Windows 8 Upgrade-Failure troubleshooting and analysis

[German version]Many Windows users are eager to get their hands on Windows 8 – accepting one of several upgrade offers from Microsoft. Unfortunately many people fails during upgrade – and in best case, a rollback to the previous installed Windows performs. Whilst I has seen many cases in German Microsoft Answers forum, I begun with investigations. In this articles I will try, to spread the clue, how to analyze upgrade failures using log files. Hopefully it will allow others to estimate the case of fail – and feedback about successful solved cases are always welcome.


Rules for thumbs

First of all, before you dig into an in dept analysis, try to use the following "rules of thumb", to avoid trouble.

  • Uninstall virus scanners and security suites (also Microsoft Security Essentials). I've seen many cases, where such tools (or their drivers) preventing an installation.
  • Uninstall virtual DVD solutions – and take care, that all traces are removed. I've seen logs, where uninstalled Alcohol 120% leaves drivers, that prevents a successful install.
  • Uninstall all Download-Manager, Auto-Updates etc. and also tuning tools. If tuning tools was used, try to roll back all changes made by this tool.
  • Take care that your target install disk is healty (do a disk check) and contains sufficient free space for an upgrade (Microsoft has numbered the required free space for upgrade).
  • Pull all unnecessary devices and unplug also hard discs not required for setup. If multiple graphic devices are available, deactivate unused devices.

Take care, that your BIOS and your drivers are up-to-date. Also it might be wise, to use msconfig and deactived all non Micrsoft services using a diagnose start and then launch the setup upgrade manager. Here is another Microsoft Technet discussion with a nice tipp – use MIG_UPGRADE_IGNORE_PLUGINS system environment variable, to deactivate plugins during upgrades.

If setup failes, use log files to analyze the root cause

Microsoft has already documented how setup will store log files in different places (see Windows Setup Log Files and Event Logs). There are several folders suiteable for analysis.

Folder Remarks
$windows.~bt\Sources\Panther All infos before setup accesses the install drive.
$windows.~bt\Sources\Rollback Log files created during a rollback after a fatal error.
%WINDIR%\Panther Entries created after disc configuration.
%WINDIR%\Inf\Setupapi*.log Logs of Plug&Play installation
%WINDIR%\Memory.dmp Memory dumps created during blue screens and crashes
%WINDIR%\Minidump\*.dmp Mini dumps
%WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep\Panther Sysprep logs

First of all, we need to decide, which folders are helpful/mandatory for our analysis. Memory.dmp and Mini dumps are only relevant, if setup fails with a blue screen. I've had this cases – some people are using my article series BlueScreen-Analyse (only in German) to track the source of the error down to drivers or other components. Sometimes some hints may be found in a black screen, dropped by Windows 8, or within event viewer logs. Also the tool BlueScreenViewer may be helpful – although in depth analysis requires debugging.

In most cases the two folders Panther and Rollback are relevant for investigations. Just use explorer.exe to navigate to those folders, search for .log files and copy them to the desktop. This trick is mandatory to grant read access rights to default users. Afterward the log files may be opended, using Windows editor (notepad).

Here I've discussed (in German) a 1st analysis of a log file. I haven't access to a ful log files. Till now, I've got some logs from different users. So I will discuss a few examples. Below I've removed the "error" phrase and also the time stamp left by setup.

2012-10-26 05:40:28, Error
CONX   Failed to open file: 0x80070020
CONX   GetFileImageInfo failed for for [sptd.sys] 0x80070020
CONX   Failed to get image properties for c:\windows\sysnative\drivers\sptd.sys: 0x80070020
CONX   GetFileProperties failed for [c:\windows\sysnative\drivers\sptd.sys] with 0x80070020
CONX   Failure while installing install.wim. Error: 0x8007025D[gle=0x0000025d]

Just at the beginning of setuperr.log we found the case of a problem. A file sptd.sys  prevents proper access to GetFileImageInfo method. This method retrieves properties about a drive.


Within the log I found traces, that also the creation of an iso files was prevented – this could be an explanation, that some users doesn't see an option within the wizard to create an iso file from ESD dat.

But, for what is sptd.sys for? After asking a search engine, I got some feedbacks like trojan, virus, an in many hits a virtual driver for virtual DVD drive, shipped with daemon tools. Asking the user, he confirms, that daemon tools was installed. Simply uninstalling isn't always successful – there might be a driver remaining within the system – so a clean tool made by the vendor of the software is recommended.

Within this file I found also the following informations.

>>>  [SetupInstallFromInfSection – DefaultInstall.NTAMD64]
>>>  Section start 2012/10/28 19:22:29.662
cmd: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky PURE 2.0\KLIFX64\drvins64.exe" install kl1 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky PURE 2.0\KLIFX64\kl1.inf" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky PURE 2.0\KLIFX64\"
<<<  Section end 2012/10/28 19:22:29.662
<<<  [Exit status: SUCCESS]

>>>  [SetupInstallFromInfSection – kl1.install]
>>>  Section start 2012/10/28 19:22:30.026
cmd: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky PURE 2.0\KLIFX64\drvins64.exe" install kl1 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky PURE 2.0\KLIFX64\kl1.inf" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky PURE 2.0\KLIFX64\"
<<<  Section end 2012/10/28 19:22:30.026
<<<  [Exit status: SUCCESS]

cpy: Open PnpLockdownPolicy: Err=2. This is OK. Use LockDownPolicyDefault

The log indicates a successful operation and grants only a warning. But security tools are always the case of malfunctions. Another setup log contained the following entries:

CONX   [WICA::CosCommunicator::Initialize] Failed to extract the web service url from forward link[gle=0x00002ee7]

CONX   [WICA::CosCommunicator::GetApplicationRatings] [0x80070057] Failed getting application ratings[gle=0x00002ee7]

CONX   ConX::Setup::Media::CWorkerProc::SetupThreadProc: An error occurred while servicing the boot files from [C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Windows\BOOT]; status = [0x8007007B][gle=0x0000007b]

Accessing web services fails and then some boot files couldn't be handled. I could not track down this case, but my impression was, that a virus scanner was involved.

Here is another log file, send over by a user. It was a nice example, who previous installs can affect setup processes.

CONX CFreeSystemPartitionDiskSpaceChecker invoked.
CONX [ConX::Compatibility::Wica::RunScanner] Started system scan. CONX ConX::Compatibility::CSystemAbstraction::
GetSystemVolumePath: System volume path: \Device\HarddiskVolume1 CONX ConX::Compatibility::CSystemAbstraction::
GetSystemVolumePath: Assigned drive letter G:\ to system volume. Error CONX ConX::Compatibility::CSystemAbstraction::
GetDiskFreeSpaceW: Failed to retrieve disk space info for G.[gle=0x00000015]
Error CONX CFreeSystemPartitionDiskSpaceChecker failed. Failed to determine the free disk space on the system partition. . HRESULT = 0x80070015[gle=0x00000015]

Attempts to access disc drive G: fails. Without further information I would assume, it's a non initialized, ill formatted drive, or something like etx2/ext3/ext4 device. But the user told me, drive G: was his virtual DVD, created from Alcohol 120%. Although this tool was uninstalled, some remaining registry entries or drivers disturb setup (mabe this or this helps).

Using the logs provides a chance to find an error code or messages that helps to identify the case of failure – or helps to search the internet for identical messages. It's amazing, how often a short part of an error message brought me to many other websites, giving additional clue, what could be the reason for an error.


Use a clean install, if you fail with log analyse

If you are not successful analyzing your log files, don't waste time and energy, just try a clean install. This is also possible with a upgrade media. Although Microsoft tries to force people to install a copy of an old Windows and run the upgrade wizzard again, there is a shortage.

  1. Create a booteable setup DVD  from ESD download.
  2. Boot from this media and do a clean install.

During install I would remove the old Windows partition and also a partition system reserved, if suitable. This avoids trouble with disk errors, missing free space on a partition etc.

If the install is successful, there is another small pitfall: Microsoft's setup wizard didn't detects a previous Windows, so activation fails with an upgrade key. Seven forums has here the a description (in English), how to overcome this trap with a little registry hack. Afterward, you should be able to activate Windows 8.

I hope, this short article enables you to master your upgrade to Windows 8 (and I hope, there are not too many typos and grammar errors, because I'm not a native English tongue).

Below is a collection of other helpful articles from my blog – but in German – maybe Google translate will do the job.

1: Install.-FAQ & Diagnose, wenn das Windows 8 Setup stirbt … Teil 1
2: Windows 8 Installations-FAQ & Setup-Troubleshooting … Teil 2
3: Windows 8 Pro-Upgrade: Black Screen-Troubleshooter
4: Windows 8-Upgrade: Fehler beim Abrufen des Scanberichts
5: Windows 8: DVD-Laufwerke verschwunden
6: Windows 8: CPU-Kompatibilitätsprobleme beim Setup Teil 1
7: Windows 8: CPU-Kompatibilitätsprobleme – Teil 2
8: Problemdiagnose mit msconfig

Some hints to cure app won't start issues
a: Windows 8: Metro-Apps starten nicht
b: Windows 8: Insides zum Metro-App-Startproblem
c: Nachträge zum Win8 Metro-App-Startproblem

d: Windows BlueScreen-Analyse – Teil 1
e: Windows BlueScreen-Analyse – Teil 2
f: Windows BlueScreen-Analyse – Teil 3

Advertising – my Windows 8 books –

(c) by Günter Born
The source of smart computer books

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