How to avoid problems installing Windows 11 23H2

If you plan to upgrade to Windows 11 23H2, use these tips to avoid problems during the installation process whether you're coming from version 22H2, 21H2, or Windows 10.

Windows 11 23H2 problems
Windows 11 23H2 problems
  • To avoid problems installing Windows 11 23H2, use “Windows Update” to upgrade, backup your system, free up space to prevent unwanted storage issues, repair the current setup before upgrading, remove update blocks, uninstall non-essential apps temporarily, create an inventory of the settings, disconnect non-essential peripherals, fix upgrade errors, or upgrade manually.

UPDATED 10/16/2023: Windows 11 23H2 is the second feature update of the operating system that is expected to start rolling out to compatible devices during the fourth quarter of 2023. Although the new version will be available as a cumulative update (meaning no reinstallation is required), a complete reinstallation may be necessary if you’ll be upgrading from the original release or older versions, such as Windows 10. As a result, you want to prepare ahead to avoid problems and errors before the installation.

Although you should always upgrade to a newer version of Windows 11 to maintain support, improve security, and access the new features, the installation can result in unwanted problems. In addition, unexpected errors and bugs are expected during the early days of a new version release, as the development process of an entire operating system that runs on millions of hardware configurations is always challenging.

In this guide, I will teach you several tips that, in my experience, will help you avoid problems and errors while installing Windows 11 23H2.

Important: On October 10, 2023, Microsoft released the update KB5031354 that installs most of the features expected to arrive on version 23H2. However, the system will continue to show version 22H2 on the “About” settings page. Once Microsoft completes this rollout, at a later time, before the end of 2023, another update will become available to finish deploying the rest of the feature update and switch the system from version 22H2 to 23H2. After this point, the company is expected to update the Media Creation Tool, Installation Assistant, and ISO file. Also, devices with older releases of the operating system may be able to update directly to version 23H2 from Windows Update.

Install Windows 11 23H2 through Windows Update

If you’ll be updating from version 22H2 to 23H2, the recommended method is using the Windows Update settings. Any other method you use will trigger a full reinstallation of the operating system. 

Usually, you shouldn’t rush the upgrade during the early days of a release because it may not still be fully compatible with all hardware and software configurations. This is a known fact, and it’s one of the reasons Microsoft releases feature updates gradually.

If you want to upgrade with Windows Update as soon as the Windows 11 2023 Update is ready, open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, turn on the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” toggle switch, and click the “Check for updates” button. Click the “Download and install” button (if applicable).

Windows 11 update settings
Windows 11 update settings

If your laptop or desktop computer isn’t downloading the new version, the update may not be ready for you. You can use alternative ways to upgrade, including the “Installation Assistant,” ISO file, or USB bootable media. However, you will likely run into issues if the update is not already available through Windows Update. (Also, you shouldn’t try to upgrade before the feature update is officially available, as the tools will not install the newest version.)

As a rule of thumb, it is best to wait several months before upgrading to avoid errors and other problems. However, since the release will be available as a regular cumulative update, it won’t be possible to defer the installation for devices already running version 22H2.

If you cannot wait, check out the tips below to minimize issues trying to install the new Windows experience.

Backup current system and files

If you plan to upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 from the original version, it’s best to perform a full backup of the computer since it can help recover files or the entire system in case of problems during or after the installation.

Windows 11 full backup
Windows 11 full backup

At least you should create a file backup to protect your pictures, videos, and other files.

Avoid storage problems during Windows 11 23H2 upgrade

Reserved Storage is a system feature that sets aside part of the available storage in advance to process update installations. However, you may still come across storage problems trying to complete the Windows 11 23H2 upgrade, even when the feature is enabled, such as error 0x80070070 – 0x50011, 0x80070070 – 0x50012, or 0x80070070 – 0x60000.

Storage issues are common on computers with limited hard drive capacity. Checking and making sure that the device has at least 64GB of available space will help to prevent issues during the download and installation process of the feature update.

Windows 11 cleanup recommendations
Windows 11 cleanup recommendations

If the device does not have enough space, Windows 11 offers different ways to free up drive space. It’s also possible to connect an empty USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage space that the system can use as temporary storage to perform the upgrade.

Repair Windows Update to download Windows 11 23H2

When a new version of Windows 11 becomes available, it could take several weeks before it becomes available for your device. However, sometimes, the problem could be a problem with Windows Update.

If the computer isn’t receiving the feature update because of an issue with Windows Update, you can reset the system components to resolve stuck updates trying to download. If you cannot fix the problem, the “Installation Assistant” tool could be an alternative approach to installing version 23H2 after it becomes available.

Remove blocks to download Windows 11 23H2

A metered connection will prevent updates from downloading on your device. If you have a wired or wireless connection configured as metered, you have to disable the feature to remove the block from Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi (or Ethernet), selecting the network and disabling the “Set as metered connection” toggle switch.

Windows 11 metered connection
Windows 11 metered connection

Uninstall non-essential apps to prevent problems

Sometimes, third-party security software could cause problems during the upgrade process. If you have a third-party antivirus or other security software, it’s best to disable or temporarily uninstall them before upgrading to Windows 11 23H2. In addition, programs designed for older versions of the operating system can cause problems. If you suspect a program may be causing compatibility issues, try to uninstall it. You can reinstall it after the installation.

You can uninstall apps on Windows 11 from Settings > Apps > Installed apps, click the “Uninstall” button for the app to remove, and follow the on-screen directions (if applicable).

Windows 11 uninstall conflicting apps
Windows 11 uninstall conflicting apps

Prevent settings problems after installing Windows 11 23H2

The upgrade process to a new version of Windows 11 can cause unexpected changes to some of your settings, such as default apps, privacy settings, and others. If you use a custom configuration, note the settings before installing the Windows 11 2023 Update. If something changes during the upgrade, you can bring the settings back.

Windows 11 Settings app
Windows 11 Settings app

Disconnect non-essential peripherals to avoid problems

Storage devices (such as USB flash drives and external hard drives), cameras, and printers are sometimes responsible for errors and other issues during an installation. Typically, it’s recommended to disconnect the peripherals to avoid problems upgrading to version 23H2. You only need a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and internet connection.

Bluetooth devices can also cause issues. If you have a device using this wireless technology, disable it before upgrading from Settings > Bluetooth & devices and turn off the “Bluetooth” toggle switch.

Fix Windows 11 23H2 upgrade errors

Typically, the device is having an issue. Other computers may be experiencing the same problem. You should research the error online to determine if other people have the same problem and the workaround they are using.

Microsoft makes available information, status, and possible solutions for problems in the Windows 11 health dashboard.

Aside from unexpected errors and bugs with Windows 11 23H2, you can encounter many known problems that are 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 driver error.

The error 0xC1900208 – 0x4000C means an app is incompatible with the upgrade. 0x80070070 – 0x50011 (0x50012 or 0x60000) is another common error, and it typically means insufficient space to complete the update.

Upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 manually

If the troubleshooting steps point out a problem with the current setup or hardware and not something from the feature update, the best way to minimize issues is to perform a clean installation of Windows 11, reconfigure the settings, reinstall the apps, and restore the files from the backup.

You can also try an in-place upgrade that will preserve your apps, settings, and files. The process is straightforward. You will have to mount the official ISO of Windows 11 and launch the setup wizard.

If you upgrade to version 23H2, but the update causes problems, you can uninstall the feature update from Settings > Windows Update > Update history > Uninstall updates and uninstall the update marked as the Windows 11 version 23H2 or Windows 11 2023 Update, and you will have to block the update manually to prevent the system from reinstalling it again.

In the case that you upgrade from a previous version, such as Windows 10, then you will need to use the “Recovery” settings.

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 15 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 21 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].