Here is how to fix “What needs your attention” error on Windows 10

By Emmanuel Dairo | June 28, 2019 |

greater than 6 minutes

As older versions of Windows fall out of popular usage and Windows 10 becomes a global staple, continuous updates take on more and more importance. As new features are rolled out in each feature update, Windows 10 users are hurriedly reaching for that Windows Update button and praying fervently that it does not fail.

Unfortunately, the update process often fails or gets interrupted for one reason or another. Usually, Microsoft helpfully adds an error message to the failed update notification so that the user can learn what caused the process to terminate and go hunting for a solution. But what happens when you instead get an unhelpful message that tells you basically nothing and doesn’t even allow you to retry the update? Anger and frustration, that’s what.

Users trying to install the May 2019 update have been filling Windows 10 message boards with laments about the process hitting so many snags and errors. Some have even given up in annoyance. The cause isn’t helped by Microsoft sometimes showing “your PC can’t be upgraded” but “no action is needed” messages on the Update Failed screen. Both messages, as far as error messages go, rate somewhere between useless and pointless.

Another annoying notification often displayed when the Windows 10 update aborts is the “What needs your attention” error message, which tells you that your PC can’t be updated to Windows 10 but doesn’t tell you exactly why. This guide will show you what to do should you ever encounter this message when trying to bring your PC up to date. As long as you meticulously follow the steps given, you will be able to install the latest Windows 10 updates without much hassle.

“What needs your attention” in Windows 10

A lot of things need our attention in Windows 10, if we’re being honest. But that, presumably, is not what whoever decided to program that message into the Windows 10 error database has in mind. It so happens that several users have had their Windows 10 setup screens interrupted by the “What needs your attention” Window. Normally, that is a good thing as if something is wrong, we would want to know about it and fix it to avoid problems later. Except that Windows doesn’t actually tell you what needs your attention. Even though it does, in fact, know. You’re likely to get a message like the one below:

  • What needs your attention?
  • The following things need your attention to continues the installation and keep your Windows settings, personal files and apps.
  • Why am I seeing this?
  • This PC can’t be upgraded to Windows 10.

Your PC has a driver or service that isn’t ready for this version of Windows 10. No action is needed. Windows Update will automatically offer this version of Windows 10 once this issue has been resolved.

The critical words in the message are “Your PC has a driver or service that isn’t ready for this version of Windows”, but Microsoft doesn’t tell us which particular driver or service caused the interruption. Instead, you are left to muddle through figuring out the cause on your own. You could try to isolate the exact driver by troubleshooting, but good luck combing through the hundreds of system, hardware and third-party drivers on your computer for one byte-sized culprit.

If you are the docile or accepting type, you could decide to take no action as Microsoft recommends. The problem is that you do indeed need to take action – install the latest update of Windows 10 – and sitting on your hands isn’t a very good way to do that.

How to remove “What needs your attention” error message in Windows 10

Let’s make one thing clear: Windows knows exactly “what needs your attention”; it just isn’t telling you., Fortunately, you can find out on your own by doing some digging in some unfrequented corners of the Windows folder on your PC. When an error occurs in Windows, the OS creates a log of that error and stores it in a folder reserved for that purpose. By examining the error log for the “What needs your attention” Windows setup error message, you will know which drivers or services are causing issues with updating Windows.

To view the error log, do the following:

  • Open Windows Explorer by clicking its icon on your desktop taskbar.
  • Copy and paste the following path into the address bar and click Enter:

C: \$WINDOWS. ~BT\Sources\Panther

  • In this folder, you will find one or more xml files labelled “CompatData_xxxx_yy_zz_aa_bb_cc” with the first three letter sequences standing for the date and the last three representing the time. The files are arranged in ascending order so the one you’re looking for – the most recent – is at the bottom.
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  • Copy the file to your desktop.
  • Open the file with either an advanced text editor like Notepad++ or a web browser like Edge or Chrome.
  • If you cannot resolve the
    problem yourself, you can
    ask our certified PC technicians for immediate assistance in the chat right on this page.
  • Read the log, noting the strings that record the value “BlockMigration = True” in the Devices, Driver Packages, Programs and any other section of the report. In the case of drivers, they should be certain .inf files.
  • These files are the ones blocking migration to the new version of Windows 10.  The next step is to find which drivers they are in particular. To do this, you have to match the associated inf file with the specific driver.
  • Navigate to this folder: C: \Windows\INF. Find the .inf files you have isolated.
  • Open the file with any text editor. Even WordPad will do just fine.
  • You will see the name of the file in the text editor. For example, oem42.inf is the Windows Virtual Serial Port Setup File and pmokcl1.inf is the Windows Inbox Printer Drivers file. These would be the drivers blocking the installation.

There is a possibility, however remote, that the reason these driver files interrupted the setup process is because they are actually infected files. As methods of malware penetration become more sinister and underhand, dangerous files disguised as harmless Windows system components often find their way to the system folder where they wreak havoc on the OS. Some of them actually lie dormant until an operation they are programmed to react to is initiated.

At this point, it is worth examining the files on your system for traces of malware. If you don’t trust Windows Defender to do the job, we recommend Auslogics Anti-Malware for this purpose. The security software gets rid of all kinds of Trojans, viruses, malware and disguised programs – including those you never thought existed. You can even use it as a secondary antivirus to provide extra protection for your computer.

Fix “What needs your attention” error when upgrading to Windows 10 May 2019 update

With the culprit driver or service identified, the obvious next step is to either update or remove it. Sometimes, the “Your PC has a driver or service that isn’t ready for this version of Windows” message doesn’t mean that the driver is bad. It simply means that it is too old to work with the version of Windows you are trying to upgrade to. If you believe that driver performs an important function for that you regularly use it and don’t wish to remove it just yet, you can check if there is an updated version of the driver.

You can use Auslogics Driver Updater to check for the latest drivers for both Microsoft and third-party tools causing issues. With its automatic download feature, you don’t have to worry about finding the correct drivers for your specific hardware. The software is programmed to check for only manufacturer-approved drivers for your computer make, model and hardware version.

Here is how to use Auslogics Driver Updater:

  • Download and install the software.
  • Launch Auslogics Driver Updater and connect your PC to the internet.
  • Click the green “Start Search” button, and Driver Updater will search your system for faulty, missing and outdated drivers.
  • A list of drivers that require updates will be shown by category. Click “Expand list” to view them all.

If you like what you’ve seen, you can upgrade to the full version. It will scan your devices and update them all with a single click to ensure smoother performance.

If Windows 10 update setup still brings up the “What needs your attention” error message after you do this, the next step is to remove the program that uses the offending driver. If more than one item is the culprit, remove them all.

For drivers, you have to go to the Windows Features menu and deselect the driver(s). Navigate to Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows Features On or Off and untick the programs.

After doing this, there is one additional step you must take if you want to resume the setup process. You must return to the C: \$WINDOWS. ~BT\Sources\Panther folder that you opened at first and delete the “compatscancache.dat” file located inside. This done, you can return to the Windows 10 Setup window and click Refresh, provided you haven’t already closed it in righteous fury. If you have, just start again, and you shouldn’t encounter any errors this time.

Once the latest May 2019 Windows 10 update has been successfully installed, you can return to Windows Features and re-enable the programs you previously deselected.

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.
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