Tip: How to resume the Windows 10 installation media creation process

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 31, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Windows users can run Microsoft's Media Creation tool to create a Windows 10 ISO image or copy the installation files required by the operating system to a USB Flash drive.

Since the download has a size of several Gigabytes, it can happen that it stops at one point during operation, or that the operation stops at the processing phase.

If you then run the tool again to complete the process, you will notice that the download starts from zero instead of resuming from the position the previous operation stopped at.

This may not be a problem for users no high speed Internet connections, but if your Internet is unreliable or slow, you may not want to go through the whole ordeal again especially since there is a chance that the operation may stop again at one point in time.

While there is no option to resume the download itself, it is at least possible to resume the creation of the installation media if the download completed successfully. It is hidden from sight however and not available in the tool's interface.

If you run the tool, it creates two directories on your main partition: $WINDOWS.~BT and $Windows.~WS. These folders contain the installation files, and an option to resume the creation process if it fails. Please note that these folders get populated during download, and that the download needs to complete successfully for all files to become available.

windows-10 resume installation media

Open C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\Windows\sources on the system and locate the file setupprep.exe. When you start it, the process will resume the last operation instead of starting completely anew. This means that it will resume the creation of the media using the downloaded setup files.

Tip: These directories are created even if you select to create an ISO image or copy the files to USB Flash drives.  This means that the files (may) remain on the drive even after the successful completion of the process. You may want to delete them after you have created installation media for Windows 10 as they take up Gigabytes of storage space.

Please note that these folders may be hidden by default. You need to make them visible first using the folder options. On Windows 7, you simply click organize > folder and search options, switch to View, and select "show hidden files, folders and drives".

show hidden files

The missing download resume option is problematic, especially for users with slow or unreliable Internet connections. No workaround or alternative is available right now that would improve the experience for users.

Tip: How to resume the Windows 10 installation media creation process
Article Name
Tip: How to resume the Windows 10 installation media creation process
Find out how to resume the Windows 10 installation media creation process when it fails so that you don't need to start from the beginning.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. saltyuser said on January 28, 2022 at 4:10 am

    Non of this is working. it took me 20 hours to download and it just vanish! yes i see alot of the files but not the exe files… and its my 3 time i have waited a whole night to download this.
    Omg microsoft really suck. never use that stuff. scam company. make me use all my internet. this can only be TROLL!!!!! download 100% finish progeesss and the product disapears out the blue! its not even on my USB .

  2. Rohit Sharma said on March 20, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Hello Martin when I am upgrading 32 bit into 64 bit but the electricity has gone 91 percent has downloaded but electricity has gone what to do can I resume my download from 91 percent not 0 percent please help me Martin please tell me something which I can solve my problem

  3. Mark said on January 23, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you for this information. Given the size of the download I find it downright dumb that Microsoft does not provide a way to resume the download process, but then again we’re used to them not doing what makes sense. I appreciate third parties such as yourself making helpful tips available.

  4. DCal said on December 25, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Abel BC, you are a freaking lifesaver! That worked! Thank you!

    1. vince said on December 30, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      how to pause??? i like to shut down my laptop but im afraid i start again

  5. nothreek said on November 26, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I have a weird question which is kinda related and kinda unrelated also 😉
    I have dozen of different windows 10 Iso file which consisted of almost all of it’s editions till now. But I got aware that there’s still someway available to upgrade to windows 10 from 7 and get official and legal licenses. The problem is the mentioned windows 7 is on expensive metered and way too slow network connection (2G Mobile with limited data plan). And if I’m not wrong you can’t get to keep your license by upgrading from bootable DVD or USB ISO image.
    So my question basically is this:
    “Is there any way to force Microsoft Media Creation Tool to use a previously downloaded ISO as it’s source for files thus prevent it from huge bandwidth consumption??’
    Even 80 to 90 percent of download prevention is enough.

  6. Abel BC said on August 31, 2017 at 9:18 am

    To all of you who couldnt find the folder… Try C:\ESD\Windows\sources …..There select setupprep.exe … That worked for me… Thank you

  7. dhairyashil said on August 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm




  8. John said on August 7, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Mine gets to 100% and then it restarts from 0% on it own. Have tried it several times now. Help pls…

  9. Hi said on July 19, 2016 at 5:01 am

    No resume, and by the sounds of it no verify file files for corruption. Can we have the people’s names that did this for a class action lawsuit. :)

  10. gabriel said on June 23, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    um where can i find the source on my windows 8.1 pc

  11. piyush said on May 21, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    A panther file exist in $Windows~BT and $window~ws folder what do i do..??

  12. Walker said on January 19, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks a lot. In-case you cant find the files, use Ava find to locate the file.

  13. Ayush said on December 19, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Will Setuphost.exe file help
    its in the Windows.~WS\Source Folder

  14. jitark said on December 18, 2015 at 11:14 am

    my download was complete to 100%. verification was also complete and the while creating installation media it stopped with an error “something happened…….” . i have both folders but size is 200kb only and i have panther folder inside it. there is nothing more than that in it what should i do?

  15. Reena said on December 11, 2015 at 7:50 am

    windows is frustrating me ..now i understand why people are going behind android and i mac..being classic windows has to be loyal to its loyal users ..but windows has highly disappointed me..no more windows product will be purchased by me..the windows 10 download doesnt happen completely..cant the makers be aware that all the users do not have efficient internet..and have not made the download process wise enough to continue from where it left..****ed windows and its makers.. THE RARE ONES WHO HAVE GOTTEN WINDOWS 10 SUCCESSFULLY ,,PLEASE DO COMMENT AND HELP OTHERS!!

    1. Anonymous said on September 20, 2021 at 8:40 pm

      That is the monopoly software, no one is competing with microsoft in paid versions of os software. when you start using alternative software, it will start giving competition to microsoft. You can start marketing for others with negatives of microsoft. There are already many linux alternatives. Just need to match in the core it will give microsoft run for its money.

    2. AVeryHelpfulMan said on June 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      On your taskbar a white windows logo should appear and if not update your PC. Click on the logo an follow the instructions from there
      BTW what os are you using WinXp?WinVista?Win7?Win8RT?Win8?Win8.1?
      If you want to be able to update 8 to 10 then you first go to the store and update it to win8.1 than do the top instructions

  16. Gerva said on December 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    No windows source folder found, I have also searched for setupprep,exe but no result. Can you suggest me any other method to upgrade windows 10.

  17. Ashish said on November 27, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I downloaded 100%. Upgraded and while configuring my installation failed.
    Now I want to restart installation after doing some fixes, I dont have the folder C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\Windows\sources
    i have the folder as C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\Panther

  18. Aldrin Kiwas said on October 31, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    microsoft must have made the pause and resume button for the first time it was created because its not possible for slow internet users to download it quickly and it is nearly 4GB of size and now it is my third time to download it again and setupprep did not show up in my folder

  19. Adeel said on October 10, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Hello dear. There is no sub folder named windows in the mentioned folder. Microsoft should have a solution. If they do not why they insist to download it through media creation tool. Anybody from Microsoft please either inform your superiors about the problem or at least mention that its not resumable so that user should be mentally ready that he would have waste lot of time and energy

  20. Jasty said on October 8, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Hi! I’m using media creation tool and I’m worried that that my download might finish. It’s been 6hrs since I started the download an now the progress is stuck at 77% for about 45mins now. What should I do about this? Should I stop the program and follow the instructions in this tip?

  21. Abram said on October 5, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Hi, i used media creation tool and chose upgrade pc to download windows 10. In the root folder you can see only $Windows.~BT because the $Windows.~WS folder is hidden. first you have to make sure that any folder in the root drive is not hidden. You can do this by folder properties option in organize tab as shown above. Now in the $Windows.~WS folder you find source folder if you don’t find the Windows folder that means your download is not complete. For the first time when i ran the media creation tool every thing was good till 96% of download but suddenly the window disappeared automatically. In this case what i did is; once again tried to run the media creation tool as an administrator but it’ll say something like ” set up tool didn’t download some important files”……… and then show…… ”the setup tool failed to……….reboot your pc and try again” . As instructed in the message i restarted my pc and tried to run the media creation tool again and again after rebooting my pc but the result was same. Doing that multiple times it finally ran again. I thought running the media creation tool again would delete all the previously downloaded files. And yes i saw no files in the $Windows.~WS folder for a while but all the previously downloaded files were vanished temporarily which showed up again. Then my download started again from 0% but this time some new files were downloaded.

  22. shan said on September 12, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I dont have the folder C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\Windows\sources
    i have the folder as C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\Panther

    The download was 70% and then it is restarting again and again

    Please suggest

  23. Andika said on August 30, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the article, I managed to find the setupprep.exe. Mine its located at C:\ESD\windows\source

    1. Jason said on October 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks for that! Mine was there too.

  24. umar said on August 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    i have a problem my media creation tools is hidden how am i do

  25. Gilley said on August 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Got the same problem with Abhinav!
    I hope there’s a way to solve it rather than redownloading it again.

  26. Abhinav said on August 16, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I have downloaded the win 10 update to 100%, but during installation it stopped and somehow got restarted. So I searched to use the downloaded file to resume it. Now I have only $Windows.~BT folder and not the other $Windows.~WS. Also there is no folder named windows in $Windows.~BT/sources/. Please suggest me something to I can resume.
    I have .tmp file in windows/softwaredistribution/download, of 2.7GB.

  27. Pritimay said on August 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Note: If you have unreliable network or need to pause download (by media creation tool) for some reasons, then you should “hibernate” instead of “shutdown” your PC without closing the media creation tool’s download window. When you restart your PC sometimes later, download Will resume. It’s time saving especially if you have frequent power cuts.
    I had upgraded to windows 10 through windows update and clean installed it following the above precaution.

  28. It Worked said on August 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    The file has a different name and it’s moved one folder deeper: Open C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\Windows\sources\windows\setup.exe

    1. rizwan said on January 2, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      how to find these folders in win 10 ?

  29. Tanmoy Das said on August 5, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Hey there is no setupprep.exe!! What to do ?

  30. BaSSI said on August 2, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Hello martin i am using windows 8.1 i downloaded windows 10 18% then i stop the downloading, next morning when i check the $Windows.~WS folder folder,,,there was no Source foler insteat there was source folder which does not have windows folder.
    It is impossible for me to download the whole windows 3 gb file in one chance…what to do?

  31. Kartikey Sharma said on August 2, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Actually i had downloaded windows 10 about 60% but i am not getting any file name “setupprep.exe” Pls tell me what to do as soon as you can.
    I am getting the option of setup host.Can this option be of any help in resuming the download.

  32. Niraj said on August 2, 2015 at 6:38 am

    hi I am having windows 7
    i have windows 10 reserved
    i ran media creation tool but cancel it when it was 10%
    i want official update what should i do
    (window 10 icon is there in notification tray)
    should i delete $ folder

  33. BaSSi said on August 2, 2015 at 5:53 am

    There is no windows folder in Sources folder…..There is only panther folder.What to do ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 2, 2015 at 8:56 am

      The download did not complete successfully then which means you can only restart it.

  34. Igor Rückert said on August 1, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Can I use the file Install.esd in $WINDOWS.~BT folder to create a installation media? I’ve already upgraded to Windows 10 and the install files are still in this folder. I’m asking this ’cause I have slow connection and don’t want to download all the files again with Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool.

  35. Bassi said on August 1, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Hello Martin There is only panther folder ,,No windows folder exists in Sources folder——Can you guide some…Please

    1. Ayush said on December 19, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      I need the same help

      1. Manfredo Juarez said on March 8, 2016 at 5:15 pm

        same problemo

  36. vasanth said on August 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Martin,I have a file named BITFA54.tmp in the $Windows.~WS folder, I dont know how to further resume my download. can u help me?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      There does not seem to be an option right now to resume the download itself. I’m not sure why Microsoft made the decision to not support resume.

  37. JM said on August 1, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    hey there, i dont have a setupprep.exe file, but i saw a setupresume.exe file, and it was under $WINDOWS.~BT folder, would this file do the same trick?? TIA

  38. almi said on August 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    hi martin, i cannot find setupprep.exe in that folder, how should i do? is there any other method

    1. Deepak said on August 2, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      Actually that means your media creation tool have not completed downloading all files. There should be a file with extension .tmp in C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources. Use Proxifier software to have a track on network usage and downloads. It will show you svchost.exe is using your network which is responsible for downloading file for media creation tool. From there you can confirm that your download is still under process. Wait till the svchost.exe to dissappear in connection tab in Proxifier and check folder again.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on August 1, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      I’m not aware of another method unfortunately.

  39. JK said on August 1, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Thank you for this great tip. Actually I was facing this issue. I have selected the upgrade option, but I want to create ISO file. Is there any way without downloading again.

  40. Peter said on August 1, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Hi Martin
    AS well as : $WINDOWS.~BT and $Windows.~WS. is it safe to delete Windows.old ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 1, 2015 at 7:36 am

      You should only delete it if you don’t play on downgrading. If you remove the folder, using Disk Cleanup, then you cannot restore the older version of Windows anymore.

  41. Anubhav said on August 1, 2015 at 3:20 am

    There is no folder named windows.
    my downloading stopped at 44%.

    1. Lisa said on August 12, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Mine doesn’t show a Windows folder either.

      1. Shakir said on May 28, 2017 at 10:46 am

        yes i too am having this problem

        instead of showing a windows folder inside sources ,it shows a folder named panther.
        help me if you get a solution.

  42. jimp said on July 31, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    The $WINDOWS.~BT and $Windows.~WS folders are left on the computer after the media creation ends.
    The $Windows.~WS folder had a lot of files in it and is nearly 6 GB.
    Can the folders be safely removed?

    1. DVD Rambo said on July 31, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      They can be deleted using the Disk Cleanup Utility. After starting it click on the box that says “Clean up system files”. When the list comes up, check all boxes that have data listed. Scroll down to make sure you get them all. Once you give the OK, give it some time to complete. I ran it about an hour ago as I’m satisfied with Windows 10, as an upgrade from 8.1, and don’t plan to roll it back, ever.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 31, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Yes, if you have created the media and don’t plan on creating a second one, you can remove them.

      1. david said on August 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm

        i used the toolit left only one folder $WINDOWS.~BT.it is 9,8 gigs.is this normal?

  43. jonas said on July 31, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    i did encounter this problem. thank you for this tip.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.