Vista Setup Error: 0xE0000100. Huh?

In the light of Microsoft’s release of Windows Vista’s first Service Pack, I was inspired to finally format my laptop’s hard drive. I had been using it non-stop since September. My laptop, a Dell XPS M1710, thankfully shipped with a Vista DVD, as opposed to the usual ‘recovery partition’. I popped in the disc and rebooted.

A few dialog boxes in, right before I was able to select a partition for Windows to inhabit, Setup exclaimed with great fanfare:

Windows installation encountered an unexpected error. Verify that the installation sources are accessible, and restart the installation. Error code: 0xE0000100

And.. That’s it. No Vista for me, I reckoned. In search of solutions (of which I found none), I ended up doing some research on this glitch in the Windows Vista installation process. It turns out this exception doesn’t pop up very often due to its extensive prerequisite conditions (taken from Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article):

Install media is based on an image the manufacturer created.
The manufacturer used the System Preparation tool (Sysprep) to create this image.
The hard drive is partitioned into 2 or more partitions.
The Windows partition is larger than 40 GB.
The size of the partition is a multiple of 4 GB.

Admittedly, these are a lot of prerequisites, which explains why so few on the Internet have encountered it, let alone found a solution. Nonetheless, many people buy pre-manufactured computers, especially in the realm of laptops, so the vector for this issue is larger than you think.

Microsoft’s bogus fix

Here’s the funny part.

Microsoft proposes the following solution: a hotfix to the DVD image. Great, but the catch here is that normal consumers are incapable of making such modifications to the image. Only official system builders, who own of the appropriate software – acquired from Microsoft, through their licensing program – are able to make these alterations.

This basically translates into: tough luck. You’re pretty much left in the cold with this largely undocumented issue.
It turns out, though, that Microsoft isn’t entirely to blame.

P.S.: In case you’re interested, this hotfix has to be requested from Microsoft through a special form. Just for the heck of it, I made an attempt at getting my hands on it. Of course, my request got denied fairly rapidly.

Solution

After having mucked around for a couple of hours, I came to the conclusion that Dell’s custom MediaDirect partition (their pathetic attempt at media center software) was invoking this. It somehow managed to corrupt the partition table, rendering Setup incapable of reading it.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to solve this. First off, check whether your computer/laptop is still eligible for warranty. If so, you can take a chance at trying to repartition the drive (this is what I did):

  • If you still have access to a working version of Vista, be sure to try out Windows’ own partition manager and remove the conflicting partition. I don’t guarantee this’ll work, but it’s worth a shot, since it can be done while Windows is running. At this point, make sure you have BACK-UPS.
    Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management (left pane)
  • In case you don’t have access to Windows, try a third-party partitioning app. A great open-source one is GParted. This is a 50 Meg live-cd that can be downloaded for free. Again, this may not work and you may need to try a whole slew of other software.

You can also (try to) request a new install DVD from your manufacturer. Most are hesitant to this, though, so be prepared. They’re most likely going to charge you an unreasonable amount of money or brush you off entirely.

If all else fails, you could also try to request a new hard drive to replace the defective one.

And meanwhile?

If you’re unlucky and you have to wait for a new install disc or hard drive, you might still be able to use your computer in the meantime. Without Windows. You could try to install a flavor of Linux. It’s free and not by any means perfect (like Windows), but it gets the job done fine. I’d suggest you try Ubuntu Linux, the most popular Linux distribution of this time. It’s newbie-friendly and loaded up with a lot of stuff to get you going. You may like it. And in case you run into trouble, there’s a great community waiting to save your ass, any time of day/night.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to have encountered this error, I’m curious to hear from you!

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76 thoughts on “Vista Setup Error: 0xE0000100. Huh?

  1. hey i got the same thing dell’s xps 1330 windows vista premium home. i got the same error message when i tried to reformat my harddrive and reinstall windows. i’m about to try out your fix see if it works for me. let me know if you have found anything else. i’m kinda curious .

  2. hey i got the same thing dell’s xps 1330 windows vista premium home. i got the same error message when i tried to reformat my harddrive and reinstall windows.i’m about to try out your fix see if it works for me. let me know if you have found anything else. i’m kinda curious .

  3. If I find anything new on the matter, I’ll be sure to post it here. I hope I have shed some light on the matter. I’m glad you found your way to my site and with it — hopefully — a solution to your problem.Regards,Ace

  4. If I find anything new on the matter, I’ll be sure to post it here. I hope I have shed some light on the matter. I’m glad you found your way to my site and with it — hopefully — a solution to your problem.Regards,Ace

  5. hey, Cesar!I got the same problem with my XPS M1530Did you find anything?Ace,Nice article and I really hope that the HotFix from MS would be helpful.I sent them request and waiting for my HotFix copy. Don’t know how it works, but think it would be some kind of installation package or something. Did you try that HotFix from MS?Thank you,Sabit

  6. hey, Cesar!I got the same problem with my XPS M1530Did you find anything?Ace,Nice article and I really hope that the HotFix from MS would be helpful.I sent them request and waiting for my HotFix copy. Don’t know how it works, but think it would be some kind of installation package or something. Did you try that HotFix from MS?Thank you,Sabit

  7. Sabit,Thanks for your research, I’ll check it out soon. I requested a hotfix from Microsoft, too, but they denied me access to it in the end, for some unknown reason. So, I actually didn’t get the chance to test their fix. Your link looks interesting, though, since it allows you to allegedly fix the partition flaw that’s inherent to a lot of Dell’s laptop. –Ace

  8. Sabit,Thanks for your research, I’ll check it out soon.I requested a hotfix from Microsoft, too, but they denied me access to it in the end, for some unknown reason. So, I actually didn’t get the chance to test their fix. Your link looks interesting, though, since it allows you to allegedly fix the partition flaw that’s inherent to a lot of Dell’s laptop.–Ace

  9. Thanks, i used GPARTED and it removed the existing partition so that i was able to install vista enterprise.

  10. Thanks, i used GPARTED and it removed the existing partition so that i was able to install vista enterprise.

  11. I had the same problem, 0xE0000100, on a new rd project at work. It turned out to be the RAM. I replaced it and it fixed the problem.

  12. I had the same problem, 0xE0000100, on a new rd project at work. It turned out to be the RAM. I replaced it and it fixed the problem.

  13. I got the same error trying to install Winbloze7 beta. Microsoft said reburn the ISO at a slower speed, so I did, Hah! Same thing. Ubuntu here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I got the same error trying to install Winbloze7 beta. Microsoft said reburn the ISO at a slower speed, so I did, Hah! Same thing. Ubuntu here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. I had the same problem recently. After reading the Microsoft's Knoledge Base article, I've just resized my logical partition to a size that is not a multiple of 4 GB and I was finally able to format the C drive. The only thing is that you won't be able to do this with the Windows disk management tool if you have more than 3 partitions. In that case, you can use a third party software (like Partition Magic) or backup your data, delete the partition and recreate another one.

  16. They say that there is a fix included in Vista SP1 (which was already installed on my computer) but I think they forgot to mention that we have to create another installation DVD that includes the SP1… I did not try with a Vista SP1 DVD but I think this could be a solution too.

  17. Ah, I wasn't aware of that. They also forgot to mention – then – that if you own a pre-SP1 DVD, there's no easy way to slipstream SP1 onto it. It *is* possible, but you'll have to resort to third-party tools like vLite,

  18. I had the same problem recently. After reading the Microsoft's Knoledge Base article, I've just resized my logical partition to a size that is not a multiple of 4 GB and I was finally able to format the C drive. The only thing is that you won't be able to do this with the Windows disk management tool if you have more than 3 partitions. In that case, you can use a third party software (like Partition Magic) or backup your data, delete the partition and recreate another one.

  19. They say that there is a fix included in Vista SP1 (which was already installed on my computer) but I think they forgot to mention that we have to create another installation DVD that includes the SP1… I did not try with a Vista SP1 DVD but I think this could be a solution too.

  20. Ah, I wasn't aware of that. They also forgot to mention – then – that if you own a pre-SP1 DVD, there's no easy way to slipstream SP1 onto it. It *is* possible, but you'll have to resort to third-party tools like vLite,

  21. Hay Guys,Just finished 4 days of struggling with this problem. my first guess was a BIOS misconfiguration or a driver mismatch with my seagate SATA HD.here's a few things to add:* the link provided by Sabit fixed my problem, THANKS DUDE! (again: <a href="http://biocio.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-install-windows-vista-enterprise.html“ rel=”nofollow”>http://biocio.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-insta…)* I tried to install windows vista with SP1 included, it has no affect on the problem.

  22. Hay Guys,Just finished 4 days of struggling with this problem. my first guess was a BIOS misconfiguration or a driver mismatch with my seagate SATA HD.here's a few things to add:* the link provided by Sabit fixed my problem, THANKS DUDE! (again: <a href="http://biocio.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-install-windows-vista-enterprise.html“ rel=”nofollow”>http://biocio.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-insta…)* I tried to install windows vista with SP1 included, it has no affect on the problem.

  23. i had this problem too! it a bug with the vista installation disk. What I did to fix it was to boot up a Windows XP disk, and use that to partition the drives so that the c: is not larger than 40GB, and the rest doesn't matter, u can use any partition size.Then, after partitioning, exit the XP installation, and restart the computer, and switch the CD to the Vista installation disk, and boot up as normal and you're good!

  24. i had this problem too! it a bug with the vista installation disk. What I did to fix it was to boot up a Windows XP disk, and use that to partition the drives so that the c: is not larger than 40GB, and the rest doesn't matter, u can use any partition size.Then, after partitioning, exit the XP installation, and restart the computer, and switch the CD to the Vista installation disk, and boot up as normal and you're good!

  25. Hi! Sadly I encountered this error when trying to reinstall both vista and installing windows 7, since this error came up my laptop has been going down the drain, I will try out your solution 🙂

  26. Hi! Sadly I encountered this error when trying to reinstall both vista and installing windows 7, since this error came up my laptop has been going down the drain, I will try out your solution 🙂

  27. It's best you just download the GParted Live CD. Pop that in and reboot. Thedisc will run Linux and GParted from the disc, without the need ofinstalling Linux to your hard drive.

  28. but ace i downloaded in USB as a choice was written there, in fact i havent use linux ever so when i get that screen with Gparted(default seetings) and i tap to change settings i find a code but i dnt know how to change it to partition my HDD,, plzzzzzzzzzzzzz would you take me step by step to partition the HDD??

  29. If you created the USB correctly you should see a menu appear at start-up,after which you usually can just hit <Enter> on the keyboard. After a while,a graphical user interface should pop up showing your hard drive's layout.Then you can start partitioning. From what I'm to understand you can't startup from USB key.

  30. no, when i boot from the usb i get this screen which has this options:———————————————————————————————GParted live (default settings)GParted live (to RAM. boot media can be removed later)GParted live (safe graphic settings, vga normal)GParted live (failsafe mode)local operating system in harddrive (if available)memory test using Memtest86+——————————————————————————————- press [tab] to edit options automatic boot in 30 seconds****************************************************************************************and the 30 seconds count down will never stop and when i hit [tab] i get that codehelp plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  31. It's best you just download the GParted Live CD. Pop that in and reboot. Thedisc will run Linux and GParted from the disc, without the need ofinstalling Linux to your hard drive.

  32. but ace i downloaded in USB as a choice was written there, in fact i havent use linux ever so when i get that screen with Gparted(default seetings) and i tap to change settings i find a code but i dnt know how to change it to partition my HDD,, plzzzzzzzzzzzzz would you take me step by step to partition the HDD??

  33. If you created the USB correctly you should see a menu appear at start-up,after which you usually can just hit <Enter> on the keyboard. After a while,a graphical user interface should pop up showing your hard drive's layout.Then you can start partitioning. From what I'm to understand you can't startup from USB key.

  34. no, when i boot from the usb i get this screen which has this options:———————————————————————————————GParted live (default settings)GParted live (to RAM. boot media can be removed later)GParted live (safe graphic settings, vga normal)GParted live (failsafe mode)local operating system in harddrive (if available)memory test using Memtest86+——————————————————————————————- press [tab] to edit options automatic boot in 30 seconds****************************************************************************************and the 30 seconds count down will never stop and when i hit [tab] i get that codehelp plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  35. I have encountered the same error message trying reinstall vista home premium (sp1) on my dell inspiron 1525. I tried removing the dell media direct partition as well with no luck ecountering an error message saying that i could not delete a volume containing a system partition. I even went into diskpart.exe marked volume F: (which is media direct) as inactive an attempted to delete it with still no luck. I tried overriding with no luck either. I've searched everywhere and and read pages from microssoft none helping me with my problem

  36. Wow… and I thought I was the only one! I have been working on an Inspirion 1525 for a friend of mine and ran into a brick wall w/ this. Her daughter somehow removed the operating system… I will try all of your suggestions and see if any of them work. I'll let you know how it goes…

  37. @jmsnams: Yeah, be sure to let us know whether and how you solved this issue. Still isn't very clear to me what causes this. Good luck, Ace

  38. I wasnt sure if this was the fix or not, but this post finally gave me motivation to take back my hdd and blow it completely. Thankfully I have a 500 GiB hdd with federal on it as well. Worked like a champ on my m1330.Thanks!

  39. Ace, I'm also having this problem. The weird thing is, I know my HD is partitioned, but I can't see them in the partition manager. Dell and Windows tech support are no help. At this point, all I can say is I'm never buying a Dell again.

  40. Hi, just wanted to let you all know that I also had this error when trying to install Windows 7 over a corrupted Vista installation; the problem must have been all the partitions that came in my Dell Inspiron laptop. Long story short: a bootable Gparted live USB fixed the issue. I deleted all the partitions and now I’m golden!

  41. OMFG I LOVE YOU YOU SAVED MY LAPTOP I LOVE YOU MANI SLOVED THIS PROBLEM USING WINDOWS 7 DIAGNOSTICS TOOL CMD.EXEDISKPARTSELECT DISK 0LIST PARITITONthen i noticed there are two mediadirect partitions, i am happy to see that because i think i found the solutionSELECT PARTITION 102 DELETE PARTIONEXITEXIT"Install Now“ yay ^^

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