the operating system. Users can try using their Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 install media to perform a system repair. If performing a system repair does not work, backing up your personal files, then performing a clean install is probably best.

  1. Put the Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation disc into the disc drive, and then start the computer.
  2. Press a key when the message indicating Press any key to boot from CD or DVD …. appears.
  3. Select a language, time, currency, and a keyboard or another input method, and then click Next.
  4. Click Repair your computer.
  5. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
  6. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.
  7. Type BOOTREC /FIXMBR, and then press ENTER.
  8. Type BOOTREC /FIXBOOT, and then press ENTER.
  9. Type Drive:\boot\Bootsect.exe /NT60 All, and then press ENTER.
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The Installation Failed in the SECOND_BOOT Phase with an Error During MIGRATE_DATA

Using an unusual machine name can also affect the behavior of Windows setup. If you are using an account with a name such as USER, ACCOUNT or SYSTEM; change it to a regular user name such as John or Maggy. Make sure your machine name is simple, no periods, hyphens or dashes and use at least eight characters. Uninstall your Antivirus utility and other security software such as Firewalls, then restart setup. Redirected personal folders on different partitions or drives can trigger the error. Restoring folders such as Documents, Music, Public to their original location on the system drive can resolve this problem.

WindowsUpdate_8007002C, WindowsUpdate_dt000, 0x80072ee7, 80070005, 80240020, 80246007, 80070004 or Similar Error

If you initiate setup using Windows Update, errors such as the above can occur for many reasons. Sometimes restarting your computer a few times can fix it. Removing security software can also help. If those basic solutions don’t work, then there is a possibility something is wrong with your software distribution folder.

Press Windows key + R, type: appwiz.cpl then hit Enter. Search for troubleshooting then launches it. Under System and Security, launch Fix problems with Windows Update then follow the on-screen wizard.

If this does not fix the problem, run it a few more times, then try again. If the problem persists, then modifying the software distribution folder manually might be worth a try. If these instructions prove too cryptic or difficult to attempt, then switch to using the media creation tool or ISO to upgrade.

  1. Press Windows Key + Xon the keyboard and then select “Command Prompt (Admin)” from the menu.
  2. Disable the following services: Windows Update Services, Cryptographic, BITS and MSI Installer. Type each command then hit enter.

                           net stop wuauserv

                           net stop cryptSvc

                           net stop bits

                           net stop msiserver

  1. Proceed to rename the SoftwareDistributionand Catroot2folder. Type each command then hit Enter.

                          ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old

                          ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old

  1. Restart each of the services we disabled earlier: Windows Update Services, Cryptographic, BITS and MSI Installer. Type each command then hit enter.
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                        net start wuauserv

                        net start cryptSvc

                        net start bits

                        net start msiserver

Exit the command prompt then restart your computer. Try starting setup again.

A Media Driver Your Computer Needs Missing

If you are installing from DVD or USB media, the install files might be corrupt. The ISO file used to create the install media might also be corrupt. You could try booting the install media on a working spare computer to isolate the problem. If the error message occurs, you could try downloading the ISO again then recreate the install media.

Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant Stuck at 99% or Various Percentages

Most users will use Windows Update to perform an upgrade to Windows 10. The Upgrade Assistant might become non-responsive at a certain point. According to Microsoft, this is normal behavior.

We are aware that a set of users are reporting a slow or seemingly-stuck upgrade experience when attempting to upgrade to Windows 10 or update between versions of Windows 10. The upgrade process usually takes 90 minutes or less to complete, but there is a very small subset of PCs, usually older or slower devices, where the upgrade process can take longer than typical. This situation is not related to a particular upgrade tool and has been shown to happen with Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant, Media Creation Tool, USB media, and ISO media.

In these cases, even if the progress percentage appears stuck, the upgrade is still running. An error message should be displayed in case of actual failure. Cancelling and trying alternate methods is unlikely to improve the experience and will reset any upgrade progress made.

We recommend the user wait until the upgrade completes before taking further action. Users can keep working as normal while the upgrade is in progress. A delay of one day would be highly unusual, but we recommend that users wait that long for the upgrade complete or to confirm there is an issue. At that time, users should reach out to Microsoft Support or visit a Microsoft Store location so we can look into problems with the PC.


That said, if you can’t wait for one day for eventual failure, close the wizard, restart your computer then try the following:

Disable your Antivirus and other security software such as your Firewall. Open the C:\ drive, browse the folder $WINDOWS.~BT then double-click Setup to resume the installation. If the $WINDOWS.~BT is not available, enable show hidden files and folders then try again. If you still don’t see it, switch to using the Media Creation Tool or ISO file.

Windows 10 Setup Prompts for a Product Key

If you are taking advantage of the free upgrade offer, which will soon expire depending on when you read this; your qualifying version Windows 7 or Windows 8 must be activated. If it’s not enabled, you will need to do so before you can start the installation. If you don’t know whether your Windows license is valid, you can check in our forums for assistance with validating your license. Also, make sure you are upgrading to the right edition.

  • Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Windows 8.0 Core, Windows 8.1 Core must install Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8.0 Pro, Windows 8.1 Pro must install Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 7 – click Start > right click Computer > click Properties then look under Windows edition.
  • Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 – press Windows Key + X > click System then look under Windows edition.
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If you bought a license for Windows 10, you could retrieve your product key, which is located on a card within the Windows 10 physical product box. If you bought your Windows 10 license online, it should be emailed to you when you made your purchase. Check your junk mail folder or log into your Microsoft Account then retrieve the product key.

Windows 10 Setup in Continuous Reboot Loop

If your Windows 10 installation keeps restarting without progressing to phases such as Out of Box Experience, there might be some anomalies at play.

  • Power down the computer. Disconnect it from the power outlet then wait 30 mins to 1 hour.
  • If you are using a laptop, remove the battery if the option is available.
  • Disconnect from the Internet (unplug Ethernet or turn off Wi-Fi).
  • Connect the system to power again, remain disconnected from the Internet then start the computer.
  • One of two things might happen, Windows 10 setup might rollback to your previous version of Windows or complete installation.
  • If setup completes and you see the desktop with the ability to click Start and launch programs, proceed to reconnect to the Internet.
  • If Setup rolls back, try upgrading manually using the Media Creation Tool or ISO file.

Something Happened – We Couldn’t Tell if Your PC is Ready to Continue Installing Windows 10. Try Restarting Setup

A combination of factors might be at play here. Start by uninstalling Antivirus utility and disable other security software such as a software Firewall. If you have any non-essential devices attached to your system, disconnect them also; just keep your mouse and keyboard connected. If you are running Windows 8, run the following command, then restart setup.

Press Windows key + X, click Command Prompt (Admin) then type the following command:

rundll32.exe pnpclean.dll,RunDLL_PnpClean /DRIVERS /MAXCLEAN

Hit Enter on your keyboard, exit command prompt then restart.

There are many more setup error messages users might encounter when attempting install Windows 10. If none of the above help with overcoming setup failure, jump into our forums and let us know more about it. You can also check out our article for resolving issues after installing Windows 10.

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22 Responses to How to Fix the Most Common Windows 10 Upgrade and Install Errors

  1. Jean-Michel July 28, 2016 at 6:47 am #

    Really Good stuff done there !
    Thanks a lot for all of these informations !

  2. John D July 28, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    If you are DSL for internet I recommend using the Download Media Creation Tool. DSL is quirky and will drop connections and appear to be running, My DSL example is 13 hours via Upgrade Now button on popup screen then screen says Windows update FAILED, :: versus 6 hours to download and create media on USB then about 1.5 hours to upgrade from USB , Everything worked perfectly using USB . It saves everything, apps and data are in EXACT same place and the Win 7 Home Screen with all icons is preserved and displayed just like win 7.
    Just my opinion….

  3. holdum333 July 28, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    Many kodos Andre! Good stuff! Lets hope that not many users have problems up dating to W10!
    If they do, then they can register on the sister forum and get help.

  4. Vivek July 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    How much data is actually downloded when upgrading to 10 frm 7?

    • Andre July 29, 2016 at 5:39 am #

      Should be 2.7 to 3.5 GBs.

  5. debnova July 29, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    Good lord. Grateful for the help, but MOST of the explanation, with all the abbreviated initials, expert level, etc make this non techie cringe !! I lost my sound when I switched. I hate the OUTLOOK, it’s awful now and lost emails. Just terrible. Example> when u mention video card, I’m not sure IF that includes the SOUND. ugh. I will be calling my PC’s mfg. and probably MSN. I am seriously considering switching to a MAC. First though, I’ll find out IF the MAC has issues like this when an OS changes. PC’s should NOT be this user un-friendly and at such a tech level to use or fix. IMHO.

  6. holdum333 July 29, 2016 at 9:45 am #

    Hi debnova. I hear you about the abbreviated initials. A lot of techs use them and don’t realize that a non tech has no idea what they mean. Sorry to hear you are having problems with W10. The video card and the sound card are different. My advise to you would be to register on a W10 help forum and get help with your issues. You might need to do a clean install or a repair install, or it may be some thing simple. I hope this helps. Here’s a excellent help forum. It’s the sister forum for groovypost.

  7. Robert in Vancouver July 29, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    I’m not upgrading. I have Windows 8.1 and my computer is working well for my business needs. Most advice in articles about fixing upgrade errors are beyond my understanding, so there’s no way I could ‘fix’ a problem.

    My computer is a 5 year old Dell and has the highest specs that were available in 2011. When the hard drive failed a year ago I upgraded to an SSD and replaced the cooling fan so it’s probably as good as many mid-range new computers are now. I’ll get a new computer after most Windows 10 bugs are worked out, maybe in the fall of 2017.

  8. Greg Conquest July 29, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    I’ve updated three PC’s to Windows 10. All three of them were from Windows 7, and all three of them had slightly different show-stopping problems involving an apparently never progressing download. I tried for weeks on one. I ended up having to use the Media Creation DVD on all three computers.

    If I was 0 for 3, then I imagine there are A LOT of other Windows 7 users who also tried and couldn’t get the update to work.

  9. holdum333 July 29, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    Hi Robert! In the eyes of most computer techs your Dell is reaching the average computers life. Not saying yours won’t last many more years. I hope that it does. If it’s doing the job for you and your happy with it, then no need to change. My advise is to have every thing backed up to cloud or a external drive. I haven’t heard many good things about W8.1. I never ran it on a PC. I loved W7.1,but I’m really liking W10 a lot. I had a Dell and it was running good with Xp for 7 years. It started giving me problems. First the Hard drive and then the power supply. It’s time to give it up when your mother board bites the dust.
    I wish you luck and 5 more years of service from your Dell

    • Robert in Vancouver July 30, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

      Thanks for your comments Holdum333. I plan to get a new computer next year, maybe sooner. Then my Dell will become a back-up unit like my old HP is now.

      I have a Clickfree backup system that copies my entire hard drive to an external hard drive, plus all my data is synced onto dropbox and other cloud sites.

      I totally agree with debnova’s comments about tech jargon. Tech writers need to wise up when giving advice to readers who rely on computers, so they can earn a living. Every industry has it’s own jargon. I’m sure I could baffle tech writers with jargon used in my industry – mechanical engineering. But that would be as stupid and pointless as what tech writers do.

      • Steve Krause July 30, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

        Heya Robert,

        Thank you for your comment. It’s a great reminder re how big a difference an SSD drive can make regarding extending the life of a computer. I’ve seen this over a dozen times personally with friends and family systems.

        Example: I have an older desktop I bought around… 2011? 2012? It’s an HP which was top of the line back when I bought it. I was going to replace it about a year ago when Windows 10 came out but instead, I swapped out the SYSTEM Drive (C:\) with a new Samsung SSD drive. Result – I can EASILY get another 3-4 year from the box. It’s smoking fast and runs Windows 10 perfectly.

        Welcome to the site Robert! Hope to see you around gP!

  10. holdum333 July 29, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

    HI! Greg! I want to get this straight. You are saying that you tried to upgrade 3 PCs using the windows update method and they all failed to update?? Then you used the MCT and were successful on all three PCS. Please respond if I have that right. That would be some thing that is very important for me to know as a half xxxxx computer tech. I’m now wondering about the anniversary update next month.
    Will there be a MCT for that or just a windows update??

    • Greg Conquest July 30, 2016 at 3:16 am #

      Yes, holum333. One PC was my HTPC. I reflashed it back to its original factory state; Windows 7 Home Japanese. I updated it to SP1 using the regular Windows Update, Then, nothing. Nothing I could do would give me an Win10 upgrade prompt. Even checking for updates resulted in nothing. I tried this four maybe one week. I ended up using the MCT DVD from within Windows, and that crashed. I think it worked on the second attempt from within Windows, but I later re-installed using the MCT to boot the PC, not from within Windows.

      2nd PC: my wife’s. Win 7 Pro Japanese. She had the prompt to update to Windows 10, and we clicked. But, over the course of about a week, it would just continually say, “downloading … downloading …” It never completed despite being allowed to run over night and over the course of several days each. And my network can do 1200KB/sec down, so the download could have been completed in only an hour or two. The network seemed to be fine during this time. I finally used the MCT DVD from within Windows, and it worked fine.

      3rd PC: a friend’s. Windows 7 Home Premium Japanese, on her network. We tried three or four times from within Windows. It also said “downloading …. downloading …”, but the app doing the downloading seemed different than what was on my wife’s PC. The end result was the same, though: hours and overnights all to no avail. I even launched the Task Manager to see if the network was doing anything during the time it said it was downloading. Nothing! I could run a speed test and see the network begin to download, but the actual updater wasn’t downloading anything. I ran the MCT DVD from within Windows, and it worked the first time.

      So, my experience from two different networks that both seemed to be working fine, and from three different Windows 7 PCs with a mix of versions and usage histories was all the same: nothing would download. Other than these all being Japanese versions of the OS presumably connecting to MS’s Japanese servers, there were no common failure points. The updater simply failed to download anything at all.

  11. holdum333 July 30, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks Greg! I haven’t had a lot of problems. I use a MCT flash from within windows. I did have one that froze up on me after trying the windows update method and using then the MCT also failed. I ended up taking it back to factory and then using the MCT flash. I’m hoping the anniversary update goes smooth. I live in a senior retirement village and help seniors with their PCs and printers for free! How old were the PCs that you were trying to update?
    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    • Greg Conquest August 1, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

      My acer HTPC was the oldest, maybe 7 years (soon after Win7 was realeased?). My friend’s was maybe three or four years old, a reasonably high-specced ASUS ultrabook. My wife’s was about one year old. She chose Windows 7 even though 8 had been out for a while.

      One more note, on the ultrabook I did check the firewall, and there were no events being blocked that I could see. This could conceivably have been the problem on my wife’s notebook, but I kind of doubt it was the actual problem. It just seems MS produced a less-than-robust updater.

  12. Andre Da Costa July 30, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    Users still stuck trying to upgrade, don’t give up just yet, there might still be a small window of opportunity:

  13. Paul August 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    As to the stuck at 99% problem, I had a different problem. Windows update was conflicting the update. It continued on after I halted the Windows update process. The update ended after the deadline, but it took and was licensed.

  14. josil August 5, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    I updated 3 computers fm Win 7 Pro to Win 10 Pro. All 3 run slower in every respect, aside from files that seemed to disappear and had to be found. None of the computers are involved in anything very taxing, but my experience with MS since 3.1, is their tendency to make easy things hard and hard things easy…relatively.

  15. holdum333 August 5, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi @josil! I have heard other users complain about the W10 upgrade running slower. I haven’t noticed any slow down or missing files. groovypost has a sister forum, where I spend my time. We discuss things like this. Would be happy to see you there if you want to join us!

  16. Jean-Michel August 5, 2016 at 11:36 pm #

    Hi josil ! It’s now almost 10 days since I upgraded my PC and I haven’t noticed any significant sluggish effect in any of my day to day works.
    Anyway, I haven’t yet cleaned the additionnal space consummed during the update operation, just in case !
    Planning to do that in several weeks.
    Cheers !

  17. Chris Amendola August 17, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    My problem started with the need for the new Nvidia driver since I upgraded from a 680 GTX card to a 1070 GTX card and the new drivers wouldn’t recognize the version of windows I was using stating “Driver not compatible with this version of windows”. I couldn’t believe it…So, what was I running!? It’s been running flawlessly since I upgraded. It turns out I ended up installing the RTM version from 7/2015. My system looked like this:
    Windows 10 Pro Build 10240:
    Partition 1: TYPE 07 System Reserved NTFS
    Partition 2: TYPE 07 Windows NTFS
    Partition 3: TYPE 27 Recovery NTFS

    With Windows 10 Pro Build 10240 repair console, all showed NTFS and all mounted correctly.
    With Windows 10 Pro Version 1607 (build 14393.0) repair console, Partition 1 and 2 showed NTFS, Partition 3 showed RAW.

    I had already spent considerable time digging throw the logs in the panther directory with no luck getting past the error. When I saw this, I thought “hmm…this is probably it…”

    Every time I tried to upgrade it, no matter what I tried I would get “Error 0xC1900101-0x20017”.
    I tried to repair each partition. There were no problems. Various system tools said there was no problem…Like GParted and Acronis True Image.
    I tried a backup and restore with Acronis True Image 2016. No luck. I thought maybe Acronis would build corrected partitions on restore.

    Finally, I decided to try and rebuild the non-OS partitions using the new 1607 version and then dumping my OS back onto the OS partition from my True Image backup. This worked! 4 days later…

    In my case, something in the two support partitions caused the problem. I was able to create new ones by:
    Acronis True Image 2016 – FULL backup – I made two of these just in case one failed.
    Boot with the Windows 10 1607 media and get to command prompt.
    Run “diskpart”.
    In diskpart: “list disk”
    Locate the disk you use for your OS – be careful to make sure you have the right one. In my case, it was disk 0.
    In diskpart: “select disk 0”
    In diskpart: “list part” – look at the partitions and make SURE you have the right disk selected and be certain you have your backup.
    In diskpart: “clean” – this wipes the disk.
    Now reboot with the Windows 10 1607 media and install Windows 10 1607 on this clean drive.
    When it’s completed, start up True Image and restore the C: partition back over the one you just installed.
    At this point you should be able to reboot to your windows but now with a new fresh partition 1 and partition 3. Once you’ve rebooted, run the update and enjoy 1607.

    I have my old backup with the funky partition versions, if I get time I may take them apart and see what’s wrong with them that required this extra nausea to allow windows to upgrade…but for now, I have 4 days of work to catch up on.



    PS. M$ – add some more validity checks and maybe some better issue reporting please?

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