Never forget the basics of diagnostics.

Win10I fix a lot of computer problems, it’s a part of my daily life, my occupation, job etc… Sometimes it’s the really simple things which trip you up – it’s a problem in my profession where we tend to sometimes skip the really simple steps of problem solving and go straight for the solution, assuming (The mother of all fuckups) that the simple things are all OK.

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I fell into the trap this weekend, installing Win 10 on my main desktop machine… I know the machine is a beast of a bastard of a machine, and the build isn’t simple – for start it has five physical hard drives in the box, three DVD writers, two other USB3 drives attached, plus capacity for more when I’m performing system backups. The primary reason for the diverse storage is to eliminate bottle-necks – with everything having dedicated physical storage, even under very high workload, this thing doesn’t slow down. Anyhow, when upgrading the existing Win7 64bit Pro install to Win 10, I had the error “Something Happened. Sorry, we’re having trouble determining if your PC can run Windows 10. Please close Setup and try again.” Now, I did the usual simple fix, and turned it off and on again, with a more basic software config loaded, e.g. no VPN. No luck. This is where I dived off the deep end.

Welcome to the deep end. I Googled it. Probably a partition thing. OK. Storage management, and set the active partition to the OS Part, not the sys part, re-ran the setup, and got past that error – easy I think, so I set the system partition active again, continuing with the install.

IMG_1432No such luck, along came the next error, “Something happened. We can’t tell if your PC has enough space to continue installing Windows 10. Try restarting Setup”. Oh Noes! So… I KNOW the free space on my system, I’d just backed up and cleaned it out to make sure this process was smooth – there is enough physical space – after all, as part of the system design, there is a 500mb fast hard drive dedicated to the OS and apps, only about 60gb used in total.

To cut a long story a little short – I went though the system, even down to the BIOS to power off all internal storage, save for the OS drive… Even unplugged all other devices – in the end the only thing the installer could see was the OS drive, and still nothing. Insert Win7 Setup Disk – ran through the automatic fix it options, even hitting the BootRec command, and replacing boot-sector, mbr etc… No luck, still the same error.

Then it smacked me firmly in the face. Space – what is the free space dependent on – the file system. What if the file system is broken in some subtle way, not impacting any other process on the system – after all I’d had zero warnings from anything, even the drive mirroring program used to backup the system. Enter chkdsk. Chkdsk the saviour of everything. Simple first step fix which I’d skipped over due to the lack of file system warning messages.

Ran chkdsk /f, rebooted, let it do the job.

Rebooted. Upgrade through with no problems.

Check the simple things.
Check the simple things.
Check the simple things.

I tell you three times.

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