How to Fix: Windows 10 Upgrade Failed Error 80240020
Infopackets Reader Sam T. writes:
" Dear Dennis,
I have clicked on the 'Get Windows 10' app in my tray bar and it still says it's reserved. I read that I can force the upgrade by using entering 'wuauclt.exe /updatenow' in the command prompt -- however, I keep getting a message that Windows 10 Upgrade Failed, with error code 80240020. I searched for 'windows 10 upgrade failed 80240020' on Google and have read a number of posts, but I can't seem to figure out how to make this work. I keep getting an access denied error. Can you help? "
Many of the instructions on the web I've read on resolving error code 80240020 are far too short and don't explain what's happening. Also, many of the instructions I've read on how to fix Windows 10 Error Code 80240020 may not work for some people. As such, I'll explain two methods on how to fix error 80240020 properly - step-by-step, and in simple English.
The Windows 10 Error Code 80240020 is most likely a result of a corrupt Windows Update folder, which in turn prevents Windows 10 setup from starting. To fix the issue, you can rename the c:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder, which will then force Windows Update initialize itself and start downloading Windows 10 again.
Here's the proper way to do this:
- Close the Windows Update window if it's already open.
- Next, open up an Administrative Command prompt. To do so: click Start and type in "cmd" (no quotes) and do NOT press Enter on the keyboard yet; wait for either Command Prompt or CMD.EXE to appear in the list, then right click it and select "Run as Administrator".
- If successful, a black command prompt window will appear with the title: "Administrator: Command Prompt" or "Administrator: C:\windows\system32\cmd.exe". If you don't see "Administrator" in the title then please repeat Step #1 above. If it still doesn't work, please refer to this article.
- Using your mouse, highlight the text below:
net stop wuauserv
rename SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
net start wuauserv
- Right click over top of the highlighted text (above) and select "Copy" from the dialogue menu.
- Go to the Administrative command prompt and right click on the black area of the window. A dialogue menu should appear; select Paste. The commands you copied from Step #4 should now output onto the command line. IMPORTANT: you will need to press Enter on the keyboard inside the command prompt to ensure that the very last command is executed.
- The Windows Update window should now appear and it should start downloading updates -- specifically, Windows 10. Follow the onscreen instructions and the Windows 10 installer should start.
If after Windows Update runs, you still receive Windows 10 Error Code 80240020, proceed to Option #2.
You can also manually download Windows 10 using the Windows "Update Tool", which will download Windows 10 from scratch -- but not through Windows Update. IMPORTANT: It's critical that you perform the installation of Windows 10 from within your existing Windows environment in order to retain your free Windows 10 upgrade license. In other words, don't create the Windows 10 install media and reboot your computer and do a clean install as this will not retain your free license.
To create the Windows 10 install media using the Media Creation Tool, do the following:
- First, we need to collect some info about your computer so you create the proper install media. To do so, open up an Administrative Command prompt: click Start and type in "cmd" (no quotes) and do NOT press Enter on the keyboard yet; wait for either Command Prompt or CMD.EXE to appear in the list, then right click it and select "Run as Administrator".
- Highlight the text below with your mouse:
systeminfo | findstr /B /C:"OS Name" /C:"OS Version" /C:"System Locale" /C:"System Type"
- Right click over top of the highlighted text (above) and select Copy from the dialogue menu.
- Go to the Administrative Command prompt and right click on the black area of the window; select Paste from the dialogue menu, then press Enter on the keyboard. The command should execute and you should see something similar to the following:
OS Name: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
OS Version: 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601
System Type: x64-based PC
System Locale: en-us;English (United States)
- Go to Microsoft's website and download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool (32 or 64 bit installer), depending on the "System Type" output from the previous step.
- Run the windows 10 Media Creation Tool (x32 or x64) and select one of the following options:
(a) if you only have 1 PC that you are updating, then select "Upgrade this PC Now". If you choose this option then it will download Windows 10 directly to the computer and perform an in-place upgrade from within your existing Windows environment. This method will ensure that you receive and retain your free Windows 10 license. After that you can perform a clean install if you wish, or you can leave it as-is, if the system is working as expected.
(b) If you want to upgrade to Windows 10 on more than one PC, select "Create installation media for another PC", and click next. IMPORTANT: on the proceeding page, ensure that you select the SAME language as your System Locale (as output in Step #4), otherwise you will receive a "Something happened" error message and it will abort. For the "Edition" option, choose either Windows 10 Home or Pro*, and for "Architecture" select "both", then click next. On the proceeding page, select USB flash drive (if you have at least an 8GB flash drive), or ISO if you want to burn it to DVD.
* You can choose Windows 10 Home or Pro depending on which version of Windows you are upgrading from; please refer to this article as it explains the upgrade paths. If you are upgrading to both Home and Pro on different systems, then you will need to create two different install media as there is no option to create "Home and Pro" - only one or the other.
- If you created an .ISO file, you will need to burn the .ISO to DVD or USB. Note that you cannot burn the .ISO file as a data disc; it must be burned as an ISO disc. For this, please download CD Burner XP and refer to this document which explains how to burn an ISO. If you want to write the .ISO to USB, use Rufus.
- IMPORTANT: once the install media has been created, run the setup.exe from the USB drive or DVD disc. This will perform an in-place install of Windows 10 within your existing Windows environment. This method will ensure that you receive and retain your free Windows 10 license. After that you can perform a clean install if you wish.
If all of this is over your head and you need help, you can contact me for remote desktop support and I will connect to your system and do it for you.
Hope that helps!
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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.
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