How IT administrators can troubleshoot Windows 10 upgrade errors

Microsoft made every visible effort to make Windows 10 upgrade an easy process. Still, there were several instances where installation failed completely for users. In an attempt to resolve this issue, the company has come up with a detailed guide outlining procedures that IT administrators can use to resolve issues with Windows 10 upgrade. The procedures represent a document summary of troubleshooting steps for resolving Windows 10 Upgrade errors and quick fixes.

Windows 10 upgrade errors

Windows 10 upgrade errors

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

Downlevel phase: In this phase, installation components are gathered.

  • The process is run within the previous operating system.

Safe OS phase: this phase is initiated to install all the required updates. An OS rollback is prepared if required.

  • Example error codes: 0x2000C, 0x20017

First boot phase: Initial settings are applied.

  • Example error codes: 0x30018, 0x3000D

Second boot phase: This phase is also called the OOBE boot phase under which final settings are applied.

  • Example error: 0x4000D, 0x40017

Uninstall phase: This phase occurs if the upgrade fails.

  • Example error: 0x50000

Common steps to fix Windows 10 upgrade errors

  1. These are some of the common steps that can be used to resolve many Windows upgrade problems.
  2. Check all hard drives for errors and attempt repairs. To initiate automatic repair of hard drives, open an elevated command prompt, switch to the drive you wish to repair, and enter the chkdsk /F command. If the hard drive being repaired is also your system drive then, after you run this command, your computer will require a reboot.
  3. System files repair can be started by typing the following commands – DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and sfc /scannow at an elevated prompt.
  4. Update Windows so that all recommended updates are available for installation.
  5. If you encounter problems during Windows 10 upgrade, it is advisable to uninstall non-Microsoft antivirus software and use Windows Defender instead for protection during the upgrade. Only after the upgrade is complete, you can verify compatibility of the program and re-install it.
  6. One of the reasons that can be attributed to the failure of Windows 10 upgrade is running of nonessential software. As such, try removing all non-essential external hardware, such as docks and USB devices and update firmware and drivers. Before updating firmware drivers check if the update is relevant to the driver or not.
  7. Also, ensure that “Download and install updates (recommended)” is accepted at the start of the upgrade process. The option automatically looks for new updates if the computer is online and installs them.
  8. Windows 10 Setup Application by default is programmed to examine your free storage space and notify you if there isn’t sufficient space to complete the installation. So, verify first if you have at least 16 GB of free space is available to upgrade a 32-bit OS, or 20 GB for a 64-bit OS.

Windows 10 Upgrade error codes

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

  • A result code: The result code corresponds to a specific Win32 error.
  • 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.

If Windows 10 Setup returns only with result code, it indicates the failure was because of a tool 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.

See the Windows Log files

Whenever you decide to upgrade to a newer version of Windows, several log files are created at each phase of the upgrade process. These log files assume importance since you can use these files for resolving upgrade problems. By default, the folders that contain these log files are hidden on the upgrade target computer. So, to view the log files, configure Windows Explorer to view hidden items, or use a tool to automatically gather these logs. The most useful log is setupact.log.

If you would like to analyze Windows Setup log files, follow this procedure:

  1. First, determine the Windows Setup error code.
  2. Based on the extend code portion of the error code, find the type and location of log files to investigate.
  3. Next, open the log file in a text editor, such as notepad.
  4. Now, 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. For this, Scroll to the bottom of the file and click after the last character.
  5. Then, click Edit and chose Find option.
  6. Type the result code and under Direction select Up, select Find Next.

Once you have successfully located the last occurrence of the result code, scroll upwards from the current location in the file and review the processes that failed just before the result code was generated and search for the following important text strings:

  • Shell application requested abort
  • Abandoning apply due to error for object

Once done, decode Win32 errors that appear in this section, write down the timestamp for the observed errors in this section.

Thereafter, search other log files for additional information matching these timestamps or errors.

Once, you have 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 resolution procedures that IT administrators can use to resolve issues with Windows 10 upgrade.

Related reads:

  1. Windows 10 Installation or Upgrade Errors
  2. Unable to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1/7.
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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.