What should you do if you meet the error message saying “it looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media” in Windows 10? Take it easy and you can try some troubleshooting tips to help you out. Now, let’s look through methods collected by MiniTool in this post.

It Looks Like You Started an Upgrade and Booted from Installation Media Windows 10

To keep your PC safe, performing a Windows update is a necessary step since the update may bring security updates to safeguard the system and some bug patches to fix some known issues. To update Windows 10, you can go to Settings > Upgrade & Security > Windows Update.

Besides, some of you choose to use bootable media to perform a repair upgrade, or installation. However, during the process, an error message may appear on the computer screen, saying “it looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media. If you want to continue with the upgrade, remove the media from your PC and click Yes. If you want to perform a clean installation instead, click No”.

So, how to get rid of this situation? This post is intended to help you with some effective tips you can try to fix the error in Windows 10.

Fixes for “It Looks Like You Started an Upgrade and Booted from Installation Media”

Run System Restore

If you form a habit of creating system restore points, you can restore the PC to an earlier state of the healthy system.

If your PC can boot before the repair upgrade or installation via your installation medium, you can exit the error screen and start up the PC to the desktop to run System Restore. Or, you can press SHIFT + F10 to open Command Prompt. Then, follow the guide below to do the restoration operation:

1. Type the command of exe to the CMD window and press Enter to launch the System Restore window.

2. If you see the following picture, you can check the option of Choose a different restore point or directly click Next to use the given restore point for the restoration. Take the first one as an example. Sometimes you won’t see the screenshot and just follow the on-screen wizards to continue.

System Restore main interface

3. Choose the restore point you want and go on.

4. Click Finish. Then, Windows is restoring the PC to the point you have configured. This can take some time and wait patiently

When running System Restore, you may run into the stuck issue. To get rid of the situation, refer to this post for methods - Easily Fix: Windows 10 System Restore Stuck or Hang Up.

After System Restore, you can try to run the repair upgrade via the created bootable media, and the error “it looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media” may disappear. If not, try other fixes below.

Cancel the Windows Update Pending Actions and Upgrade Windows 10

According to users, there is a way that proves to be useful, and try the following steps. They are a bit complicated but do them one by one to easily fix your issue on Windows 10.

Move 1: Cancel Windows Update in Progress

1. When you see the "It looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media” message in Windows 10, open Command Prompt via Shift + F10.

2. Type the command - wmic logicaldisk get name and press Enter.

3. Type dir DriveLetter: and press Enter to find out which drive contains the Windows folder. Usually, the folder is in C, the command should be dir C:. If it is not in C, type dir D:, dir E:, etc.

4. After finding the Windows folder, type DriveLetter: like C: and press Enter.

5. Type this command – mkdir C:\Scratch and press Enter to create a scratch folder on the Windows drive.

6. Execute the command - DISM /Image:C:\ /ScratchDir:C:\Scratch /Cleanup-Image /RevertPendingActions to revert the pending actions of the update in progress. After that, you can see the message on your screen, as shown below:

reverting pending actions from the image

7. Exit Command Prompt, remove your installation medium (USB drive or CD/DVD) from the PC, and restart the PC. Then, the computer screen says “Undoing changes made to your computer”. After it is completed, Windows 10 should run as normal.

Related post: Fix: We Couldn’t Complete the Updates Undoing Changes?

Move 2: Run Disk Cleanup to Delete Upgrade Files

Next, you need to remove the already downloaded update files via Disk Cleanup to prepare Windows 10 for the USB repair upgrade without meeting “it looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media”.

Step 1: In File Explorer, right-click on drive C and choose Properties.

Step 2: Click the Disk Cleanup button and click Clean up system files in the popup.

clean up system files via Disk Cleanup

Step 3: Check the boxes of files you want to delete and we recommend deleting all of them including Windows Update Cleanup, Downloaded Program Files, Previous Windows Installations, and more. Click OK to go on.

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Step 4: Click Delete Files to confirm the deletion.

Move 3: Delete the SoftwareDistribution Folder

The SoftwareDistribution folder (path: C:\Windows) is the place where Windows stores Windows Updates. If this folder is damaged/corrupt, you should re-create it to re-download updates from the beginning. Here is how to do it:

1. Go to stop Windows Update Service – press Win + R, type services.msc and click OK. Locate Windows Update in the Services window, right-click on it and choose Stop.

stop Windows Update service

2. Delete the SoftwareDistribution folder – go to C:\Windows, locate SoftwareDistribution, right-click it and choose Delete.

3. Then, restart the PC.

Move 4: Upgrade Windows 10 from Installation Media

After finishing all the above steps, now you can use your installation medium like a USB flash drive or CD/DVD to run an upgrade of Windows 10 without the error – start an upgrade and boot from installation media.

1. Restart the PC from the USB drive or disc by entering BIOS and changing the boot order.

2. Choose a language, input method, and time format, and then click the Install Now button to continue.

3. Click I don’t have a product key and choose an edition of Windows 10.

4. You can click the first option to do the upgrade installation and keep files, settings & applications. If you want to clean install Windows 10, click the second option.

5. Finish all the operations by following the on-screen instructions.

Windows Setup via installation media

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Run CHKDSK and SFC

According to users, you can try to execute two commands to fix the error “it looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media” in Windows 10. CHKDSK can be used to check for the entire system to find file system errors and disk errors while SFC can be used to check for corrupted files and repair corruption. See how to do this work:

Step 1: On the error screen, open Command Prompt via Shift + F10.

Step 2: Type chkdsk C: /f /r and press Enter.

Step 3: Next, execute the command – sfc /scannow.

After that, check if the upgrade can continue as normal.

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Use ISO to Upgrade Windows 10

When meeting the issue, you can try another way to upgrade Windows 10 and it is to use an ISO file of Windows 10. To do this work, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Visit the Microsoft website and download Media Creation Tool.

Step 2: Double-click on the .exe file to run this tool.

Step 3: After accepting the license terms, check the box of upgrade this PC now.

Step 4: Finish the process by following the instructions on the screen.

upgrade this PC via Media Creation Tool

In addition, you can choose Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC and then choose ISO file to download. Next, right-click on the ISO to choose Mount. Then, double-click on the setup file for a Windows update.

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“I met the error ‘It looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media’ in Windows 10. After trying these fixes, I could run a Windows 10 repair upgrade. You can share them on Twitter if you encounter it.”Click to Tweet

Suggestion: Back up Your Windows 10 PC

Forming a good habit of backing up the computer is necessary. Before you run a Windows update, you can choose to create a backup for the PC.

Once something goes wrong after the update or during the upgrade like the error “it looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media”, you can quickly restore the PC to a previous healthy state without spending much time finding solutions, even sometimes the issues cannot be fixed eventually.

Besides, you can back up the PC regularly to keep the machine safe to avoid data loss or system breakdown. Well then, how can you do the computer backup in Windows 10? The task is very easy if you use a piece of professional and free backup software. Here we use MiniTool ShadowMaker.

It is designed to back up files, folders, disks, partitions, and Windows operating system, sync data, and clone a hard drive. In terms of imaging backup and file sync, it offers the automatic file backup feature. Thus, it can perfectly meet your backup demands. To have a try, click the following button to get its Trial Edition.

Free Download

Step 1: Double-click on the exe file to install MiniTool ShadowMaker on your PC.

Step 2: Launch it and click Keep Trial to go to the main interface.

Step 3: In the Backup tab, system partitions are selected as the backup source and you can choose to specify a path (an external hard drive or USB drive is recommended) to save the system image file.

Step 4: Click Back up Now to start the system backup.

MiniTool ShadowMaker system backup

If you want to back up your important files, you can click Source > Files and Folders, select the files you want to back up, and click OK. Next, go back to the Backup window and start data backup. To automatically back up files, make the best of the Schedule feature.

Bottom Line

That’s all the information about this issue – it looks like you started an upgrade and booted from installation media Windows 10. If you are plagued by the error message during the repair upgrade, try the fixes mentioned above. Besides, you had better back up your PC before the upgrade to avoid system issues like this.

If you have other ways to help you remove the error, welcome to tell us. You can directly leave a comment with your workarounds. Thanks a lot.

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