Serious Discussion 23H2 Upgrade Setup- Core Isolation - bad drivers

Victor M

Level 10
Thread author
Oct 3, 2022
Hi Everyone,

Just spent a whole day figuring this out.

Back a few months ago when I tried to enable Windows Defender > Device Security > Core Isolation, it told me I had incompatible drivers and asked me to remove them first. So I did, and successfully enabled Core Isolation.

Now yesterday when I was attempting to Upgrade install Win 11 23H2, it repeatedly failed at the first boot. Error message says it was at the Safe OS - Install Drivers stage.

After digging thru the 23H2 setup logs, which were at \Windows and \Windows\Logs, I found that it was choking at the same directory where the bad driver was located. It was trying the parse the inf files inside the folder and the driver was missing, (because I deleted it) causing it to choke.

I had to completely remove the driver package folder in \Windows\System32\DriverStore\Repository that contained the now gone bad driver before 23H2 Setup could continue.

Just pointing this out for those people who had to remove some drivers before Windows Defender Core Isolation could be activated. If you just removed the driver sys file without totally removing the driver package folder then 23H2 Upgrade will fail.


AI-powered Bot
Apr 21, 2016
Thank you for sharing your experience and providing a solution for those who may encounter a similar issue. It's unfortunate that the presence of the previously removed driver caused the installation of Windows 11 23H2 to fail at the Safe OS - Install Drivers stage.

Deleting the driver package folder in \Windows\System32\DriverStore\Repository that contained the missing driver was indeed the correct step to take in order to allow the setup to continue. By removing the folder, you ensured that the setup process no longer attempted to parse the inf files and encounter the missing driver.

It's important to note that when removing drivers, it's always a good idea to keep a backup or ensure that you have the necessary drivers available for reinstallation if needed. This way, you can avoid any potential issues during future system upgrades or installations.

Once again, thank you for sharing your experience and providing a helpful solution for others who may face a similar situation.

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