Windows 10 Please help! PC stuck on "Please insert external storage media and press OK" error message

smontoro14

New Member
I tried to update Windows 10 but I didn't have enough storage so it made me use a flash drive to complete the update. I restarted the computer when it was done, and now it's stuck on a "Please insert external storage media and press OK" error message. I press OK over and over again but nothing happens and the message doesn't go away. I can't get to the desktop. Anyone know how I can fix this?? It happened in the middle of a big project I've been working on =(. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

smontoro14

New Member
The flash drive is not currently inserted. Earlier I inserted the flash drive to see if it would help. It did not help so I took it out.
 

patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Microsoft MVP
I assume that at the install some of the files required were save tothe flash drive and it is now trying to read them. Have you deleted anything from it since the install?
 

smontoro14

New Member
I assume that at the install some of the files required were save to the flash drive and it is now trying to read them. Have you deleted anything from it since the install?
I haven't deleted anything new from the flash drive, but I did delete some programs from the computer once it showed that the update had completed.
 

patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Microsoft MVP
Try downloading the windows 10 ISO from here: Download Windows 10 and use the media creation tool to create bootable windows 10 media which you can use to troubleshoot the problem either by booting into safe mode to run a system restore or by runnung a system repair.
 

patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Microsoft MVP
Yes, download the iso onto another pc, download and run the media creation tool and use it to create a bootable flash drive to boot win 10 from.
 

patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Microsoft MVP
If your pc is currently unbootable then you need some means of booting from other media in order to repair it or run a restore.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Yes, basically; but the Microsoft Media Creation Tool (MCT)that Pat mentioned will format (erase) EVERYTHING on that Flash Drive; so if there's anything on that flash drive you need, back it up elsewhere to an external hard drive or an online Cloud Storage account such as Microsoft OneDrive, GoogleDrive, or Dropbox.

If you're not sure how to do this, simply buy a brand new flash drive instead. Right out of the package insert the new flash drive into the 2nd computer's USB port, go to the link for the MCT tool and it will format you new flash drive and install a bootable image of W10 onto that flash drive which you can then install onto the original computer that's having a problem.
**WARNING: You'll need at least 50GB fee on that 2nd computer's hard drive, in order to create the MCT image which then gets copied onto the new flash drive. Additionally, the current W10 file image size is 9.3GB so you MUST HAVE AT LEAST A 16GB FLASH DRIVE IN ORDER TO CREATE THE W10 BOOTABLE MEDIA ON IT!! If you fail to do both these things, the MCT flash drive will NOT WORK!!
Many folks are not aware of these 2 requirements, and grab an 8GB or even a 4GB flash drive, whatever they have lying around in their office drawers; and for the most part it will not work.:noway: In 2-1/2 years of playing with W10, I was only able to create a W10 MCT flash drive image on an 8GB flash drive, one time, and haven't been able to repeat that since Microsoft's Anniversary Update release (v1607 b14393.x) in Aug. 2016.

However, the most important thing we can tell you to do is to be aware that W10 Updates are still glitchy and there is a very high risk that you can lose some or all of your Personal Data on that computer by attempting to re-do a failed W10 Update!!:eek: So, we recommend that you make sure to BACKUP ALL PERSONAL DATA FROM THIS COMPUTER PRIOR TO ATTEMPTING FURTHER HARDWARE TESTING OR SOFTWARE REPAIRS TO FIX YOUR FAILED W10 UPDATE IN ORDER TO AVOID IRRETRIEVABLE DATA LOSS!!!
This is imperative that you do this!! If you don't know how to do this, ask a friend or take your computer into a licensed Computer Professional and pay him to do it for you. Since the release of W10 July 29, 2015; over 90% of my Clients who attempt to repair a failed W10 update or W10 upgrade usually crash their computers, and wind up bringing them to me and have to pay me to fix them!!o_O If you must do this yourself because you can't afford a repair Tech, then at least take sensible precautions with your Personal Data. REMEMBER, ONE WRONG CLICK OF YOUR MOUSE--AND ALL YOUR STUFF CAN BE LOST!! :waah:

It's your choice.

Post back if you get stuck again, or need help with backing your data up to external media. We are here 24x7x365.

<<<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>>
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Yes, Pat's right on the money.:ohyea: A Mac won't work; however, some of our expert Techs have been able to create a W10 bootable flash drive with a 16GB drive using Mac Bootcamp or another virtual terminal type program on the Mac. But Macs vary widely, and unless you have a Mac with an Intel CPU processor in it to run the Windows emulator, I don't believe it will work.:andwhat:

<<<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>>
 

MikeHawthorne

Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Hi

Just want to be sure that you reinserted the flash drive before you turned on the computer.
Inserting it after the boot process starts probably won't work.

If you are going to have to reinstall Windows then create a boot-able disk, (I use UBUNTU) and use it to back up all your data first to be safe.

You don't want to lose the project you are working on if something goes wrong.

Mike
 

smontoro14

New Member
Thanks for all your help! I finally got my hands on a PC to try this on. I'm using an empty flash drive with more than 10 GB, however when I get to the point on the Microsoft Creation Tool where I need to select a USB flash drive, it says that it doesn't recognize any. Any idea why this might be happening?
 

patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Microsoft MVP
"More than 10GB" is a strange value for a flash drive capacity. It needs to be formated and empty to make bootable and 10GB doesn't sound like it's formatted. Some earlier pc's also have a problem booting from flash drives bigger than 4GB so it might be worth trying that capacity.
 

MikeHawthorne

Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Hi

If your computer has a DVD drive it might be easier to create a bootable DVD install disk.
Most computers come set up to boot from a DVD to start with so it shouldn't have any problem reading it.

Mike
 

Cazza

New Member
I tried to update Windows 10 but I didn't have enough storage so it made me use a flash drive to complete the update. I restarted the computer when it was done, and now it's stuck on a "Please insert external storage media and press OK" error message. I press OK over and over again but nothing happens and the message doesn't go away. I can't get to the desktop. Anyone know how I can fix this?? It happened in the middle of a big project I've been working on =(. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I know this is an old post but I’ve found a method (from another post by someone else) of
‘undoing changes made to your computer’ snd most importantly recovering important FILES.
You’ll need to download a Windows 10 media boot key onto an empty usb stick. You can do this on another PC directly from the Windows own page . Simply search ‘Windows media boot key ‘ on Google and select the one on actual Microsoft page

Do you have backups of important files & downloads? If not, try this...



(a) Insert the Win 10 Installation Media.

(b) Boot to it through UEFI/BIOS, using the Boot Menu key...

(Press & hold the key at the manufacturer's logo screen.)

On my Lenovo x220 I needed to press F12
The following website shows you Function keys egF12 for different computer manufacturers

Get access to BIOS settings & Boot Menu: F-keys/Hotkeys by System Manufacturer (OEM)

Get access to BIOS settings & Boot Menu: F-keys/Hotkeys by System Manufacturer (OEM)


(c) Click "Repair your computer" (instead of to install) at the media's 2nd screen (going by Carmack's memory). The computer will reboot to the Recovery Environment at the Choose an Optionscreen.



(d) Click "Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt".



(e) Type Notepad, & hit ENTER at the prompt.



Notepad will open in GUI mode. Click the File menu, & select Open. At its bottom right, set the Open requestor to "All Files". Now the requestor is a mini-File Explorer. Plug in a different external drive or USB drive, & copy important files over to it. Probably, you want to copy "C:\Users". There may also be a "C:\Windows.old\Users" folder to consider. Do not open any huge files in Notepad, just use it to copy them over.
Right click on your mouse or trackpad or plug in a mouse and click send to the external hard drive

After I copied the files over included a huge computer library (and checked I could load the files on another PC from the external drive ) I deleted the huge files ensuring at least 50GB free (I had 14gb free when Windows update failed)

(f) Close the Command Prompt with its "X", or type "Exit".

The computer will return to the "Choose an Option" screen.



(g) I guess try "Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Repair".

This worked and it rolled back

If not you may need to clean install Win 10 using the Installation Media but you’ll lose all your files so ensure you’ve copied everything off hard drive to external medium first
 
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