How to install the Windows 10 2004 update if it's blocked by a PC settings issue

The May 2020 Update for Windows 10 may resist installation but Microsoft offers a few workaround steps.

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Image: ZDNet

Trying to install the latest biannual update to Windows 10 is an experience often fraught with challenges and frustrations. You typically have to wait until the update is ready and approved as compatible with your machine. Even then, you may bump into certain obstacles during the update process. And that apparently is what's happening to a host of people trying to snag the latest Windows 10 Update.

SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)

As described in a Tuesday story from ZDNet, the Windows 2004 update is failing for a range of users because of some type of error regarding PC settings. The update presents itself through Windows Update, usually a sign that the PC is compatible and ready for the new version. The user is able to click the Download and Install button. The installation even kicks off without a glitch.

But then at around the 30% point, the install stops and displays a screen with the following message: "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10. Your PC settings aren't supported yet on this version of Windows 10. Microsoft is working to support your settings soon. No action is needed. Windows Update will offer this version of Windows 10 automatically when these settings are supported."

Tech journalist and Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott tweeted about this issue popping up on one of his computers. A user commenting on Reddit ran into the same error when trying to update a Home edition of Windows 10 version 2004 to the Pro edition. Plus, tech news site Techdows pointed to a conversation thread on Microsoft TechNet among people describing the same glitch.

For anyone who's striving to install Windows 10 2004 and is running into this problem, there are a few steps you can try, courtesy of Microsoft.

Update hardware drivers. At a thread about this issue at Microsoft's Q&A page, a Microsoft employee with the name of JennyFeng-MSFT advises users to first update their hardware drivers. You can do this by browsing to the website of your PC vendor, checking the model or serial number of your computer, and then running a manual search or automatic scan for the latest drivers. You want to make sure to update your display drivers as those appear to be the focus of the incompatibility.

Disable Core Isolation. The next step suggested by both JennyFeng-MSFT and a Microsoft support page published on May 27 is to temporarily disable Core Isolation, a feature that tries to protect against malware by isolating certain parts of the operating system. To do this, go to Settings and then Update & Security. Select Windows Security and click the Open Windows Security button. Click the setting for Device security and then the link for Core isolation details. Turn off the switch for Memory integrity if it's turned on. Then restart your computer.

Check for known issues. Next, JennyFeng-MSFT advises people who still have trouble updating to check the page listing known issues and notifications for Windows 10 2004. However, at this point, this page doesn't mention any issues relevant to the current update glitch.

However, the Microsoft support page offers a clue to the problem, stating that an incompatibility was found with certain display drivers and Windows 10 version 2004 when memory integrity protection is enabled. Another Microsoft support page, this one from March 5, also suggests that users should try updating their drivers first before disabling Core Isolation.

Microsoft has a less than stellar track record with its biannual Windows 10 updates. Past updates seemed to be rushed to Windows users without being fully tested or vetted. The company even had to pause the rollout of its Windows 10 October 2018 update after it led to data loss on many PCs. Since that debacle, Microsoft has promised to be more cautious with these updates, one reason it staggers the deployment and doesn't present the update unless a machine is considered compatible.

But the latest issue shows that glitches can occur even during the installation process after a PC has supposedly been OK'd for the update. And even if the update is successfully installed, certain bugs and problems can appear as Microsoft continues to troubleshoot and improve the update. All of this is why unless you're installing the Windows 10 2004 update for testing purposes on a non-production machine, you're best off waiting until Microsoft irons out more of its kinks.

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