Force Windows 10 upgrade then fix the cryptic Windows 10 Setup Something happened error

Summary

I just upgraded three of my machines to Windows 10. The process went very smoothly for my Surface Pro 3 and my old desktop machine. Unfortunately my old, barely luggable laptop (described here) went wrong and gave me a cryptic error: Something happened.

I tried to find a solution online and couldn't. Then I worked out how to fix it. If you get the same error, maybe this will work for you too.

You'll also learn how to force the upgrade to Windows 10 in the first place and how to free up tons of disk space afterwards.

Here's what you need to do.

Forcing the upgrade

Windows 10 was released yesterday. I didn't want to wait until Microsoft decided to push the upgrade down to me, so I signed in to my Windows Insiders account and chose Get Windows 10 which redirected me to: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10. Then I clicked on the Download Tool Now button like this.

Download Tool Now

You don't need a Windows Insiders account to force the upgrade to Windows 10. Just go here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and click on the Download Tool Now button.

Something happened

After I ran the tool my upgrade appeared to be proceeding okay, but then suddenly I got this error message.

Windows 10 Something Happened Error

I freed up some disk space, in case that was the problem, without success.

A solution (it worked for me)

Eventually I decided to free up even more disk space on my system drive, until I had about 14GB free and finally it worked.

Deleting the setup files and the previous Windows installation

Now run Disk Clean-up (just start typing disk clean up into the search bar and it will appear), choose your system drive and click on the Clean up system files button.

Clean up system files

Now choose the system drive again and notice these two new entries:

  • Previous Windows installation(s)
  • Temporary Windows installation files.

Once you have decided that you're going to keep Windows 10, you can delete these two and free up a lot of space (in my case over 17GB).

Disk clean up showing old windows files

Conclusion

If you want to force an upgrade to Windows 10 go here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and click on the Download Tool Now button.

If you get a cryptic Something happened error message during the upgrade process, try making sure you have at least 10GB of free space on your system partition, maybe more.

When you've finished you can free up a lot of space by running Disk Clean-up and choosing to Clean up system files and removing Previous Windows installation(s) and Temporary Windows installation files.