How to Fix Software Install Issues on a Windows PC

Introduction

Installing applications is generally a worry free process. This guide will assist you when problems arise installing programs.

Install issues can arise if:

  • There isn't enough free space on the hard drive.
  • There is a network connectivity issue.
  • User Account Control problems.
  • Other software conflicts.

1 Check Drive Space

  1. Click Start, type storage in the search box, then click Storage.
    screenshot of Windows start menu with a search for storage and storage link highlighted

  2. Under Local storage on the right, you will see a list of drives. In the example below, C: has a 446 GB capacity with 403 GB used and 43 GB free space.
    Screenshot of storage detailing drive space free

? Would you like to uninstall programs and clean up your disk to help make space?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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Installing applications is generally a worry free process. This guide will assist you when problems arise installing programs.

Install issues can arise if:

  • There isn't enough free space on the hard drive.
  • There is a network connectivity issue.
  • User Account Control problems.
  • Other software conflicts.
  1. Click Start, type storage in the search box, then click Storage.
    screenshot of Windows start menu with a search for storage and storage link highlighted

  2. Under Local storage on the right, you will see a list of drives. In the example below, C: has a 446 GB capacity with 403 GB used and 43 GB free space.
    Screenshot of storage detailing drive space free

Windows needs about 2 GB free space, at minimum, to function. In order to properly update and perform other functions, around 5 GB free space is recommended.

A simple way to help free up space is to remove temporary files; files that were useful during an update or other working of the computer, but now simply take up space.

This will guide you through safely clearing those temporary files.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select System.
    System Settings
  3. Select Storage on the left, then select Temporary files on the right.
    System Settings with Storage and Temporary files highlighted.
  4. Place a checkmark next to each item, then select Remove files.
    Temporary files settings with each item checked and remove files highlighted.

You may need to remove an app because you need the space or simply don't need it anymore. The following steps show you how to easily remove an app.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select Apps.
    Apps Settings
  3. Select Apps & features on the left.
    Apps Settings with Apps and features highlighted.
  4. Select an app you want to uninstall, then select Uninstall.
    Apps and features with app and Uninstall highlighted.
    Carefully read any prompts in case there are special instructions. Proceed until the application is removed.
    Some applications may require that you reboot.
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.

Some software requires you to be connected to the Internet to install correctly. The easy way to check this is to open a web browser, such as Edge, and make sure you can bring up a web page, such as Google.

  1. Open Edge, or another web browser you are familiar with.
    Screenshot of task bar with edge highlighted

  2. At the top, type in google.com, and push the Enter key on your keyboard.
    screenshot of browser with address bar highlighted

  3. The simple Google homepage should open up.

If the Google Homepage does not come up, please see our guide on connecting your computer to your home network.

Try to install your software again.

Windows 10 has 2 methods of protection for applications on your computer.

User Account Control

  1. Choose the Start menu, and search for UAC. Choose Change User Account Control settings.
    Screenshot of start menu with search for user account control highlighted

  2. Make sure the slider on the left is set to medium-high.
    Screenshot of user account controls with the slider set to medium-high

  3. This will prompt you, but not block you, when installing programs.

Windows Defender App Control

  1. Open the Start Menu, and select the Settings icon.
    screenshot of Windows start menu with settings highlighted

  2. Scroll down and select Update & Security.
    screenshot of windows settings with update and security highlighted

  3. Choose Windows Defender on the left, then click the Open Windows Defender Security Center button on the right.
    screenshot of security settings with windows defender and open windows defender security center button highlighted

  4. Choose App & browser control.
    Screenshot of windows defender with app and browser control highlighted

  5. Under Check apps and files, place a dot next to Warn.
    screenshot of app and browser control with warn highlighted

  6. Again, this will warn, and not block you from installing programs.
Try to install your software again.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select the Power icon.
    Screenshot of the windows start menu with the start button and power button highlighted

  2. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and keep it held down.
    picture of a keyboard with shift highlighted

  3. With the Shift key still held down, click on Restart.
    screenshot of the windows start menu with restart highlighted

  4. Release the shift key on your keyboard.
  5. Choose Troubleshoot.
    screenshot of boot options with troubleshoot highlighted

  6. Choose Advanced options.
    screenshot showing advanced options highlighted

  7. Choose Startup Settings.
    screenshot showing startup settings highlighted

  8. Choose Restart.
    screenshot showing restart highlighted

  9. After your computer reboots, on the startup settings menu, push the F5 key on your keyboard for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    picture of keyboard with F5 key highlighted
    screenshot showing choice 5 enable safe mode with networking highlighted

Safe mode is a special diagnostic mode for Windows, designed to startup with very few items, to make sure nothing else can interfere with the task you're trying to perform.

Windows may look different than you are used to, for example, the desktop background may be missing, the screen may look stretched or squished, and you should see the words Safe Mode in every corner. This is to let you know you are in safe mode.


Normal Mode Example Safe Mode Example
Screenshot of normal windows desktop screenshot of windows safe mode desktop
Try to install your software again.
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Choose the Start menu, and type PowerShell into the search.
    screenshot of start menu search for powershell

  2. Using your right mouse button, right click on PowerShell in the list above. A special menu will open. Choose Run as Administrator.
    screenshot of right clicking on powershell app with run as administrator highlighted

  3. Windows may ask if PowerShell may make changes. If it does, click Yes.
    screenshot of user account control dialog with yes highlighted

  4. Enter the following 2 commands, push enter at the end of each:
    net user Test /add
    net localgroup Administrators Test /add

    screenshot of powershell with commands endered

Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.

On the login screen, you'll be given options to choose which profile you'd like to log in with. Click on Test in the bottom-left corner.

Windows Login with Test profile highlighted.

Try to install your software again.
  1. Click the Start menu, choose Profiles, then choose Sign out.
    Start menu with the start button, profiles icon, and sign out highlighted.
  2. Choose your normal profile from the list in the bottom-left, and sign in as you normally do.
    Windows sign in screen with the primary profile highlighted.
  3. Choose the Start menu, and type PowerShell into the search.
    Windows start menu searching for powershell.
  4. Using your right mouse button, right click on PowerShell in the list above. A special menu will open. Choose Run as Administrator.
    Right click menu for powershell with run as Administrator highlighted.
  5. Windows will ask if PowerShell may make changes, click Yes.
    User account control dialog with yes highlighted.
  6. Type in the following command, then press enter:
    net user Test /delete
    Powershell with command highlighted.
  1. Click the Start menu, choose Profiles, then choose Sign out.
    Start menu with the start button, profiles icon, and sign out highlighted.
  2. Choose your normal profile from the list in the bottom-left, and sign in as you normally do.
    Windows sign in screen with the primary profile highlighted.
  3. Choose the Start menu, and type PowerShell into the search.
    Windows start menu searching for powershell.
  4. Using your right mouse button, right click on PowerShell in the list above. A special menu will open. Choose Run as Administrator.
    Right click menu for powershell with run as Administrator highlighted.
  5. Windows will ask if PowerShell may make changes, click Yes.
    User account control dialog with yes highlighted.
  6. Type in the following command, then press enter:
    net user Test /delete
    Powershell with command highlighted.
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