Fix ‘There was a problem starting Setup media’ creation tool Error

Some users have remained unable to complete the upgrade to Windows 10 using MediaCreationToolx64.exe after having to abort the procedure midway due to unforeseen circumstances. As it turns out, an unexpected crash or a manual shut down during the upgrading process can end up breaking MediaCreationToolx64.exe.

Affected users report that whenever this occurs, MediaCreationToolx64.exe will display the following error message when the utility is opened:

“There was a problem starting Setup. Close the tool, restart your PC, and then try running the tool again.”

Apparently, the obvious stuff like restarting the system or downloading another MediaCreationToolx64.exe will not resolve the issue.

However, there are a number of fixes that a lot of users in a similar situation have used to resolve the issue. Please follow methods below in order until you find a fix that resolves the issue and allows you to complete the upgrading process.

Method 1: Deleting the $Windows~BT$ and $Windows~WS$ folders

Most of the time, this particular issue is caused by a couple of hidden folders that are associated with the MediaCreationToolx64.exe tool – $Windows~BT$ and $Windows~WS$. These two locations are responsible for storing temporary download files needed for the upgrade process.

The solution involves deleting the two folders along with their contents, thus allowing the MediaCreationToolx64.exe tool to start fresh. However, the folders can’t be touched unless you’re using Safe Mode. To make things easier for you, here’s a step-by-step guide on restarting in Safe Mode and deleting the $Windows~BT$ and $Windows~WS$ folders in order to fix the “There was a problem starting Setup.” error of the MediaCreationToolx64.exe tool :

  1. Access the Start icon (bottom-left corner), click the Power icon and hold the Shift key while clicking on restart. This will restart your computer into Safe Mode.|
  2. At the next startup, your computer should boot into Safe Mode.
  3. Open File Explorer and go to the View tab using the ribbon at the top of the window. Then, make sure the checkbox associated with  Hidden Files (Show Hidden System Files on older Windows versions) is enabled.
  4. Once Hidden Items are enabled, go to the root path of your Windows drive (C:/ most likely) select the $Windows~BT$ and $Windows~WS$ folders. Then, right-click on them and choose Delete to remove them.
  5. Once the two folders have been removed from the root path of C:/, open up your Recycle Bin and empty its contents to remove the leftover data of MediaCreationToolx64.exe.
  6. Restart your computer again to boot back into normal mode. At the next startup, open MediaCreationToolx64.exe again. You should now be able to complete the upgrade to Windows 10 without issues unless you are forced to abort the installation again. If it happens again, simply repeat the above procedure again.

If this method wasn’t succesfull or you’re looking for a different approach, continue down to Method 2.

Method 2: Applying all pending Windows Updates

Other users have reported that the issue was fixed automatically after they successfully used Windows Update to apply every update that was pending. Users encountering the same problem reported that the Media Creation Tool opened without the “There was a problem starting Setup.” error after all the updates have been applied successfully.

Here’s a quick guide on making sure your Windows version is up to date:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Then, type “wuapp” and hit Enter to open the Windows Update screen.
  2. In the Windows Update screen, click the Check for Update button and wait for the checkup to complete.
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install every pending Windows Update until your system is up to date. Keep in mind that you might be required to restart your PC several times, depending on how many pending updates have accumulated.
  4. Once your system is up to date, perform a final reboot and open the MediaCreationToolx64.exe tool at the next startup. You should be able to complete the upgrade without the “There was a problem starting Setup.” error.

If you still encounter the same issue, continue down with the next method below.

Method 3: Running setupprep.exe in the ESD folder

Other users were able to resolve the issue by running the SetupPrep executable from the ESD folder.

The ESD folder is located on the root folder of the Windows drive and is used by the operating system for electronic software delivery chores. To be more precise, Windows uses it to install files on your PC via an internet connection.

Navigate to C:\ ESD \ Windows \ sources and see if you manage to locate setupprep.exe. If you do, double-click on it and follow the on-screen prompts to complete to upgrade from here. You should be able to do so without seeing the “There was a problem starting Setup.”

If you are still experiencing the same behavior, continue down with the next method below.

Method 4: Running the Windows Update troubleshooter

If all of the methods above have proven to be a bust, you should see if the Windows Update troubleshooter manages to resolve the issue. Some users have reported that the issue was automatically fixed after they ran the Windows Update troubleshooter.

Here’s a quick guide on how to run the Windows Update troubleshooter:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Then, type “control.exe /name Microsoft.Troubleshooting” and hit Enter to open the Troubleshooting screen.
  2. In the Windows Troubleshooting screen, click on Windows Update and then click on Run the troubleshooter.
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to run the Windows Update troubleshooter and click on Apply this fix if a problem has been found.
  4. Once the procedure is complete, reboot your computer and see if the issue has been resolved at the next startup.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.