This is a companion article to the following article: “‘Windows could not complete the installation’ Error After Joining a Domain During SysPrep“. Please reference that article for more information.

This article is specifically aimed at users of Windows Home Edition. This is intended to help you fix the error that reads, “Windows could not complete the installation. To install Windows on this computer, restart the installation.” At the error message, do the following:

  • Press SHIFT+F10 to open the command prompt
  • Type net user administrator <password>

For example, if you wanted to use the password “L0ve$ani4c”, you would enter the following:

net user administrator L0ve$ani4c
  • Ensure the you get the message “The command completed successfully.”
  • Close the command prompt and click OK on the error to reboot

That should do it. You’ll get an error that the username or password is incorrect when Windows loads. Just enter the password that you just created.

For more information, watch the video below. It demonstrates the process AND includes more information abut what’s happening in the registry to cause this error.

Comments

  1. Calum Wallbridge

    I saw you made a new post for Home edition, so thank you for that, however it seems like I am in quite deep here as I have tried changing the password like you said and that didn’t work, so I checked the registry and the numbers that you said to change to 00 from 01 were allready 00. I don’t know if you have any other ideas but it’s not looking great.

    1. saniac Article Author

      Have you tried the factory restore more than once? Does the error come up exactly as it did in my video (same wording and timing)?

      Unfortunately, without having my hands on a broken device I’m not sure exactly what else to have you check; I can only go on what I’ve seen in the past. If it didn’t work for you then I’m guessing it probably won’t work for others, so I’ll keep digging. -b

  2. dave

    Hello Saniac,

    I have watched both your videos and read all the threads on the forum and haven’t been able to resolve this issue. I ran recovery reset 3 times with discs to get rid of some nasty virus and always get the “windows could not complete the installation. To install windows on this computer, restart the installation.” But the wording underneath says “setup is starting services” unlike the ones you have posted. Maybe its a different problem? Some of your ideas seem to work for other. Do you have any ideas for this particular problem? I have windows 7 home premium 64bit. Any advise would be great,

    Thanks,
    Dave

    1. saniac Article Author

      Hi dave – There are a couple other things you can try, but I’ve never had to use these steps to fix this problem. If you’re stuck it may be worth a try.

      One of the easier things to check is the SATA mode in the BIOS. You can change the mode from “AHCI” to “Compatibility”. The method of changing can vary between machines. If you want to try this and are unable to find the setting, provide the type of machine you’re using and I may be able to provide some steps.

      Another suggestion I’ve seen is to re-run OOBE. You can do this using these steps:

      – At the error, press SHIFT+F10 to get a command prompt
      – Type cd C:\Windows\System32\oobe
      – Type msoobe.exe
      – Follow the steps to create a user and name the machine
      – When prompted for a password, make sure you use a strong password

      I’d love to be able to figure out this issue with the Home edition. Let me know how it goes! -b

      1. Dave

        Ok so i tried typing in these and nothing even shows up. It always tells me its not recognised. Eccept wheb i type cdC:windows/system32/oobe it says “The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.”
        I have a gateway. Let me know if there is anything else you need.

        Thanks,
        Dave

        1. saniac Article Author

          It sounds like you may not have typed the command correctly. It needs to be exact (without the quotes): “cd C:\Windows\System32\oobe”

          The direction of the slashes and the spaces need to be exactly as shown… -b

          1. Dave

            Well I did type it exactly like you have shown and in many other ways, spaces, without spaces,with slashes etc.

      2. Alexandria Gonzalez

        I used this method and was able to create the user but after the screen stayed blank. Is there anything else I should do to fix this?

  3. Amalie

    Hi, I have an emachine with windows 7 and have the famous error message “Windows could not complete the installation…”

    I already tried changing the password as per your video and also did the second step, but found that line 48 and 50 had already 00’s and I didn’t need to change it, but still getting the same error message.

    Please help!

  4. Dan

    I am receiving this error straight out of the box on a factory installed Lenovo Ideacentre 700 with Windows 10 Home. I tried setting the admin pwd as described, no change. I tried running msoobe and it starts running going through some setup questions but then I stop at a spinning wheel of death and make no more progress. I checked regedit and the password bits are already set to 00. Any other ideas to try??

  5. Stephanie

    I just wanted to pop by and say thank you so much… I was able to get my laptop back to working order 🙂

  6. Alex2

    My original hard drive on my HP Pavilion desktop w/Vista operating system needed to be replaced. When I reinstalled the recovery disks I received the installation error message. I tried the command line oobe steps mentioned above and created a user ID and password. Things looked good for a bit, and then after about a minute the message reappeared. Now I’m stuck again. Suggestions? Thanks.

  7. Lincoln

    Hello Saniac,
    I am fairly detail oriented, and have tried all of your techniques (and any others that I could find on the net), with no luck. In short, my hard drive failed, so I purchased a new one, and loaded up the “recovery discs” that I made when the computer was new. (3 discs total).
    The operating system on the Recovery Discs is: Windows Vista Home Premium.
    When I started the recovery process, everything seemed to be working perfectly, it would ask for the recovery discs one by one, and loaded them up appropriately… then it started the Windows startup procedure, and the dreaded “windows could not complete the installation…” error window appeared.

    There are separate issues with each of your techniques:

    In one of your suggestions, you state to type in: “secpol.msc”
    When I type in: secpol.msc
    I get a message that says:
    ‘secpol.msc’ is not recognized as an internal or external command.
    So this technique doesn’t work for me at all.

    In another suggestion, you suggest typing: compmgmt.msc
    This actually does bring up the computer management window (which was fairly exciting!). But, as others have mentioned, there is no line labeled “Local Users and Groups”?
    So this option is another dead end.
    (I read on another blog that in the Home versions, “the Option of Local Users and Groups is DISABLED”).

    Your final suggestion said to type: net user administrator Password.123 (or whatever password).
    With this, I did get the message that says: “The command completed successfully” – so again, I was excited… but when I typed exit, and then pressed OK on the error window, I did not see the Administrator window that you did.
    Instead, the screen went black for a few seconds, then the blue start up screen with the instructions at the bottom (F10=Setup, Esc=Boot Menu, F11=System Recovery, F9=Diagnostics), then the system restarts….. and immediately opens the same error window (“windows could not complete…”).

    FYI: I got the furthest with a suggestion from someone else that said to type the following commands at the Shift F10 prompt line:

    cd %windir%\system32\oobe\ (enter)
    then typing: msoobe (enter)

    This actually brings up the Windows setup window, with all the routine questions, like “country”, time-zone, username password, etc. (all VERY exciting….), but AGAIN, after entering all of the requested information, the system tries to restart, and BAM the same old error message again!!!

    I am so frustrated! Can you think of anything else? I think it has something to do with the fact that the option for “Local Users and Groups” is disabled in the Windows Vista Home Premium edition. I would actually prefer to upgrade the operating system, but the Vista Home Premium must have been what came with the computer, since it is what is trying to load up from the “recovery” discs?

    PLEASE help!

    Lincoln

    1. Uchenna

      Hey Lincoln , I was able to get it to work when i hit the restart , from where you stopped , it started again and there was no error , hope this helps , I know its late but i just experienced it now

  8. bakunawa

    It’s July 2017 and still there’s no solution on the web. Please if anyone knows or find something kindly share your blessing. A lot of people are so frustrated because of this and windows support are not helpful at all, they just throw your questions to different threads that are made with no solutions at all.

  9. Robert Munson

    November 16, 2017 and still nothing on this.
    I’m running Windows 10 Home Professional, I think. Since I can’t boot, I can’t be sure.

    Last night I got a message that Windows updates needed to be installed. Restart now? I said 11:59 PM. This morning I had a nearly normal screen after a restart (where I would press any key and then enter my restart pin) except that it had a faded blue overlay and nothing would wake it up to enter my pin.

    Power off/power on and away we go. Windows could not complete the installation… and the endless circle of death. After that, most of the usual.
    Secpol not recognized
    Since I have Home, no local users
    Change directory to oobe worked fine, but then msoobe and msoobe.exe both did nothing
    And, like Lincoln, net user admin… completed with “The command completed successfully” but exiting the command prompt and “OK” on restart brought me back to the circle of death and “Windows could not…”

    Any other ideas out there?

  10. KERRIE Ariana NASON

    @Robert-exact same thing happened to my daughter today. I havent had any luck. Have you learned anything?

  11. Chelsea

    I’m having the exact same problem after a forced Windows update and none of the solutions work for me either. Windows 10 Home edition. Anyone know of anything else to try?

  12. Bridgette

    Same problem as everyone else. This is so frustrating especially when I’m in a major time crunch to get a paper finished. I had no problems prior to the last update.

  13. Jonathan

    Same problem here. Crashed yesterday after a mandatory Windows update. Got to oobe but msoobe does nothing. Did the net administrator password changes. says it completed successfully but still doesn’t work. Even went into the registry and looked (didn’t touch anything) both of those numbers are double zeros.

    There is no line labeled “Local Users and Groups” under computer management either. Very frustrated.

    Computer is an Acer Aspire E 15. Just over a year old. Never had any problems before this.

    Hope someone can find a solution to this.

    Thanks

  14. John

    Here’s my solution, if it doesn’t fix after all this, take your computer to a person to a tech. Or could be time for an Apple

  15. pascal

    Same problem here with the las update and home edition. Stcuk since last friday!

    Microsoft support level 2 no recheable!

    So if someone get the solution i ll pay beer!;)

    Pascal

  16. Angie

    I entered net user administrator and my password and I get the command completed successfully, but I can’t close the screen or click ok on the “windows could not complete” screen because I have no curser. What can I do?

  17. Elle

    Hi thanks for the detail however I went thru your entire vid and my reg is clean, password zero, however still stuck on error. Also: cannot use my mouse so need keybd commands only. Any ideas? Pls help, THX 🙂

  18. Laura

    Nothing happens when I hit Shift and F 10. I’ve been turning the computer on and off and trying all night! Even tried Fn and F 10. Any alternative suggestions for that initial step? Thanks.

  19. Richard Misters

    I’ve had the “welcome” then cannot continue issue after Win 7 -> 10 upgrade – “Unable to complete….blah blah” and I go through a loop. Tried the recovery options, the permissions, regedits and so on, but no joy.

    However, I just decided to disconnect from the network, suspecting it was some sort of authentication/permission issue – maybe trying to connect to MS servers and guess what, I can now complete the install.

    So if stuck, just try unplugging or turning off wifi/Nic.

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