How to Fix Windows Server 2016 Upgrade Error

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Windows Server 2016

Introduction:

This post will provide you relevant information and diagnostic checks which you can perform on your system in order to fix the “Setup has failed to validate the product key” error message while trying to upgrade the system by running the setup.exe from the Windows Server 2016 ISO File.

Perform the following Checks to Fix Windows Server 2016 Upgrade Error:

Step 1:

Make sure if you have a Norton, McAfee, AV or similar security software installed. If your system has any of the mentioned security software installed, then please try to temporary disable them first or uninstall them and test again by running the setup.exe file.

If the installation failed after disabling or uninstalling the security software, then please check the logs file for more information.

Step 2:

Please make sure your existing Windows Server is licensed. Moreover, please check the upgrade logs for more information. Log files are automatically created when you upgrade to a new version of Windows.

Below are the lists of all the log files that are created when you upgrade from an earlier version of Windows (Source: Microsoft).

The following log files are created when an upgrade is successful:
C:\Windows\Panther\Setupact.log
C:\Windows\panther\setuperr.log
C:\Windows\inf\setupapi.app.log
C:\Windows\inf\setupapi.dev.log
C:\Windows\panther\PreGatherPnPList.log
C:\Windows\panther\PostApplyPnPList.log
C:\Windows\panther\miglog.xml

The following log files are created when an upgrade fails during installation before the computer restarts for the second time:
C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\panther\setupact.log
C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\panther\miglog.xml
C:\Windows\setupapi.log
[Windows 10:] C:\Windows\Logs\MoSetup\BlueBox.log

The following log files are created when an upgrade fails during installation after the computer restarts for the second time:
C:\Windows\panther\setupact.log
C:\Windows\panther\miglog.xml
C:\Windows\inf\setupapi.app.log
C:\Windows\inf\setupapi.dev.log
C:\Windows\panther\PreGatherPnPList.log
C:\Windows\panther\PostApplyPnPList.log
C:\Windows\memory.dmp

The following log files are created when an upgrade fails, and then you restore the desktop:
C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\panther\setupact.log
C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\panther\miglog.xml
C:\$Windows.~BT\sources\panther\setupapi\setupapi.dev.log
C:\$Windows.~BT\sources\panther\setupapi\setupapi.app.log
C:\Windows\memory.dmp

The following log files are created when an upgrade fails, and the installation rollback is initiated:
C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\Rollback\setupact.log
C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\Rollback\setupact.err

Conclusion:

If possible, plan for a clean installation and then migrate. As upgrading from the existing system to Windows Server 2016 is riskier and might result in unknown error during upgrade.

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