FIX: You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
2 Comments
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  • Users constantly report getting the annoying You can't keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps error message. Ready to solve the issue in minutes?
  • Switching to a different antivirus may just do the trick, so don’t hesitate to try out BullGuard.
  • We’re always here to assist you with useful tips and a detailed Internet Connection Errors section.
  • Instead of having these errors disrupting your digital activity, feel free to bookmark our Windows 10 Troubleshooting Hub.

When upgrading to Windows 10, in most cases you’ll have the option to save your personal files and apps and move them to Windows 10.

Unfortunately, some users reported You can’t keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps error message while performing Windows 10 upgrade.

You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps error message can prevent you from preserving your files while upgrading to a new version of Windows.

This can be a big problem, just as users also reported the following issues:

  • Keep personal files and apps greyed out – Many users reported that the option to keep their personal files and apps is disabled while upgrading to a new version of Windows 10. This can be a big problem, but you should be able to fix it using one of our solutions.
  • You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps because your current version, unsupported directory, different language – There are many reasons that can prevent you from upgrading to a new version of Windows. In most cases, they’re related to your system language or locale.
  • You can’t keep Windows settings registry – This error can appear if you change the location of your Program Files or user account directory. However, you can fix this problem by making a couple of changes in your registry.

These can turn into a huge problem, but there are some ways to fix them.

How can I fix Windows settings, personal files, and apps error?

1. Remove your antivirus

try out Bullguard

Sometimes the main cause for You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps error is your antivirus.

Even though antivirus software is important, sometimes it can interfere with Windows and cause this problem to appear.

To fix the problem, it’s advised that you disable your antivirus completely and check if that solves the problem. If the issue persists, you might be able to fix it simply by uninstalling your antivirus software.

For the Norton users, we’ve got a dedicated guide on how to completely remove it from your PC. There’s also a useful guide for McAffe users.

If you’re using any antivirus solution and you want to completely remove it from your PC, be sure to check out this amazing list with the best uninstaller software you can use right now.

If removing the antivirus solves the problem, you might want to consider switching to a different antivirus in the future. There are many great antivirus solutions, but the best remains BullGuard.

Besides offering great security features, it’s known to be fully compatible with all versions of Windows 10.

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2. Check your system language

  1. Press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
    You can't keep windows settings personal files and apps different language
  2. When Command Prompt starts, enter the following:
    • DISM /online /get-intl
      cmd-dism-get-intl
  3. You should see your operating system language in the Default system UI language section.
  4. Insert Windows 10 DVD and boot your computer from it.
  5. Choose the Repair option and navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.
  6. When Command Prompt starts, enter the following and press Enter to run it:
    • DISM /image:C: /set-uilang:en-US
  7. This will set your system language to en-US and you’ll be able to keep your files when you upgrade to Windows 10. If en-US doesn’t work, you might have to set your language so it matches the language from Windows 10 ISO.

You might get You can’t keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps message if your system language doesn’t match the language on Windows 10 ISO. To change the system language, do as described above.

If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look at this handy guide.


Does it seem that everything is lost when DISM fails on Windows? Check out this quick guide and get rid of the worries.


3. Change system locale from Control Panel

  1. Open Control Panel and go to Clock, Language and Region section and choose Region.
    Keep personal files and apps greyed out
  2. Go to the Administrative tab and click on Change system locale.
    Keep personal files and apps greyed out
  3. Set Current system locale to English (United States) and click OK to save changes.
    You can't keep windows settings personal files and apps because your current version
  4. Click Apply and OK in the Region window.
  5. Restart your computer and try to upgrade to Windows 10 again.

You can’t open Control Panel? Take a look at this step-by-step guide to find a solution.


4. Download the Windows 10 version that matches your system language

Windows 10 version

You can’t keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps message appears during Windows 10 setup when language from your previous operating system doesn’t match the language on your Windows 10 ISO file.

We showed you how to change your system language in order to install Windows 10, but what if you wish to keep your current system language?

If you don’t want to switch your system language to US English, you can simply download Windows 10 ISO with that uses the same language as your current operating system.

To do that, just download the Media Creation Tool and choose the desired language from the list of languages.

Having problems with the Windows Media Creation Tool? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this quick guide.


5. Remove any additional non-English languages

remove additional non-English languages

If you can’t keep your files from the previous version of Windows, perhaps you should try removing any other installed languages.

After you’ve removed all additional languages besides English, try installing Windows 10 again.

This might not be the best solution, but it works according to users, so you might want to try it out.


6. Remove problematic applications

how to remove problematic applications

If you can’t upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10, the problem might be a third-party application that is installed on your PC.

It seems that this problem was caused by Java installation. To fix the problem, it’s advised to uninstall Java and try to perform the upgrade again.

It’s worth mentioning that regular uninstall might not be able to remove Java completely.

Sometimes certain leftover files and registry entries can still interfere with Windows causing this and many other problems to appear.

To fix the issue, it’s advised to completely remove the problematic application. There are several ways to do that, but the simplest one is to use a dedicated uninstaller.

These applications are specially designed to completely remove any application from your PC, so we encourage you to try them out.

As for uninstallers, there are many great tools available, but the best are IOBit Uninstaller, Revo Uninstaller, and Ashampoo Uninstaller, so feel free to try any of them.

Once you remove the problematic application, the issue should be resolved. Keep in mind that other applications can also cause this problem, so you’ll need to find these applications on your own and remove them.

If you don’t know how to uninstall programs and apps in Windows 10, take a look at this dedicated guide.


Want to know how to remove software leftovers easily? This simple guide will certainly help you do that.


7. Update your drivers

how to update your drivers

Drivers are a crucial part of Windows, and without drivers, you won’t be able to use your hardware properly.

Speaking of drivers, several users reported that You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps error was caused by outdated drivers.

According to users, their graphics card driver was out of date, and that caused this problem to appear. To fix the issue, update your graphics card driver to the latest version and check if that solves the problem.

If you don’t know how to properly update your graphics card driver, be sure to check our detailed guide on how to update the graphics card driver.

Keep in mind that other drivers can also cause this problem, so be sure that all your drivers are up to date before you try to upgrade.

We strongly recommend TweakBit’s Driver Updater (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to automatically download all the outdated drivers on your PC.

With this tool, you will be safe from downloading and installing the wrong driver versions, which could seriously harm your system.

Disclaimer: Some features of this tool are not free

Did you know that the majority of Windows 10 users have outdated drivers? Be a step ahead using this comprehensive guide.


8. Check your registry

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
    You can’t keep Windows settings registry
  2. In the left panel, navigate to ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersion key. In the right panel, locate ProgramFilesDir, Program FilesDir (x86), ProgramFilesPath and ProgramW6432Dir. Check the data values for these strings. If you changed the location of the Program Files directory, the values should look like X: Program Files. To fix that, open each of these strings and change the drive letter to C.
    You can't keep windows settings personal files and apps unsupported directory

According to users, you can sometimes encounter You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps message due to your registry settings.

Several users reported that they changed the location of the Program Files directory, and that caused this issue to appear. However, you can fix the problem by doing as described above.

After making changes to your registry, try to upgrade your Windows again and check if the problem reappears.

If you can’t edit your Windows 10’s registry, read this handy guide and find the quickest solutions to the issue.


9. Check the location of user account directory

location of user account directory

If you’re trying to install a new version of Windows, you might encounter You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps error message. This error can appear if your user account directory is moved.

While installing a new version of Windows, your user account directory is needed in order to create a backup of your files.

If this directory is moved or missing, you won’t be able to upgrade and you’ll encounter this problem.

However, you can fix the issue simply by moving your user account directory to the C: Users folder on your PC. After doing that, you should be able to upgrade without any problems.


10. Change your product key or edition

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by pressing Windows Key + I.
  2. When the Settings app opens, go to the System section.
    You can’t keep Windows settings registry
  3. Navigate to About section in the menu on the left. Now select Change product key or upgrade your edition of Windows.
    Keep personal files and apps greyed out
  4. Now enter the product key for the version of Windows you’re upgrading to.

Sometimes You can’t keep Windows settings personal files and apps error can appear if you’re trying to switch to a different version of Windows.

Many users reported this problem while trying to switch from Home to Pro version of Windows. To fix this problem, you can perform an Easy Upgrade by doing the following:

This is a simple solution, but keep in mind that it works only if you’re upgrading to a different edition of Windows.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this handy article to solve the issue.


Unable to change your Windows 10’s product key? Follow this amazing guide and solve the issue in no time.


Even if you can’t keep personal files and apps as they are greyed out, things shouldn’t remain this way for too long.

Personal files and folders are rather important, and if you’re getting You can’t keep Windows settings, personal files and apps during Windows 10 installation, make sure that you try some of our solutions.

As always, for more questions and suggestions, reach for the comments sections below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • Hello,

    I want to try out your fix for the update fix while keeping your apps. However when i type in:
    DISM /image:c: /set-uilang:en_US
    it gives me error code:
    error 2:
    Unable to access the image.
    Make sure that the image path and the windows directory for the image exist and you have Read permissions on the folder.
    The DISM log file can be found at X:windowsLogsDISMdism.log

    Is there a way to fix this?

    Thanks so far for reading it, I hope you can help me with this problem

    Greatings,

    Josh

    • Did you enter CMD through Windows Install Disc? Or Recovery boot options? This might be the problem.. I always boot windows install with dvd and choose CMD repair or something similair after repair option i believe Troubleshoot — >>> Advanced options – – – >>>> and now Command Prompt here. This should work mate! It did for me, Hope as wel for you! Good luck and don’t forget 2 make restorepoint first 🙂