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12 Windows 10 install issues -- and what to do about them

Woody Leonhard | Oct. 9, 2015
Having trouble installing and setting up Win10? You aren’t alone. Here are a dozen-plus of the most common problems, along with a few solutions.

If that still doesn’t work and you end up with an installer hang or repeated reboots, simply sit back and wait. Microsoft’s still ironing out a lot of bugs, and you may have one or two (or 20) of them.

Error: “Something Happened 0x80070005-0x90002”

The Windows 10 installer has such descriptive error codes, doesn’t it? This one’s a classic. The 80070005 error has been around for ages, and it generally means that the installer can’t work with a file that it needs. Possible causes are many, but the general solution goes like this:

  1. Disable all antivirus and firewalls. Yes, even Microsoft’s.
  2. Reset Windows Update by going to KB 971058 and running the Fixit.
  3. Run the Windows 10 installer again (presumably through Windows Update).
  4. If that doesn’t work, turn your AV and firewall back on, then follow the instructions at KB 947821 to run DISM or the System Update Readiness Tool.
  5. Turn off your AV and firewall, then try installing Win10 again.

If that doesn’t work, try any or all of the suggestions listed here.

Error: 0xC1900101-0x20017, -0x30018, -0x20004 and others

More specifically: “The installation failed in the SAFE_OS phase with an error during INSTALL_RECOVERY_ENVIRONMENT operation” or something along those lines.

This is another Windows installer error that dates back (at least) to the times of Windows 8. Many people report these errors occurring in conjunction with freezes and crashes of varying intensity and length.

There’s a six-page thread about this on the Microsoft Answers forum, one on Reddit that’s about two miles long, and many others around the Web, but nobody seems to have found a general solution.

My advice is to wait. If you have a spare weekend, you can try the comprehensive solutions presented by Gunter Born on his blog. But in general, this one’s a mammoth, insurmountable time sink. Give Microsoft a few months or more to figure it out.

Activation problems

There’s a trick to activating your free Windows 10 upgrade -- a trick that Microsoft didn’t bother explaining until a month after it released the final version of Windows 10 on July 29.

Here’s how activation goes for free Win10 upgraders: When you upgrade a “genuine” Windows 7 or 8.1 system to Windows 10, if you want to end up with a “genuine” copy of Windows 10, you have to do an in-place upgrade first. As part of the in-place upgrade, Microsoft confirms that you have a genuine Win7 or Win8.1 key and, if so, stores a record of your machine and the fact that your machine now has a “genuine” copy of Win10. Microsoft calls that a “digital entitlement.”

 

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