Force upgrade

How to disable safeguard hold to install new versions of Windows 10

You can install Windows 10 21H1 even if the device isn't compatible, but you need to enable the feature manually – here's how.

Windows 10 21H1 disable safeguard hold

Windows 10 allows you to bypass the safeguard hold that may prevent the device from downloading and installing a new feature update, and here’s how to use the option. When a new version of the operating system releases, it may still contain bugs, errors, and other known issues that can negatively affect the user experience. However, since these problems usually affect a small fraction of computers, Microsoft will still proceed with the rollout, but it will place a safeguard hold to temporarily block affected devices from getting the new version. Once the issue is fixed and verified, the safeguard hold is lifted, and the new version of Windows 10 (such as version 21H1, May 2021 Update) will then become available through the Windows Update settings.

While it is recommended not to upgrade until your computer is fully compatible, Windows 10 includes the Disable Safeguards for Feature Updates option to install a new feature update bypassing the block.

The option can be enabled using the Group Policy Editor or Registry, and it will come in handy in many scenarios. For example, if it is been some time and the device is not getting the new version. You want to test the update on a spare computer before upgrading your primary device, or you cannot wait until the new version arrives automatically.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to disable the safeguard hold policy on Windows 10.

Warning: Installing a new version of Windows 10 when a known issue has been detected with your device hardware and software configuration can negatively affect your experience, and in some cases can cause data loss. It’s not recommended to follow these instructions unless you know what you’re doing and understand the risks.

Disable safeguard hold for feature updates using Group Policy

To disable the safeguard hold to upgrade Windows 10 to install version 21H1, use these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 10.

  2. Search for gpedit.msc, select the top result to open the Local Group Policy Editor.

  3. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business
  4. Double-click the Disable Safeguards for Feature Updates policy.

    Windows Update for Business
    Windows Update for Business
  5. Select the Enabled option.

    Disable safeguard for feature updates
    Disable safeguards for Feature Updates
  6. Click the Apply button.

  7. Click the OK button.

  8. Restart your computer.

Once you complete the steps, the compatibility block will be removed, and you’ll be able to use the Windows Update settings to download and install the October 2020 Update. (See also this video tutorial with the steps to disable the policy.)

After the installation, the policy will reset, and you will need to configure it again if your device has a compatibility hold during the next feature update rollout.

Disable safeguard hold for feature updates using Registry

To bypass the safeguard hold to install a new version of Windows 10 using the Registry, use these steps:

Warning: Changing the Registry can damage your Windows installation if it’s not done correctly. It’s assumed that you know what you’re doing and that you have previously created a full backup of your computer. Proceed with caution and use this as the last course of action.
  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for regedit, select the top result to open the Registry.

  3. Browse the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows
  4. Right-click the “WindowsUpdate” key, select the New submenu, as choose the DWORD (32-bit) Value option.

    Windows Update Registry
    Windows Update Registry
  5. Name the key DisableWUfBSafeguards and press enter.

  6. Double-click the newly created key and set its value from 0 to 1.

    DisableWUfBSafeguards
    DisableWUfBSafeguards
  7. Click the OK button.

  8. Restart your computer.

After you complete the steps, the option to install Windows 10 21H1 (May 2021 Update) will be available via the Windows Update settings when you are ready to upgrade.