August 2nd Microsoft release the Windows 10 Anniversary Update the 2nd major update to Windows 10 and one that adds some significant new features to the OS (see my article). Windows Insiders have had test builds (codenamed Redstone One) for the last few months and having spent plenty of time with the update here are a few tips to make sure your upgrade goes smoothly and a couple of tips if it doesn’t.

The first one is probably a bit obvious but make sure your PC is up to date. Go to settings, Update & Security and Check for Updates.

This should make sure you system is up to date with the latest drives installed.

Disk space

The number one problem I have seen applying Windows 10 upgrades has been disk space. Microsoft don’t officially say how much space it required but I have found it’s about 8GB, Windows Update should check for space before it starts and if there is insufficient space it should warn you and bring up the disk clean up tool. Having said that it is better to make sure you have free space before starting so go to settings, system, Storage and then click on your main hard drive. It will then show what is using up all your disk space, clicking on the Temporary Files section will show up items taking up space like previous versions of Windows, Recycle Bin, temporary files and downloads. You can then select to delete to clear out the folders, I found a previous version of Windows was taking 11GB so clearing items like will help.

Fixing broken installs

There are occasions where the download doesn’t work correctly and the install package is corrupted so you end up with a Retry message or:

There were some problems installing updates, but we’ll try again later. If you keep seeing this and want to search the web or contact support for information, this may help: (0x800705b4)

I have an article on how to fix this problem that involves deleting temporary download files and then re-starting the download.

Another common issue is when Windows Update sticks at a certain %, I have seen Surface Pro devices stick at 86% when docked and undocking immediately fixed the problem and the update completed. So if you are having problems like that make sure MicroSD cards, USB drivers and other devices are disconnected. In fact I would recommend removing a notebook from a docking station before starting the update.


When the update is installing there can be some long periods of apparent inactivity where Windows Update is working in the background so don’t rush to reset your machine while the update is running. My Surface Pro 4 tool about 20 minutes whereas my old Encore 8 took well over an hour and I have heard of systems taking two hours so leave it running.

You can open a command prompt during the setup routine using Shift + F10. You can then find and view setupact.log a log file which is normally located in the Windows directory eg c:\Windows or c:\setupact.log, c:\Windows\Inf, C:\$Windows.~BT\ see this Microsoft support page for more help. Normally the last item in the log is where the update is getting stuck, check the time stamp on the last item in the log and if it looks pretty recent then it probably isn’t stuck and it is still working.

If you really do think it’s stuck and power off your machine after restarting Windows will reset the installation back to how it was before you started. You could try it again or having a look at the log file and see if you can see what was happening when it crashed.

Windows Media Creation Tool

If you are having problems with the install it could be problems with the download. You could try re-installing via an ISO of Windows 10 which you can get from via the Windows Media Creation Tool. With the tool you can create an ISO of Windows 10 which you can then install from your current Windows 10 installation. With the ISO you get the option of doing an upgrade or a clean install, if you do a clean install it will wipe your current setup so you probably don’t want to do that so just use the in-place upgrade which will update your system to the new version of Windows 10 without wiping anything. Microsoft have all the details of the tool and make sure you follow the procedures with care as you could end up wiping your system!

Advanced Tools

If you had problems with your current installations of Windows 10 there are a couple of system tools for verifying and fixing Windows. These commands need to be ran from an elevated command prompt, right click on the Start button and select “Command Prompt (Admin)”

In the command prompt Windows type “sfc /scannow”. This is the Windows 10 System File Checker tool and it will check for corrupt system files, when the scan finished you will get a “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations”. This means you are good to go, if it does come back with errors you can try “chkdsk /r” which should try to fix any issues.

It could be that an app or service is preventing the update. One way to check this is to prevent all non-Microsoft services from starting. You can do this using running MSCONFIG going to the services tab, selecting Hide All Microsoft Services and selecting Disable All then rebooting. Also you can try a fix up tool “dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth”, this fixes the current installation.

More help

A great place to go for more help is Microsoft’s Answers forums. There is a Windows 10 section where Window Insiders and other members of the community will help you out.

One thought on “Preparing your PC for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and troubleshooting update problems”
  1. I disconnected all peripheral devices and still stuck at 75% for hours and hours. 🙁 Before I retried, I updated the drivers with Driver Talent and then tried again. This time I made it and finished the Windows 10 anniversary updates. Thank you for your tips. Thumbs up. 🙂

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