Windows 10 Media Creation Tool Fails to Start

November 22nd 2015 Windows PowerShell

I recently broke my streak of 3 Windows 10 upgrades without any issues whatsoever, when I needed to upgrade my new Lenovo laptop which strangely enough had Windows 7 preinstalled. To keep the license, I first had to upgrade it to Windows 10 and only reinstall it once it was successfully activated. At this point the problems started.

I downloaded MediaCreationTool to create a bootable USB stick for a clean installation. The download process got stuck at around 30 %, therefore I decided to cancel it by closing the MediaCreationTool. Since it stayed open for a prolonged period of time and didn't respond to the close icon any more, I decided to kill its process.

It turned out this wasn't such a good idea. When I tried to start it again, it failed with the following error:

Setup couldn't start properly. Please reboot your PC and try running Windows 10 Setup again.

Rebooting didn't help and I started searching for alternative solutions. It soon became obvious, I wasn't the only one with this problem, which proved helpful in getting to the bottom of the issue. As far as I could figure it out, the following was happening:

  • There were 3 BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) Windows Dlp Manager transfers taking advantage of my full bandwidth according to Task Manager's Performance tab. The network activity was attributed to svchost.exe.
  • These 3 transfers had corresponding temporary files in C:\$Windows.~Ws\Sources, named BIT*.tmp, each one almost 3 GB in size.

Fortunately, BITS has a great set of PowerShell cmdlets. This is how I learned about the transfers in the first place (administrative privileges are required):

Get-BitsTransfer -AllUsers

Not only can they be used to monitor BITS operation, they also support managing it. After exhausting all the other options, I decided to stop these transfers myself. In the worst case, I could always create the bootable media on another machine. Remove-BitsTransfer cmdlet requires an array of BitsJob objects as input, so I had to pipe the output of Get-BitsTransfer:

Get-BitsTransfer -AllUsers -Name "Windows DLP Manager" | Remove-BitsTransfer

The action succeeded and resolved the issue: the 3 GB temporary files were gone and MediaCreationTool could be started again. Download completed flawlessly the next time. For some reason the tool failed without a descriptive error in the USB media creation phase, two times in a row. Downloading the ISO file instead and creating a bootable USB Stick using Rufus worked much better. I even got to keep the ISO file as a bonus, not that I plan to need it again any time soon.

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