SOLVED Windows 10 Stuck at Build 1909


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Hello! I hope I can find an answer here.

I'm desperate. Joining this forum and asking my question is my last attempt before formatting the machine and re-installing Windows from scratch. My Win10 Pro machine refuses to update to any newer builds (I think the latest is 21H1). Here are some specs:
  • Dell Precision P7530 laptop
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Version 1909
  • System Type is x64-based
  • System SKU is 0831
  • Processor is Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU @ 2.90GHz, 6 cores, 6 logical processors
  • 64Gb RAM
  • Sound device is Realtek Audio
  • Display is NVIDIA Quadro P3200
  • Display adaptor RAM is 1,048,576 bytes

I have tried various things with my company's IT experts, to no avail. I read the thread HERE and tried the suggestions. Namely, I disconnected all of my peripherals. I went through my Device Manager one-by-one and chose "update driver > search automatically" for every single device (about half-dozen devices updated). I used the Media Creation Tool to attempt the update, to no avail. It chugs for an hour and appears to be working. But then I get the errors shown in my attachments. First SCREEN SHOT 1 appears. It then reboots itself a few times while restoring the 1909 version. Then I log into the machine and get the error shown on SCREEN SHOT 2.

I'm at the end of my rope and don't know what else could be wrong. Like I said, I have summoned the help of my company's IT, to no avail. I had a very similar problem on another Dell laptop a few years ago. Nothing I ever tried would work, until I finally wiped the machine clear, and reinstalled the OS from scratch. But oddly on that old machine, the problem came back when the next big build was released. I'd really like to avoid wiping the drive clean on this new Dell. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!:)
 

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After scouring Google looking for hints, I also tried to run the update with BitLocker turned off. It didn't work. I also tried turning off Fast Startup. Nothing works.
 
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That error usually means a BIOS update is required.
I don't think that's it, since I did the BIOS update 3 days ago before my latest attempts to run the Media Creation Tool. So the BIOS is fully up to date.
 
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Did you check that it is the latest one from the PC manufacturer?
Have you tried running the Media creation tool & choosing to upgrade now?
Is the PC used with a personal Microsoft account or work account? If work then the company may have implemented something to prevent updates other than those they choose.
 
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Did you check that it is the latest one from the PC manufacturer?
Yes, the BIOS update was downloaded from the Dell Support website. I just checked again today and it said again that the BIOS is up to date.

Have you tried running the Media creation tool & choosing to upgrade now?
Yes, I ran the Media Creation tool and chose "upgrade now." It chugs for a while, but finally ends up with the errors I posted previously. I tried a half-dozen times.

Is the PC used with a personal Microsoft account or work account? If work then the company may have implemented something to prevent updates other than those they choose.
It is a work laptop, but my company's IT isn't that overbearing like other companies. They don't have that kind of tight control over the machines. In fact, they tried to help me upgrade it months ago, but also failed. They finally gave up and told me to wipe Windows clean and reload it from scratch.
 
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Some further things to try:
Right click on start & choose powershell with admin & enter:
SFC /SCANNOW
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Have you tried resetting the update components?
Open cmd prompt/powershell with admin & enter:
Net Stop bits
Net Stop wuauserv
Net Stop appidsvc
Net Stop cryptsvc
Ren %Systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore DataStore.bak
Ren %Systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\Download Download.bak
Ren %Systemroot%\System32\catroot2 catroot2.bak
Del "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Downloader\qmgr*.dat"
Net Start bits
Net Start wuauserv
Net Start appidsvc
Net Start cryptsvc
Restart the PC & try updating again.

And/or:
Search for services.msc & find Windows Update & ensure it is set to Automatic.

Is there any chance a virus is causing this?
Try running these programs:
MBAM free: https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/
Eset online scanner: http://www.eset.com/us/online-scanner/
Adwcleaner: https://www.malwarebytes.com/adwcleaner/

If these find one or more infections but do not fully remove them it will be wise to register with a malware removal site to receive dedicated malware removal instructions, an expert will remain with you throughout the process until confirmation that your PC is 100% clean.
Malwarebytes virus/malware removal forum:
Bleeping computer malware/virus removal forum:
 
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I will try your suggestions. Give me a few days though, as things are quite busy lately.

I would like to ask if there is any descriptive troubleshooting logs generated during the attempted update. In most coding applications I've used, there is a "debug" mode that either generates a text report or a GUI report of problems occurring during the script. Does the Win10 update process have anything like this?
 
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Some further things to try:
Right click on start & choose powershell with admin & enter:
SFC /SCANNOW
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
I've attached an image of my PowerShell report. It doesn't look there were any issues. I'm now going to attempt running the Media Creation tool, before checking the next things you suggested. I'll report back soon.
 

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Trouble

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Obtain the latest ISO, put it in a local folder on your computer.
Isolate the PC....
As it's a laptop that shouldn't be hard.
No dongles of any type (external keyboard mouse, whatever) Make sure you have no media cards attached in any slots.
No printers or scanners or other peripherals.
No connection to the internet, use device manager to disable your wireless if you don't have a manual switch or function key on your laptop.
Double click the ISO to mount it and run setup.exe as an administrator
Click the link that mentions downloading updates during the upgrade, I think "Not now" or "Not at this time" are the options not sure of the wording, just answer in the negative.

If that doesn't work then I suspect you have some third party software installed (perhaps a security suite or network manager) that is causing the problem, or....
There is a physical problem with the host drive.
Either a size issue with the system partition
OR
Some bad bits in sectors that the install is attempting to write to or read from.
 
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Obtain the latest ISO, put it in a local folder on your computer.
Isolate the PC....
I like the idea of isolating the machine to attempt an upgrade. But where can I download the ISO? I've never had to go this far to run an update, so I don't know where an ISO can be retrieved from.
 

Trouble

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Still thinking.....
You may want to put your system into a Clean Boot environment as a means of preventing unnecessary and unneeded programs and processes from starting and running in the background.
Make sure to tick the box that says "Hide all Microsoft Services" You don't want to inadvertently stop any of those.
AND
As an after-thought, since it's a laptop, make sure the battery is fully charged and that you are connected to AC power (charger)
You don't want any power configuration issues while attempting to upgrade.
 
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I've attached an image of my PowerShell report. It doesn't look there were any issues. I'm now going to attempt running the Media Creation tool, before checking the next things you suggested. I'll report back soon.
That looks fine.

Keep me updated.
 
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Quick update so I don't forget...

So far, I only ran the SFC and DISM PowerShell commands suggested by @Bastet. I have not yet run the remainder of his/her suggestions, but will get to them ASAP. I ran out of time this weekend, but was able to attempt an update twice. I have attached 3 Event Viewer files from the attempts. The Event Viewer would not let me export all of them (roughly 700 events) into one file. They are in chronological order, earliest to newest. Much of the data therein, is cryptic to me. So I cannot tell what the issue may be. Does anyone else have more experience deciphering these? The following is a summary of my timeline so you have an idea what is going on in the Event logs. Mind you, I walked away several times to handle other tasks, so that is why there may be some time gaps.
  • 4:34pm I started downloading the update from the Media Creation tool. Note that this was NOT an ISO download that was suggested later by @Trouble. Rather, it was via the internet connection. The machine chugged through its whole process.
  • 5:57pm Machine shut itself down as its normal part of the update process.
  • 6:00pm Machine is back up and I logged in. Update failed.
  • 6:11pm Taking @Trouble's suggestions, I started to download a local copy of the ISO from the Media Creation Tool.
  • 6:44pm I modified to a "clean boot" environment and disconnected all peripherals. I restarted the machine.
  • 6:45pm Machine has restarted and I logged in.
  • 7:11pm Network connections and peripherals disabled/disconnected. I mounted the ISO and started the update.
  • 7:32pm System rebooted itself as part of its normal update process.
  • 7:35pm I logged into the machine. Update failed.
  • 7:46pm Having found another failed attempt, I proceeded to restore the startup setting back to "normal."
  • 8:04pm I restarted the system. I logged in to ensure everything was "normal."
  • 8:12pm I shut down the machine and adjourned for the day.
Like I said, I'll try the next suggestions by @Bastet, but I'm curious to hear any feedback on the data above. I'm not sure if there is anything meaningful in the Event logs.
 

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@Bastet, I need some help. I'm working through your block of suggested commands below. I opened CMD using Run As Admin.

Have you tried resetting the update components?
Open cmd prompt/powershell with admin & enter:
Net Stop bits
Net Stop wuauserv
Net Stop appidsvc
Net Stop cryptsvc
Ren %Systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore DataStore.bak
Ren %Systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\Download Download.bak
Ren %Systemroot%\System32\catroot2 catroot2.bak
Del "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Downloader\qmgr*.dat"
Net Start bits
Net Start wuauserv
Net Start appidsvc
Net Start cryptsvc
Restart the PC & try updating again.

The following rename command will not work. It repeatedly tells me "access denied." I tried my file handle unlocker to see what processes were holding it. I then tried to break those handles, but they wouldn't break. I also tried renaming the file in Safe Mode, to no avail.
Ren %Systemroot%\System32\catroot2 catroot2.bak

The following delete command says "could not find <the file>" when I try to run the command. But if I browse File Explorer, it looks like the file is there (see attached screenshot)
Del "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Downloader\qmgr*.dat"

What could these issues mean? Where do I go from here? Should I ignore them and still try to update?
 

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Try removing the quotation marks from the cmd. It may be I’ve added those by mistake. Or you can just ignore that entry.
 

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