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How to use SetupDiag to determine reason of upgrade problems on Windows 10

Check Windows 10 upgrade problems with SetupDiag
Check Windows 10 upgrade problems with SetupDiag (Image credit: Windows Central)

Although Windows 10 usually provides an error code about an upgrade or update failure, sometimes, it won't show anything leaving you guessing the root of the problem, which can be very frustrating, especially if you're trying to install a new version of the OS.

However, Microsoft offers an optional tool, known as SetupDiag, which is available for free and designed to diagnose and determine the exact reason an update or upgrade failed to install.

SetupDiag works by analyzing the Windows Setup logs (left behind by the installation process) and checking the information against a database of known issues to determine the reason for the installation failure, which you can use to find a solution for the problem.

At the time of this writing, the SetupDiag tool includes a database (rules.xml) with 60 rules to match known issues, but the rules receive updates as new versions of the tool rollout.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to use the SetupDiag tool to understand the reason an update or upgrade failed to install to help you find a solution.

How to check Windows 10 upgrade failure using SetupDiag

The process of using SetupDiag is straightforward. You only need to make sure that the required version of the .NET Framework is installed, then run the tool, and review the results.

Confirm .NET Framework version

To confirm that the device meets the minimum .NET Framework requirements, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to reveal the version of .NET installed and press Enter:reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Net Framework Setup\NDP\v4" /s
  4. Confirm that the "Version" field reads something higher than 4.6.xxxxx, then you can run the tool.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If the device includes .NET 4.6 or higher, then continue with the steps below. Otherwise, download the .NET version 4.6 offline installer (opens in new tab), then double-click the file to install the software.

Run SetupDiag tool

To run the SetupDiag tool on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open SetupDiag download page (opens in new tab).
  2. Click the Download SetupDiag button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select an empty folder to download the files.Quick tip: You can always create a new folder using the New folder button from the "Save As" dialog box and name it: "SetupDiag".
  2. Click the Save button.
  3. Open File Explorer.
  4. Browse to the downloaded file location.
  5. Right-click the "SetupDiag.exe" and select the Run as administrator option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, the tool will run immediately without the need of installation or user interaction. It'll check the available rules against the logs of the failed installation, and the SetugDiag will close automatically.

After the process completes, you'll end up with three new files, including the "Log.zip," "SetupDiag.exe.config," and "SetupDiagResults.log" inside the folder where you downloaded the SetupDiag.exe file.

Understand SetupDiag results

To view and understand the SetupDiag results, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Browse to the downloaded file location.
  3. Right-click the SetupDiagResults.log file and select the Open option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

After you complete the steps, the log file will open with the results that the tool was able to identify based on the known rules.

For example, for this guide, we started the upgrade process to a newer version of Windows 10, and then the device was forcedly shutdown. The setup process reverted to the previous version, and error logs were saved on the device.

In the first part of the file, you'll find some system information about your computer, including device name, manufacturer, BIOS (UEFI) version, the original version of Windows 10, registered antivirus, upgrade date, and more.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Then below the system information, you'll find the details of the error. In this case, we can see that the installation process failed while applying the new files since the device was forcedly shut down, and we can see the error code (0xC1900101-0x2000C) of the problem.

Depending on the error, you'll see different details that will help you to find out the root of the cause and steps to resolve the problem.

If you don't see recommendations to fix the issue, then follow the available link, or use the error code or any information available to research the problem online. Also, you can always perform an online search or use the official Microsoft forums (opens in new tab) or Windows Central forums.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

2 Comments
  • My biggest issue is that even when there is an error code, why is an end-user forced to see an error code as opposed to an immediate explanation.
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