Can't update Windows from USB drive

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  1. Posts : 124
    Win10 Pro (20H2, v.2)
       #1

    Can't update Windows from USB drive


    I have an old Microsoft Surface 3 that has been sitting around on a shelf for many months and decided to dust it off to update it to current Windows & app versions, but was unable to connect to the internet (I started a thread in the Networking section) so thought I'd update the existing Win10 Home v.1709 to v.1903 to see if that fixed things.

    I inserted a USB stick that I created from a downloaded version of v.1903 that I've used to successfully update three other computers by launching setup.exe. When I tried that on the Surface 3, a little bit into the process I got:

    Can't update Windows from USB drive-surface.01.jpg

    Odd, I thought, so I thought I'd try by booting to the USB and reached:

    Can't update Windows from USB drive-surface.02.jpg

    So, other than wiping the hard drive and doing a clean install of v.1903, is there any way to do an in-place upgrade. Normally I'd let Windows Update do its thing, but I can't access the internet...

    [edited to add:] I had an inspiration to copy the original downloaded .ISO file to the Surface 3 hard drive, but got the same "This PC can't run Windows 10" pop-up as shown above, including the verbiage about "USB flash drive".
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  2. Posts : 34,992
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #2

    Hi, you may have run into a widely reported bug present in an older build of 1903 that wouldn't let you install with an external drive present. Remove any present and retry.

    E.g.
    Microsoft Fixes USB Bug Preventing Users From Updating to Windows 10 Version 1903 - Thurrott.com


    Addresses an issue that may cause an external USB device or SD memory card to be reassigned to an incorrect drive during installation. For more information, see “This PC can’t be upgraded to Windows 10” error on a computer that has a USB device or SD card attached.
    And just to be sure..presumably you are attempting the upgrade having first logged in to Windows, then running setup.exe.
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  3. Posts : 124
    Win10 Pro (20H2, v.2)
    Thread Starter
       #3

    dalchina said:
    Hi, you may have run into a widely reported bug present in an older build of 1903 that wouldn't let you install with an external drive present. Remove any present and retry.

    E.g.
    Microsoft Fixes USB Bug Preventing Users From Updating to Windows 10 Version 1903 - Thurrott.com
    Good suggestion. Thanks!

    I removed an SD card which was the only "external drive" and tried launching setup.exe from the hard drive. Same "This PC can't run Windows 10" pop-up referencing "USB drive."

    Windows Explorer mounted the .ISO file and showed is as a CD drive E:. So, I "ejected" it to be able to delete the .ISO file from the hard drive and copied all the files from the USB drive to a folder on the hard drive. Same "This PC can't run Windows 10" pop-up referencing "USB drive." What the heck?

    After reading the Thurott article, I guess I'll re-download the .ISO file on the assumption I had the previous version with the problem (even though my last attempt was with no external drives including a "faux-CD drive"...)

    dalchina said:
    And just to be sure..presumably you are attempting the upgrade having first logged in to Windows, then running setup.exe.
    Yes, I'm logged in to Windows with an account with Administrator rights.
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  4. Posts : 34,992
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #4

    USB issue stated as resolved.. details in News article under Resolved:
    Known and Resolved issues for Windows 10 May 2019 Update version 1903

    (search for Usb to find table entry)
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  5. Posts : 124
    Win10 Pro (20H2, v.2)
    Thread Starter
       #5

    dalchina said:
    USB issue stated as resolved.. details in News article under Resolved:
    Known and Resolved issues for Windows 10 May 2019 Update version 1903

    (search for Usb to find table entry)
    Well, I know it says the problem was resolved in July, but...

    Just downloaded a fresh version of the MediaCreationTool to create a new USB stick and *still* get the pop-up saying my PC can't run Windows 10. Shouldn't the just-downloaded files contain the July 2019 fix?

    What next?
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  6. Posts : 34,992
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #6

    Are you accepting updates as part of the procedure?

    Also see this:
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...5-e7e83d488c63
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 124
    Win10 Pro (20H2, v.2)
    Thread Starter
       #7

    dalchina said:
    Are you accepting updates as part of the procedure?

    Also see this:
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...5-e7e83d488c63
    No, I'm not letting it check for updates since I don't have internet access. The very first time, I left the setting to check for updates at the default "check now" and all it did was add a several-minute-long pause (to time-out) before proceeding to the "can't run Windows 10" error.

    The referenced Registry entry on my system was already set to "1".

    Stop the presses!

    The suggestion in the above answers.microsoft.com link was to "Change the value PortableOperatingSystem to “0” from 1."

    I found another source that said "change the value to 1 or 0 depending on the current state" so I changed mine from 1 to 0. After a reboot (for good measure) I was able to proceed with the Win10 upgrade process. It is at 37% now and still going. Whew!

    Thanks for all your help!
    Last edited by wpcoe; 09 Oct 2019 at 05:16.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 34,992
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #8

    Thank you for your reply.

    I would suggest that assuming you have the latest build iso available, that since MS is providing updates to resolve issues as you will see if you look at the thread per update per build in the News section, that to benefit from any resolution you would need to accept updates - i.e. find a way of connecting your device.
      My Computers


  9. Posts : 124
    Win10 Pro (20H2, v.2)
    Thread Starter
       #9

    dalchina said:
    Thank you for your reply.

    I would suggest that assuming you have the latest build iso available, that since MS is providing updates to resolve issues as you will see if you look at the thread per update per build in the News section, that to benefit from any resolution you would need to accept updates - i.e. find a way of connecting your device.
    Now that I've resolved updating from a USB stick, I've marked the thread "Solved." With any luck I'll have internet access after the update and can mark the other thread solved as well. <fingers crossed> Always the optimist.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 34,992
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #10

      My Computers


 

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