Windows 10 Upgrade Failed? 15 Ways to Find the Problem and Fix

Windows 10 is now running on more than 1 billion devices across the world. Unsurprisingly, most of those devices are laptops and PCs. So you can imagine what loads of work Microsoft has to do for bringing out the update for such a vast community. So facing some issues while upgrading is normal. 

As we all know that currently, the whole world is dealing with a massive crisis. Because of that, most of the IT professionals are working from isolation. This has gradually increased the number of people who are upgrading their devices to Windows 10. 

If you have an old device running on Windows 7 or 8, you can still upgrade it to Windows 10 for free. However, depending on the hardware configuration and compatibility with existing software, you might face failure during the upgrading process. 

In this guide, we would discuss some of the tools and methods that you can use to identify and fix the issues that are creating hindrances in upgrading your system to Windows 10.   

Another thing to know is that these steps would also help you in installing the feature updates on PC that are already running on Windows 10.

Note: Some of these tips require an intermediate to advanced level technical skill. If at any point you feel uncertain, don’t hesitate to take the help of a friend, colleague, or an IT expert. Even if they are far away, they can help you remotely.

Let us get started!

Check for BIOS Version

BIOS plays an essential role while upgrading the system. It is the one that takes care of starting up PC and makes a connection to the vital system devices such as the keyboard, mouse, and disk controllers. A non-updated BIOS can be a notable block for a Windows upgrade. Especially for the old devices that were built before the release of Windows 10. However, after the release of Windows 10 in 2015, many PC manufacturers release updates for their BIOS keys. These BIOS updates were explicitly designed for fixing the Windows 10 upgrading problem. So your Windows 10 upgrading issue could be resolved just by updating the BIOS.

To check your system’s BIOS version, press Windows+R to open the Run Dialog box. 

Run Dialog Box

Type msinfo32 in the dialog box and press Enter or click OK. 

Run msinfo32

This would open the system information window. Under the System Summary tab, look for the BIOS Version/Date.

Check For BIOS Version

If the date of the BIOS is older than 2016, then you might need to update your BIOS. For that, check your manufacturer website if any update is available. If your system is not much old, then you would undoubtedly receive the BIOS update because many systems that had passed their support deadline still received the fresh BIOS code around Windows 10 release time. 

  UEFI vs BIOS - What is the Difference?

Perform the Troubleshooting Steps

Some of the primary system defects are the most common causes of the Windows 10 upgrade failure. Some of these errors are Insufficient storage, software incompatibility, and error in the Setup wizard. You might resolve the Windows upgrading issue by applying some troubleshooting measures, even if you don’t know the exact cause of the problem. 

The first step is to uninstall the unrequired, low-level system tools such as disk management app, antivirus program, and other similar apps.

The next step is to disconnect all the external devices, which are not required during the upgrading process, especially the external storage devices.

Now, finally, do not continue the upgrading process with the upgrading wizard. Sometimes it fails to bypass an error because it is unable to ask for your permission to do that.

The best practice is to run the Windows installation directly from the downloaded file. To perform this, use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to download the required file and store it in an external USB drive. Or you can save the installer as an ISO file, which can be mounted as a virtual drive later on during the installation process. 

Now all you have to do is use the Windows Explorer or File Explorer to open the external or virtual drive whatever you have prepared. Double-click on the Setup file to begin the installation.

Run The Built-in Compatibility Checker in Windows Setup

Unlike the older times, Windows upgrading doesn’t take a lot of time now. However, some upgrades can take some time to install in low-end systems.

The worst part is, after waiting for almost an hour or two when the installation is on a verge to finish, the system suddenly rolled back the whole process and restored the previously installed Windows version. And what more, you are not even informed about the cause of the problem so that you can work on that.

In order to avoid such misery, there is a method you can follow for a compatibility check. For this, you should have the full Windows installation file downloaded with you, similar to the one explained in the previous step.

Open the File Explorer and take note of the drive letter of the virtual or the external drive where your Windows 10 installation file is present.

Next, open the Command Prompt as the administrator. For this, you have to open the Run Dialog Box, type the cmd.exe, and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter

Run Command Prompt in Administrator Mode

After accessing the Command Prompt, you have to enter the following two commands. In place of d:, substitute the drive letter where your Windows 10 installation file is located. Press Enter each time after entering the commands.

d: 

Setup /Compat ScanOnly

Now you have just to follow the setup steps like you are performing an upgrade. When you would reach the last screen, click on Install. Instead of starting the installation process, the program would end there itself. While it ends, it loads some information to a file called BlueBox.log. This file is present at this location: C:\Windows\Logs\MoSetup

Open the file in the Notepad and scroll down at the bottom to look for the final error code. If you see 0xC1900210, then there is no problem, and you can continue to install the upgrading file using the method explained in the previous section. There are no blocking compatibility issues, and the system would not roll back your installation process.

However, if you encountered any other error code, then you have to find out what that means. Following is the list of 4 most frequent error codes.

  • 0xC1900208: it means that Compatibility issues found, and your installation would be hard blocked.
  • 0xC1900204: it means that auto-upgrade is not available, probably due to the wrong architecture.
  • 0xC1900200: it means that your device does not meet the system requirements for installing Windows 10.
  • 0xC190020E: it means that your system doesn’t have sufficient disk space for the Windows 10 upgradations.

There is a possibility that you might have seen any other error codes apart from the above mentioned. So for more information on that, you can refer to this official Microsoft support document: Resolve Windows 10 upgrade errors: Technical information for IT Pros.

Check the Setup Logs After a Failed Installation

After a failed installation, you might be tempted to give one more try. However, to your disappointment, that is not a solution. Instead, we recommend you to use Microsoft’s official diagnostic utility, SetupDiag. It would help you to know the reasons behind the failed installation of Windows 10.

This tool uses the set of rules that matches the most common issues affecting the Windows 10 upgradations. It is available for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 all. It would only work for Windows 10 upgrades, i.e., when you are upgrading your system from Windows 7 and Windows 8 to Windows 10 or when you are installing a feature update for Windows 10. To run it properly, you need to install the .NET Framework version 4.6 or higher.

When a Windows installation is failed, Windows creates many log files. What SetupDiag does is, it inspect each log file created by the Windows and present the most relatable cause of the failure.

Whenever you encounter a Windows 10 upgrade failure, just download the SetupDiag. Keep the download page open for the clear step by step instructions.

Copy the SetupDiag.exe to the folder on your PC, where the setup failed, and then run the executable file by double-clicking.

Previously it needed the command line switches to get the location of the log files. The latest program, however, is much advanced enough to search for the common location of the log files by itself.

After the process is complete, SetupDiag produces the output in a text file that can you can open with the help of any text editor, including the Notepad. You can analyze the output and figure out the problem. If you are finding any difficulty in examining, you can tech help of a tech expert.

Check for the Already Reported Issues

You have to keep in mind that however big a company is, there is no new update that can be 100% bug-free. As already mentioned in the introduction, Microsoft has to roll out updates for a vast community. Therefore the reporting of bugs is inevitable. 

After every release of a new update, the reporting of the bugs begin. These are all listed on Microsoft’s Windows 10 release information dashboard.

On the left-hand side, you can expand and know about all the resolved issues for different versions of Windows 10. These known issues are usually reported within the first few months of the release of a new feature update.

Windows 10 Release Information

So whenever you try to update an old PC of yours to Windows 10, first check the known issue list and compare the compatibility.

You can also check the list after a failed installation and look at whether any of the reasons listed on the list matches with the reason your installation got rejected.  

Windows 10 Failed Update Fixes

We would now discuss some of the fixes for a Windows 10 failed update.

Try Windows Update Troubleshooter

This would work for you most of the time. Microsoft has provided an in-built Windows update troubleshooting tool that looks for the possible errors that are blocking the Windows 10 update. 

You can reach it either by searching “troubleshoot” in the search box or by following this path Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshooting.

Windows 10 Update Troubleshoot

You would see multiple troubleshooting options. From those, you have to choose Windows Update.  Now you have just to follow the steps on the screen. When you are asked for using the Advanced Option, it is recommended to use them because it would run the troubleshooter as an admin and therefore provides a broader range of fixing the problems.

Pause the Updates

This is an easy task and surprisingly worked very well for most people. 

Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update

Look for Pause Updates for 7 days and click on it.

Pause Updates for Windows

Now restart your system and Resume the update. Your update should be downloaded and installed successfully. 

Delete the SoftwareDistribution Folder

If the above two methods didn’t work for you, then try this method. However, in this, you have to make some extra efforts than the previous method.

This method lets you delete the old update files. The first step is to restart the system in Safe Mode. However, you can also perform this step by stopping the Windows Update Service on normal mode, but it is better to go for Safe Mode. 

After entering into Safe Mode, open File Explorer and navigate towards the Windows folder and open it. Inside it, you would find a folder named SoftwareDistribution. Delete it permanently. 

After this, restart your system and give another attempt to update the Windows 10. It should get updated now.

Download and Install Update Manually

If Windows 10 still failed to update, it is better to take the matter in your own hands. Go to Microsoft’s Official Download Windows 10 page and download the latest update file. 

Once the download gets completed, just run the file, and the installation of the feature updated would begin.

However, this method only works for Feature Updates.

Download and Install the Quality or Security Updates Manually

The above method was just for manually installing the feature updates. Now you might Microsoft frequently release the other Quality and Security updates for Windows 10. 

For manually downloading those updates, visit Microsoft Update Catalog. You have to first look for the KB number of the failed update. Usually, it is something like this- KB4541335.

Windows Update KB Number

Search for the KB number on Microsoft Update Catalog and download the correct distribution package. After the download gets completed, double-click to install it.

Some Frequently Asked Questions on Windows 10 Upgrade

Can Windows 7 be upgraded to Windows 10 in Safe Mode?

According to Microsoft, NO, you cannot upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 in Safe Mode. You can, however, disable the other services that are using your internet to speed up the Windows 10 upgrading process.  

Why is my Computer stuck Updating?

As we have discussed in this guide, there could be a number of reasons for a stuck or failed update. Your internet might be slow or not working. Your system BIOS key is not up to date. There might be a software compatibility issue. If you are updating Windows manually with a downloaded file, it might be corrupted or a broken download. 

Why won’t my laptop install Updates?

Again, it might be mainly because of a compatibility issue. Your laptop might not fulfill the minimum requirements for installing the updates. There may be other reasons to like lack of storage or slow internet.

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