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Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 May 2020 Update via Windows Update

The latest addition to Windows 10 is now available for qualifying and compatible computers as a Windows Update.


Image: ZDNet

Microsoft has begun pushing out the latest update to Windows 10 to more computers via the traditional Windows Update tool. On Tuesday, the company revised its status page for the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, aka version 2004, to indicate that the new edition would be available to devices running Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909. Prompting users to manually use the “Check for updates” option via Windows Updates, Microsoft said it’s increasing the number of devices that will be offered the May Update but that it’s continuing a measured approach on initial availability.

SEE: Cheat sheet: Windows 10 PowerToys (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

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If you use the built-in Windows Update tool and want the latest version, go to Settings and then select Update & Security. Click the button to Check for updates. You’ll typically receive one of three responses.

  1. If the May Update is not yet available for your computer, nothing will happen. You can still go directly to Microsoft’s Download Page for the update to download and install it manually. But given the issues already found in this update, you’re better off waiting.
  2. A description of the May Update may appear at the Windows Update screen but with a warning that your device isn’t quite ready for it. Clicking on the Learn More button takes you to Microsoft’s status page. But unless you’re looking to test the update on a spare PC or virtual machine, you’re best off waiting until your computer qualifies.
  3. If Microsoft has determined that your PC can handle the update, and you’re ready to try it, click the link to Download and Install. You’ll then want to leave your computer alone as the update will take a while to install.

In my testing, none of my production Windows 10 computers qualified for the update. Only two Windows 10 virtual machines were able to pick it up, most likely because they had no third-party apps or active peripheral devices.

As is true of any Windows 10 Update, the May 2020 package has been beset with a number of bugs and technical issues. One major issue that caused the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 to reboot unexpectedly has been resolved. But that leaves a range of other issues that Microsoft is still investigating, according to the status page.

The Windows 10 Update experience hasn’t exactly been a smooth one for Microsoft or for Windows users. Each update has arrived with its own set of bugs and issues, some more serious than others. Microsoft actually had to pause the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update after it triggered data loss on many PCs.

In some cases, past updates were rushed out the door without sufficient testing or bug mitigation, thereby introducing more problems than they fixed. Since the problem with the October 2018 Update, Microsoft has promised to track bugs more carefully and roll out each new semi-annual update in a measured and phased approach. Those are certainly steps in the right direction, but they can’t address the basic problem.

With so many Windows PCs around the world, Microsoft faces a huge challenge. Unlike a Mac, where the hardware and operating system are controlled by one company, a Windows computer is a queasy blend of disparate hardware and software from a range of manufacturers and developers. Trying to test for every possible permutation would be impossible.

As with each new update, your best option with the Windows 10 2004 May Update is to wait until most of the bugs have been squashed and then see if your PC qualifies. And before you update, make sure you’ve backed up your critical files and applications, just in case.

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