Common Windows 10 Upgrade and Installation Errors


This post is to summarize and provides a brief introduction to Windows 10 installation processes. There are plenty of resolution procedures that IT administrators can use to resolve issues occurring during Windows 10 upgrade.

Compare to the past version of Operating System. Microsoft had putting notable effort to make Windows 10 upgrade an transparent and easy process. Sadly, there are still several instances where Windows Upgrade failed completely for users.

Microsoft has come up with a detailed process flow for its Windows 10 upgrade and how to tackle the real issue base on the error message on screen. This post great for IT administrators who want to know more about Windows 10 installation process and troubleshooting steps for resolving Windows 10 Upgrade errors.

Windows 10 Upgrade Phase with Possible errors

Windows Setup Application is an important application that helps in managing the clean installation of Windows 10. It starts and restarts the computer, collects information, copies files, and creates or adjusts configuration settings. Windows Setup application divides operating system upgrade into several phases:

  1. Downlevel phase: Installation components are gathered and run within previous OS
  2. Safe OS phase: A recovery partition is configured and install all required updates. An OS rollback is prepared if needed.
    • Example error codes: 0x2000C, 0x20017
  3. First boot phase: Initial settings are applied.
    • Example error codes: 0x30018, 0x3000D
  4. Second boot phase: Final settings are applied. This is also called the OOBE boot phase.
    • Example error: 0x4000D, 0x40017
  5. Uninstall phase: This phase occurs if upgrade is unsuccessful.
    • Example error: 0x50000

Quick fixes that can resolved your Windows Upgrade Problems

  1. Check all hard drives for errors and attempt repairs.
    • chkdsk /F
  2. Attempt to restore and repair system files by typing the following commands at an elevated command prompt.
    • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
    • sfc /scannow
  3. Update Windows so that all available recommended updates are installed.
  4. Uninstall non-Microsoft antivirus software.
    • Use Windows Defender for protection during the upgrade.
    • Verify compatibility information and re-install antivirus applications after the upgrade.
  5. Uninstall all non-necessary software.
  6. Remove non-necessary external hardware, such as docks and USB devices.
  7. Update firmware and drivers.
  8. Ensure that “Download and install updates (recommended)” is accepted at the start of the upgrade process.
  9. Verify at least 16 GB of free space for 32-bit OS, or 20 GB for a 64-bit OS.

Upgrade error codes

If the upgrade process is not successful, Windows Setup will return two codes:

  1. A result code: The result code corresponds to a specific Win32 error.
  2. An extend code: The extend code contains information about both the phase in which an error occurred, and the operation that was being performed when the error occurred.

For example, a result code of 0xC1900101 with an extend code of 0x4000D will be returned as: 0xC1900101 – 0x4000D.

Note: If only a result code is returned during Windows 10 setup, this might be due to a tool is being used that was not able to capture the extend code. For example, if you are using the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant then only a result code might be returned.

Windows 10 Installation Log files

In Windows, usually it will generate log files no matter is a upgrade or newly install applications. This is the same apply to Windows 10 installation. Several log files created at each phase of the upgrade process. Each and every log files plays an important role, you may resolve upgrade problems by checking this log files. These log files are hidden by default, configure Windows Explorer to view hidden items. The most useful log is setupact.log. The log files are located in a different folder depending on the Windows Setup phase.

Procedure to analyze Windows 10 Installation log files

  1. Determine the Windows Setup error code.
  2. Based on the extend code portion of the error code, determine the type and location of a log files to investigate.
  3. Open the log file in a text editor, such as notepad.
  4. Using the result code portion of the Windows Setup error code, search for the result code in the file and find the last occurrence of the code. Alternatively search for the “abort” and abandoning” text strings described in step 7 below.
  5. Then, click Edit and chose Find option.
  6. When you have located the last occurrence of the result code, scroll up a few lines from this location in the file and review the processes that failed just prior to generating the result code.
  7. Search for the following important text strings:
    • Shell application requested abort
    • Abandoning apply due to error for object
  8. Decode Win32 errors that appear in this section.
  9. Write down the timestamp for the observed errors in this section.
  10. Search other log files for additional information matching these timestamps or errors.

As soon as you found the exact error code you can following general troubleshooting procedures associated with an error result by following the steps outlined on this TechNet page. This post provides detail resolution procedures that IT administrators can use to resolve issues with Windows 10 upgrade.

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