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Common problems with installing Windows 10, and how to fix them

Windows 10 is an impressive improvement over Windows 8, and until July 29, 2016, it’s a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8/8.1 users. But any time you upgrade your operating system, you risk something going wrong. Like any complex piece of software, Windows 10 and its installation process are vulnerable to mistakes, glitches, and hardware errors. That being the case, here are some of the most commonly-encountered problems that arise when installing or upgrading to the new version of Windows, and how to solve them.

RelatedWhy the hell wouldn’t you upgrade to Windows 10?

Low disk space

External hard drive

Windows 10 requires quite a bit of free disk space on your hard drive or solid state drive in order to install. The 32-bit version of the OS — used mostly on tablets and less expensive laptops at this point — needs 16GB of free space, the 64-bit version needs 20GB, and if you’re installing from a file stored on your computer itself with the Microsoft upgrade tool, you’ll need an additional 2 to 4GB just for the installation files.

If you have a full storage drive, or a small one to begin with, you’ll need to make some room. The quickest way to do this is to uninstall space-hogging programs. Robust, 3D games and complex packages like Adobe Creative Suite take up gigabytes of space in and of themselves. Uninstall them and be sure to back up any save files or settings. Don’t worry, you can re-install them from the installation discs or with a download once Windows 10 is properly set up.

Should you still need, it’s recommended you remove files in the following order: video files, audio files, images of all kinds, then documents and other files. An external USB hard drive is the quickest and easiest way to accomplish this — simply save any files you can’t delete to the external media, and they’ll be easy to restore once you’ve installed Windows 10. Afterward, empty the Recycle Bin to clear the deleted files, or run a program like CCleaner to clear out your browser caches, logs, and other things that take up storage space.

To check your progress, click the Start button, type “This PC,” and click the result. The drive labeled “Windows” is what Windows 10 will install to — make sure you’ve got at least 20GB free, preferably a little more, just to be safe.

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