Upgrading to Windows 10, especially on older systems can be quite challenging. Let’s review the most common issues being encountered and suggestions on resolving them.
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 that 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 – Windows10Forum.com.
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 is that 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 the listed Display Adapter then click Uninstall.
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.
- Put the Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation disc into the disc drive, and then start the computer.
- Press a key when the message indicating Press any key to boot from CD or DVD appears.
- Select a language, time, currency, and a keyboard, or another input method, and then click Next.
- Click Repair your computer.
- Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
- In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.
- Type BOOTREC /FIXMBR, and then press ENTER.
- Type BOOTREC /FIXBOOT, and then press ENTER.
- Type Drive:\boot\Bootsect.exe /NT60 All, and then press ENTER.
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 the Windows setup. If you are using an account with a name such as USER, ACCOUNT, or SYSTEM, then 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 a 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 manually modifying the software distribution folder 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.
- Press Windows Key + Xon the keyboard and then select “Command Prompt (Admin)” from the menu.
- 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
- Proceed to rename the SoftwareDistribution and Catroot2 folder. Type each command then hit Enter.
ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old
- Restart each of the services we disabled earlier: Windows Update Services, Cryptographic, BITS, and MSI Installer. Type each command then hit enter.
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver
Exit the command prompt then restart your computer. Try starting the 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.
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 in to 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 roll back 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 the 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 to install Windows 10. If none of the above helps 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.