Jan 272013


Since yesterday I am upgrading my 5y old Dell XPS M1740 laptop from Windows Vista to Windows 8 Pro. Vista made me not using Windows anymore; the machine mainly collected dust in the past years since I stopped gaming. Recently I enjoyed the metro UI on my Windows Phone 7, so I decided to give Windows 8 a try to see what all the fuzz is about. Thankfully the machine just about fits minimum requirements for Windows 8. 

I thought upgrading is going to be simple, I just needed to download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and things will go smoothly. … not quite, it’s now 24h later and I am just about done. I did undergo a lot of pain as i kept getting an error message during verification of my machine. The exact error message was: Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant: Internal Error: Error retrieving the scan report. No further information, details or anything. Thankfully there was google, but most pages I found were suffering people left in confusion about this error, pointing out custom tools, configurations etc might be the cause and some systems just aren’t upgradable. 

Despite that depressing search results I didn’t give up but stubbornly attempted to somehow make my system upgradable. After all .. it is just a bunch of software, so why should it be impossible? I read a bit and got even more depressed, because there were lots of indications that customizations of any kind might be preventing Windows Vista from being upgradable. I haven’t used the laptop in the past 3 years, so how could I possibly remember what I had done back then – especially as I mainly used MacOS and CentOS in the past 3 years and forgot most about Windows?

Anyways, back to the upgrade procedure. It involved a lot of swearing and I also dug quite a bit around in the internet. First I had to find out where the damn log file was located that might indicate what errors occured: The file setuperr.log is located in a hidden directory under the user’s home directory in AppData/Local/Microsoft/WebSetup/Panther.

In my case It only contained 3 lines:

2013-01-26 23:33:59, Error                 CONX   [PerformTransform] [0x8007007e] Transform node failed.

2013-01-26 23:33:59, Error                 CONX   [CreateReport] [0x8007007e] Failed transforming report.

2013-01-26 23:33:59, Error                 CONX   Failed to retrieve the HTML report from the compatibility controller. HRESULT = 0x8007007e.

So the report assembly failed, nothing else seemed to be wrong with my system. Following ip on the particular error code let nowhere helpful. I resembled all my partial knowledge about pains of windows and decided to follow this path:

  • Windows Upgrade – the solution to everything: I started with performing a Windows Update: as I hadn’t done one since early 2009. 108 updates were found and installed over a couple of hours, 2 failed to be installed, so I ran it again, also Microsoft Securiyt Essentials and Microsoft Windows Essentials failed too in the first attempts (ironically because another install program was running – Windows Update.. d’oh). So I installed them manually, rebooted and tried to run the Windows Upgrade Assistant again. The error still occured.
  • Cleaning up the system: I uninstalled all software i don’t need anymore or where I didn’t remember what it was for. As I read in a post that it was suggested to remove Microsoft Office 2013 Preview, I decided to uninstall the Microsoft Power Point 2007 viewer (I’m working long enough with computers to not apply logic anymore..). It turned out the PPT Preview Install as corrupted and I couldn’t uninstall it. I found this Microsoft knowledge base article that helped on the deinstallation, sadly that didnt solve the problem either, Windows 8 upgrade assistent still failed the same error.
  • Asking google about Vista update errors: So I searched again for Windows Vista Upgrade issues, and found another knowledge base article. I installed the System Update Readiness Tool for Windows Vista. Not too much to my surprise it didn’t solve the problem either.
  • Reaching desparation – Just fix it: Pretty close to giving up I just searched how to fix a corrupted windows installation and found Microsoft fix.it. I selected as problem Install or upgrade hardware or software and selected Fix the problem with Microsoft Windows Update that is not working. It found a problem and repaired it. I restarted the upgrade assistant and the problem was gone!

So… either the last step or the combination of all of the above fixed it!

Then windows update was asking me what kind of data i want to keep. Just to be sure that I my data is save I tried to upload it to mega this failed as well as the upload speed for a 16GB archive was not sufficient, I ended up copying everything to an external hard drive and then proceeded with the upgrade procedure. After patiently watching progress bars for more than 1h I see now the start up screen about customizing Windows 8. Yeah! 


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