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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Something Happened: Windows Setup Error Messages Will Finally Be Useful (Maybe)

Something Happened

Microsoft Community

Upgrading to a new version of Windows is often a straightforward affair. But when something doesn’t go right, you’re left with vague errors that aren’t helpful. In the next version of Windows, Microsoft will try to solve that.

If you’ve ever encountered an error during Windows Setup, you’ve probably been left completely frustrated and wondering what to do. The message you see most likely didn’t have any description of the problem and just listed the letters KB followed by a string of numbers. If you tried to search, you were lead to dozens of entirely different entries that didn’t match up to your KB numbers and did nothing to clarify the situation.

Microsoft has started showing off new setup screens to directly tackle this issue in a recent Windows Insider Webinar, as spotted by WinFuture. Starting at just after the hour mark, Microsoft’s James Atkins and Julia Troxell laid out the problem clearly, and the steps they are taking to solve this problem going forward.

The Current Dialogs are Vague and Confusing

The problem at hand isn’t just limited to the vague error, but also to the lack of actions the users can take to mitigate the problem. With the current setup dialog, you have an error message but no link to more info to learn exactly what is wrong. You have “Back” and “Refresh” buttons, but neither of these buttons solves the problem—they’re only options available to the user. Usually, the solution is as simple as uninstalling and reinstalling or updating a program or disabling encryption, but Windows Setup currently does a terrible job of letting the user know.

The New Dialogs Provide More Information and Solutions

The new Setup dialogs present more information with direct links to error articles. If additional options are possible, such as upgrading a program instead of uninstalling, then you will be prompted to “learn more or update instead.”. Where possible, the dialog offers solutions; if it’s possible for Windows to handle an uninstall it will present that option, when it can’t (because the program isn’t in Add/Remove programs) then a manual installation is suggested.

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