Error 0xC0000260 when installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview: “Windows failed to start. Status: 0xc0000260, Info: An unexpected error has occurred.”

This behavior has been changed in Windows 8 Release Preview.  Instead, users are blocked from installing if the processor (CPU) doesn’t support PAE, and receive the error:

Your PC’s CPU isn’t compatible with Windows 8

Setup then rolls back to Windows 7.

*Updated* 5/31/2012



Whenever I try to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I get the following error:


Windows failed to start.  A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.  To fix the problem:
1. Insert your windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next".
3. Click "Repair your computer."
If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.

Status: 0xc0000260

Info: An unexpected error has occurred.


Before Windows 7 is reset, the Windows 8 Setup shows:  


“We couldn’t install Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  We’re not sure what happened, but we couldn’t finish installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  We’ve set your PC back to the way it was.”

To install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on your PC, the processor (CPU) needs to support Physical Address Extension (PAE).  Attempting to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on older processors that do not contain this feature will result in this error and will be incompatible with Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

If you are using a virtualization product to install a Windows 8 Consumer Preview virtual machine (VM) when you receive this error, you must enable PAE (or PAE-NX) in the virtualization product’s settings or configuration manager when setting up the Windows 8 virtual environment.
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Question Info

Last updated April 8, 2020 Views 11,489 Applies to: