How to avoid problems installing Windows 10 version 2004, May 2020 Update

Planning to upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004 (May 2020 Update)? Use these tips to prepare and avoid problems during the installation when it rolls out in spring.

Windows 10 version 2004 avoid problems during upgrade
Windows 10 version 2004 avoid problems during upgrade

Windows 10 version 2004, May 2020 Update, is the ninth major refresh that will become available for compatible devices starting on May 27, 2020. However, before you begin with installation, you want to be ready to avoid possible errors and problems.

Although it’s never recommended to skip a new version of Windows 10 as they’re important to maintain devices supported with the latest security improvements and to receive new features, these kind of updates aren’t those regular monthly updates. Windows 10 version 2004 is an entire new version that requires reinstallation, a process that can cause unwanted problems. In addition, during the early days, some errors and bugs are expected as testing new releases on every hardware configuration is very challenging.

In this guide, you’ll learn several tips to avoid problems and errors during the installation of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update.

Install only when arrives automatically

Microsoft provides a lot of different methods to install a new version of Windows 10. However, you can always minimize the chances of running into issues by waiting until you receive the notification to start the upgrade process manually through Windows Update.

Typically, during the early days, you don’t want to rush to upgrade, because feature updates aren’t fully compatible with every hardware configuration. This is something known, and it’s the reason that Microsoft may block your device from getting the update in purpose to prevent problems.

In the case that your device isn’t getting the May 2020 Update, there’s a good chance that the update isn’t yet ready for your hardware. Also, you can still use the “Media Creation Tool” or “Update Assistant” to force the upgrade, but if the option isn’t available through Windows Update first, then you’re most likely to see compatibility issues and errors.

If the new version doesn’t offer a fix or feature that you really need, it’s best to wait several months, or until it becomes available to organizations, which usually happens around every four months.

In the case that you don’t want to wait, use the tips below to minimize the chances of problems and errors trying to install the new feature update.

Create backup before upgrading

A backup plan is perhaps the most important step before installing a new version of Windows 10. You should always make the time to create a full backup of the current installation, settings, apps, and files in case you need to revert to a previous version if something goes wrong.

Windows 10 full backup utility
Windows 10 full backup utility

Although most upgrades will complete without problems, and Windows 10 includes mechanisms to safely rollback the changes if something isn’t working correctly, it’s recommended to create a backup in case something fails, or you should at least make a copy of your personal files to an external drive or a cloud service (such as OneDrive) before proceeding.

Avoid storage problems during Windows 10 upgrade

Windows 10 now ships with Reserved Storage, which is a feature that sets aside part of the system available storage for updates. However, there’s chances that you may see storage problems trying to complete an upgrade. If this happens, you’re likely to see several error messages, including 0x80070070 – 0x50011, 0x80070070 – 0x50012, or 0x80070070 – 0x60000.

Storage is a common problem on Windows 10 devices with limited hard drive space. You can avoid this problem by making sure your device has at least 20GB of available space for file download and installation.

If you don’t have enough free space, use the Settings app to delete temporary and other unnecessary files. Alternatively, you can connect an empty USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage space to use as temporary storage to perform the upgrade.

Windows 10 Storage Sense in version 1809
Windows 10 Storage Sense in version 1809

After the installation, you can reclaim space using this guide.

Repair Windows Update to download version 2004

Windows Update is a reliable system to download updates, but sometimes, it may not work as expected, and this could be the reason that the new feature update isn’t showing up for you.

If you’re dealing with Windows Update problems, you can reset its components to resolve stuck update trying to download and install. In the case that you can’t fix the issue, you should use the Update Assistant tool to install the Windows 10 spring 2020 update after it becomes available.

Remove blocks to allow version 2004 to install

If your computer has been configured to defer upgrades, it won’t download and install the version 2004 through Windows Update until you remove the block.

You can revert the previous changes on Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options, and make sure that under the “Choose when updates are installed” section, you set the number of days to defer feature updates to 0 (zero). Additionally, turn off the Pause Updates toggle switch if enabled.

If you used Group Policy to defer upgrades, you can refer to this guide to undo the changes.

A metered connection can also block the Windows 10 May 2020 Update from installing on your device. If you have your wireless or wired connection set as metered, you can remove the block on Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi (or Ethernet), select the network, and turn off the Set as metered connection toggle switch.

Disable metered network connection on Windows 10
Disable metered network connection on Windows 10

Uninstall non-essential apps to prevent upgrade problems

Security software sometimes are responsible for installations failure. If you’re running an antivirus (other than Microsoft Defender Antivirus), or other security software, you should disable or (temporarily) uninstall them before upgrading to version 2004.

You can uninstall security apps from Settings > Apps > Apps & features select the app, clicking the Uninstall button, and then following the on-screen directions.

Uninstall Windows 10 apps settings
Uninstall Windows 10 apps settings

Also, legacy applications created for older versions of the operating system can cause compatibility issues. It’s recommended to uninstall any software that may cause problems during the installation. (You can always reinstall them later.)

Disconnect non-essential peripherals can avoid many problems

Printers, cameras, especially storage media (for example, USB flash drives and external hard drives) connected to your device can be responsible for errors and other problems during installation.

You can avoid a lot of problems by disconnecting all the peripherals. You only need a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and an internet connection.

Bluetooth can sometimes be an issue, as such it’s a good idea to disable it before the upgrade. You can do this from Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices, and turn off the Bluetooth toggle switch.

Prevent settings problems after installing version 2004

No operating system or software is perfect, and Windows 10 isn’t an exception. Sometimes, during an upgrade, Windows 10 may “accidentaly” reset some of your settings, including default apps, privacy settings, and others. If you have spent a lot of time personalizing your system with custom configurations, you should note the settings before installing the May 2020 Update, in case you need to reconfigure after the upgrade.

Settings app homepage on Windows 10
Settings app homepage on Windows 10

Fix Windows 10 version 2004 upgrade errors

If even after preparing for the upgrade, you still come across errors, you’re likely not the only one. In this situation, the best you can do is to note the error message and search online for a workaround. 

If it’s a known problem, Microsoft will publish the issue, status, and possible mitigation on its Windows 10 health dashboard website.

In addition to unexpected errors and bugs that could be hidden on Windows 10 version 2004, there are a bunch of well-known problems (not considered bugs) that can occur during the upgrade process. For example, an error code that begins with 0xC1900101 (for example, 0xC1900101 – 0x20004, 0xC1900101 – 0x2000c, 0xC1900101 – 0x20017, 0xC1900101 – 0x30018, 0xC1900101 – 0x3000D, 0xC1900101 – 0x4000D, 0xC1900101 – 0x40017) is typically a device driver error.

If you see error 0xC1900208 – 0x4000C, then it means that an app is incompatible with the upgrade. 0x80070070 – 0x50011 (0x50012 or 0x60000) is another common error, and it typically means that there isn’t enough space on your device to complete the update.

When dealing with errors and other problems that you can’t seem to resolve, you can use the forums to seek answers. Alternatively, you can contact Microsoft support directly, or on Twitter @MicrosoftHelps. Also, if you live near a Microsoft Store, you can take your device to the store to see if anyone can help.

Install Windows 10 version 2004 manually

If the May 2020 Update doesn’t have any problems, the best way to prevent issues during an upgrade is to perform a clean installation of Windows 10 (refer to this guide), and then reinstall your apps, configure settings, and restore files from backup.

When the new version becomes available, instead of doing a clean installation, you can also try an in-place upgrade using the Media Creation Tool to preserve your apps, settings, and files.

To perform an in-place upgrade, download the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft, double-click the file to launch the tool, and use the Upgrade this PC now option. Then select the option to keep your files and apps, and continue with the on-screen directions. 

If you want to skip the Windows 10 2020 update, you can defer feature updates until a later time, or refer to this guide to roll back to the previous version.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].