How to avoid problems installing Windows 10 20H2, October 2020 Update

If you're planning to upgrade to Windows 10 20H2 (October 2020 Update), use these tips to prepare and avoid problems during the installation when it rolls out this fall.

Windows 10 20H2 install problems
Windows 10 20H2 install problems

Windows 10 20H2, October 2020 Update, is the tenth major refresh of the operating system available starting October 20. However, before you get started with the installation, you want to be prepared to avoid errors and problems.

Although it’s always recommended to install a new feature update to keep devices secure with the latest patches and take advantage of new features, the update process can sometimes bring up unwanted problems. In addition, during the early days, some errors and bugs are expected, as testing a new version of Windows 10 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 20H2.

Important: Windows 10 October 2020 Update will be available as a quality update with minor changes for computers already running the May 2020 Update. This means that the update process will not require full reinstallation, as a result, it’s likely that you won’t run into upgrade problems. Although this guide applies to any upgrade situation, these tips are more suited for devices coming from an older version of Windows 10 like version 1909, 1903, or older releases.

Install to October 2020 Update using Windows Update

Microsoft offers several methods to install a new version of Windows 10, but the safest method to upgrade is to manually start the process using the Windows Update settings. Usually, during the early days of a rollout, you don’t want to rush to upgrade, because feature updates aren’t fully compatible with every hardware configuration. This is a known problem, and it’s the reason Microsoft may block devices from getting the update to prevent problems.

In the case that your device isn’t getting the October 2020 Update, it’s likely that the update isn’t ready yet. Also, you can still use the “Update Assistant” or “Media Creation Tool” to force the upgrade, but if the update isn’t available through Windows Update first, then you’re most likely to run into issues.

If the update doesn’t include a fix or feature that you need, it’s recommended to wait several months before upgrading. If you can’t 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 full backup of your device is perhaps the most important step before installing Windows 10 20H2. You should always make the time to create a full backup before any 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

Typically, most upgrades will complete without problems, and Windows 10 includes a mechanism to rollback if there’s a problem during the setup, but it’s also recommended to create a backup in case something fails. Alternatively, you should at least make a copy of your personal files to an external drive or cloud service (such as OneDrive) before proceeding.

Avoid storage problems during Windows 10 upgrade

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

Storage is a common problem with devices with limited hard drive space. You can avoid problems by making sure that your device has at least 20GB of available space for the download and installation.

If the computer doesn’t have enough available space, use Settings to delete temporary and other unnecessary files. Alternatively, you can also 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

After the upgrade to the October 2020 Update, you can reclaim space using this guide.

Repair Windows Update to download Windows 10 20H2

Windows Update is a reliable system to download any kind of updates, but sometimes, it may not work as expected, and this could be the reason that the feature update isn’t downloading.

In the case that Windows Update has problems, you can reset its components to resolve stuck update trying to download. If you can’t fix the issue, you should use the “Update Assistant” tool to install the Windows 10 20H2 after it becomes available.

Remove blocks to download Windows 10 20H2 

In the case that the device has been configured to defer upgrades using Group Policy, it won’t download and install the October 2020 Update through Windows Update until you remove the block. You can refer to this guide to revert the changes.

A metered connection can also block the Windows 10 20H2 update from installing on the 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 problems

Security software can sometimes cause problems upgrading to a new feature update. If you’re running an antivirus (excluding Microsoft Defender Antivirus), or other security software, you should disable or temporarily uninstall them before upgrading to version 20H2.

You can uninstall security programs from Settings > Apps > Apps & features selecting 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 designed for older versions of the operating system can cause compatibility issues. Before installing the 20H2 update, it’s recommended to uninstall any software that may cause problems during the upgrade. You can always reinstall them at a later time.

Disconnect non-essential peripherals to avoid problems

Printers, cameras, storage media (such as, USB flash drives and external hard drives) connected to the computer can cause errors and other problems during the installation.

You can avoid a lot of problems installing Windows 10 20H2 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 recommended to disable it before the upgrade. You can complete this task on Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices, and turning off the Bluetooth toggle switch.

Prevent settings problems after installing Windows 10 20H2

There isn’t such as a thing as a perfect operating system or program, and Windows 10 isn’t an exception. Sometimes, during an upgrade, the setup may reset some of your preferred configurations, including default apps, privacy settings, and others. If you have spent a lot of time personalizing Windows 10 with custom settings, you should note the settings before installing the October 2020 Update, in case you need to perform some reconfiguration after the upgrade.

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

Fix Windows 10 20H2 upgrade errors

If even after taking all the necessary precautions, the installation of the Windows 10 October 2020 Update causes problem, you’re likely not the only one with the same issue. In this situation, you should research the error message online to find out if other people are having the same issue and if there’s a workaround. 

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

In addition to unexpected errors and bugs that could be hidden inside the Windows 10 20H2 update, there are a bunch of well-known problems (not considered bugs) that can occur during the upgrade process. For instance, 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.

If you’re having any kind of problems installing a feature update, you can contact Microsoft support directly or on Twitter @MicrosoftHelps

Install Windows 10 20H2 manually

If the 20H2 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 October 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].