Fix: The installation failed in the safe_os phase

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • When installing Windows 10 in safe mode, you may see the error message The installation failed in the safe os phase with an error.
  • All of your peripherals may be useful in resolving the Windows 10 installation issue on your computer, following the upgrade of drivers or disabling the graphics card.
  • Setting up automated services, adjusting RAM, and upgrading the BIOS are all part of the diagnostic process.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed by this situation, don't worry since we are here to walk you through all of the solutions.
Installation Failed in Safe OS Phase With an Error

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Although Windows 10 is free for most Windows 8 and Windows 7 users upgrading to Windows 10 isn’t always smooth as you think.

Users report getting The installation failed in the safe_os phase with an error during apply_image operation error while trying to upgrade to Windows 10.

Variations of this error include installation errors during:

  • recovery environment
  • prepare rollback
  • replicate_oc operation
  • migrate_data operation
  • first_boot

Possible specific errors that can appear during installation are:

In this article, we’ve tried to cover all these problems. Since operating systems behave differently, our advice is that you try each solution in turn, until finding the right fix.

What can I do if the installation fails in the safe_OS phase?

1. Update all your drivers

According to users, Installation Failed in Safe_OS Phase With an Error During Apply_image Operation message can appear if you have any problems with your drivers.

Outdated drivers can cause this problem to appear, so it’s recommended to update them.

For instance, a lot of users reported that their USB drivers were the problem. After updating them, the issue was resolved.

However, other outdated drivers can cause this problem as well. So we wholeheartedly recommend a third-party tool, DriverFix, to help with detecting and updating all the essential drivers.

Once installed and launched, the tool scans your system and finds all problematic drivers. It also offers reliable recommendations for the latest software versions that you can safely install.

Besides, this is not just a one-time use tool. It will surely come in handy later on.

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2. Change your Windows 10 installation

This is a bit complex solution since it requires you to change Windows 10 setup files. This solution is helpful to some users, but make sure that you follow instructions carefully to prevent any damage and unwanted issues.

The main cause of this error is the KB3064209 Intel CPU microcode update. If you don’t use Intel’s CPU, then this doesn’t apply to you.

This was proven to work on Gigabyte GB-BXi3-4010 motherboards with Intel i3 4010U CPU installed, but we assume that it should work with any other motherboard with Intel CPU.

KB3064209 updates the file C:/Windows/system32/mcupdate_genuineintel.dll

In order to install Windows 10, you need to delete this file. To do so, follow the steps below (we’ll use X: as USB drive, C: as our operating system drive letter, and User as the user profile name. When applying this solution, make sure that you change these to match your settings.)

  1. Download Windows 10 ISO and copy its contents to a USB stick.
  2. Run Command Prompt as administrator.
    The installation failed in the safe_os phase with an error during recovery environment
  3. Create a new folder on your Desktop and call it mount.
  4. Mount and edit WIM (Image file:boot.wim, Index 1) by entering into Command Prompt:
    • dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:X:sourcesboot.wim /index:1 /MountDir:C:UsersUserDesktopmountThe installation failed in the safe_os phase with an error during prepare rollback
  5. Use Windows Explorer and navigate to:
    • C:/Users/User/Desktop/mount/Windows/System32/mcupdate_GenuineIntel.dll
  6. Right-click mcupdate_GenuineIntel.dll and choose Properties.
  7. Go to the Security tab, then click Advanced.
    Windows 10 error 0xc1900101 - 0x20017
  8. Next, Change the Owner to your User account. (Enter your user account and click on Check Names button. Click OK to save the changes.)
    The installation failed in the safe_os phase with an error during install_updates
  9. In the Security tab click Edit and then Add to add your user account. (Make sure that you check Full Control so you can have maximum privileges. Click Apply and OK to save changes.)
    The installation failed in the safe_os phase boot
  10. Now delete mcupdate_GenuineIntel.dll.
  11. Close all open Windows Explorer windows.
  12. Go back to Command Prompt and unmount the image by entering:
    • dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:UsersUserDesktopmount /commit
  13. Now you’ll have to repeat steps 4-11 for the following files:
    • boot.wim /index:2
    • install.wim /index:1
    • install.wim /index:2
  14. If you’re confused, just replace boot.wim /index:1 with the values from the list above.
  15. Delete the mount folder from your desktop, remove the USB and boot the installer.

This is an advanced solution, so be sure to follow the instructions on the screen carefully in order to perform it properly.

3. Use an uninstaller third-party solution

Installation Failed in Safe_OS Phase With an Error During Apply_image Operation error can appear due to your temporary files, and one way to fix it is to uninstall them completely.

In order to perform this, it’s advisable to remove your problematic files or programs from your computer.

Still, using Windows Control Panel might not help you very much with leftover files that remain in your system.

And this is where uninstaller software plays its part, entirely removing all problematic files from the PC. So you can try to fix this error by using the best uninstaller software on the market right now.

We recommend this option as those programs are designed not only to uninstall the program (an action that you could perform on your own from the Control Panel), but they also delete all the traces of the deleted piece of software from all directories and from the registry.

While we’re at it, you might also want to review your security software such as antivirus or VPN, as this seems to be hindering the installation process for many, particularly in connection to Windows 11.

The installation failed in the SAFE_OS phase Windows 11

If you get the Safe OS Phase error on Windows 11, we recommend you disconnect your VPN and retry the installation. In some cases, this is not enough due to potentially conflictual software settings.

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Whatever is the stop code accompanying this error: 0x800f0830 – 0x20003, fail code 0xc1900101, 0x800f0955 – 0x20003, and so on, you can try to remove your VPN software from your PC (along with any software leftovers).

Then, check if this measure helps to unblock the installation process on Windows 11.

If that is the case, we encourage you to explore more suitable VPN alternatives that are less likely to interfere with other system components, apps, or processes.

4. Set services to automatic

  1. Press Windows Key + R and type services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
    The installation failed in the safe_os first_boot
  2. Find the following services:
    • BITS(Background Intelligent Transfer Service)
    • Windows Update Service
    • Cryptographic Service
  3. Double-click each of these services to open their Properties.
  4. Now find the Startup type and set it to Automatic. Click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    Windows 10 error 0xc1900101 - 0x20017
  5. Repeat the process for all three services.
  6. Restart your computer and try to install Windows 10 again.

After enabling all these services, the problem should be resolved and you’ll be able to install Windows 10 without any issues.

5. Unplug all USB devices from your computer / remove your WiFi adapter

Some users report that unplugging all USB devices fixes this issue, so you might want to do that. This applies to your printer, phone, external hard drive, etc.

Try using a PS/2 keyboard and mouse instead of a USB keyboard and mouse.

Also, if you’re using a dedicated WiFi card, you might want to remove it from your computer while trying to install Windows 10.

Do this only if you know how it works, or if your device is under warranty. Contact the official repair shop if available.

6. Disable your graphics/network card

If you’re getting Installation Failed in Safe_OS Phase With an Error During Apply_image Operation while installing Windows 10, the problem might be related to your dedicated graphics card.

According to users, sometimes your graphics card might not be fully compatible with Windows 10, and the only solution is to disable it from BIOS.

To do that, first, you need to enter BIOS while your PC boots. There are several ways to do that, and if you don’t know how to do it, be sure to check your motherboard manual for detailed instructions.

Once you enter BIOS, you need to find your dedicated graphics card and disable it. If you don’t know how to do that, check your instruction manual for detailed instructions.

Once the dedicated graphics is disabled, you might have to connect your monitor to the onboard graphics on the back of your PC. Now try to install Windows 10 again and check if the issue reappears.

Several users reported that disabling their dedicated graphics fixed the problem for them, so be sure to try that out.

In addition to your graphics card, sometimes the problem might be your network card.

If you’re using a built-in network card to access the Internet, be sure to disable it from BIOS and check if that solves your issue.

7. Update your BIOS

If you’re getting Installation Failed in Safe_OS Phase With an Error During Apply_image Operation error message while trying to install Windows 10, the problem might be related to your BIOS.

Sometimes outdated BIOS can cause this issue to appear, and in order to fix it, you need to flash your BIOS and install the latest version.

Updating your BIOS is an advanced and somewhat risky procedure that can cause irreversible damage to your PC if you’re not careful.

To see how to properly update the BIOS on your motherboard, be sure to check your motherboard manual for detailed instructions.

Several users reported that updating their BIOS fixed the issue for them, so be extra cautious if you plan to use this solution.

8. Add/remove RAM modules

Another way to fix Installation Failed in Safe_OS Phase With an Error During Apply_image Operation error is to add or remove RAM modules.

Several users reported that they fixed the issue simply by adding or removing one or two memory modules to or from their PC. After doing that, the installation went smoothly.

Hopefully, one of our solutions proved helpful for your particular situation. We’d like to hear about how you managed to solve the problem, so feel free to drop us a line in the comments below.

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