Windows 10 V1803: Force update to V1903 – Part 1

[German]Short reminder for Windows 10 users who are still using older versions up to Windows 10 Version 1803. Be prepared that these machines will be upgraded to the Windows 10 May 2019 update. In addition, Windows Update will indicate when a machine is not ready for a feature update.


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I decided to write a separate blog post, although I had already mentioned the topic within the blog post News from Windows 10 V1903: Images, Rollout, Show-Stopper. Because there are some peculiarities that I noticed during a test.

Microsoft’s announcement and the background

In the blog post News from Windows 10 V1903: Images, Rollout, Show-Stopper it is mentioned that Microsoft has announced that they have now started to build and train the Machine Learning Process (ML).

We are now beginning to build and train the machine learning (ML) based rollout process to update devices running the April 2018 Update, and earlier versions of Windows 10, to ensure we can continue to service these devices and provide the latest updates, security updates and improvements.

This enables the AI-supported rollout of the feature update on machines with Windows 10 April 2018 Update (Version 1803) and earlier. This is to ensure that Microsoft can continue to maintain these devices and provide them with the latest updates, security updates, and enhancements. It won’t be clear to everyone what this means.

The information respectively the intension of Microsoft becomes clearer, if you have my older blog post Windows 10 May 2019 Update brings back Update control in mind. Microsoft had explained at that time that people should get more control when Windows 10 feature updates are installed. So you can delay the download and installation of the function updates by not clicking on the link within the Windows Update page.

Funktionsupdates ab Windows 10 Mai 2019 Update
(Control feature updates to Windows 10 Mai 2019 Update, Click to zoomn)

But there are two conditions, where this approach will not been offered to to users of older Windows 10 versions up to and including the V1803.


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  • In May 2019, Microsoft distributed updates for Windows 10 that enable the functionality to control updates during function updates. However, these were only provided for Windows 10 versions 1803 and 1809. I briefly outlined this in the blog post Windows 10 Updates KB4497934, KB4499183 (May 21, 2019).
  • There is a special condition regarding installation control of feature updates for machines with a Windows 10 build installed that has reached or will soon reach the end of support with updates. Microsoft will then automatically install the feature update on that machine (if it appears compatible). This is to ensure that the machine continues to receive security and quality updates.

The latter condition is true for Windows 10 up to version 1803. Version 1803 for Home/Pro will be dropped from support on November 12, 2019, see this Microsoft page. Older Windows 10 versions have already dropped out of support in Home and Pro.

No matter how you turn it around, the older Windows 10 versions up to version 1803 are now being planned by Microsoft for a forced upgrade to Windows 10 V1903 and will be updated as soon as possible. I had also explained this in the blog post Windows 10 V1803 threatens a forced update as of July 2019.

Note: This blog post apply only to Windows 10 Home and Pro machines managed via Windows Update. For Windows 10 Enterprise for Enterprise environments, different policies apply (versions also receive more than 18 months of support).

The user will be notified

However, Microsoft has also stated (see Windows 10 May 2019 Update brings back Update control) that users will be automatically notified when a feature update is available for the machine and is recommended by Microsoft.

The machine learning based distribution of the feature update to Windows 10 Version 1903 is intended to ensure, however, that it is only offered on machines if these are compatible. It is therefore possible that someone is using an older version of Windows 10 and still does not receive a feature update.

My experiences from a test

I tried to put an older test machine online, which still runs with an older build 1703 of Windows 10. It was noticeable that the feature update to version 1709 was displayed as a pending update, but with an installation error. Then, during the update search, the featureupdate to version 1803 was offered and installed without any issues after downloading and triggering a restart.

  • The frequently reported step-by-step upgrade to the next Windows 10 version (here version 1709) was therefore definitely skipped here. I got Windows 10 V1803 on the machine.
  • An option to go back to the previous Windows 10 version after upgrading was not available anymore.
  • I also noticed that the user accounts were not set up again after the upgrade, but were immediately ready for work.

I don’t know if this has been done for a long time. It was my last test machine with an older Windows 10 version. Also interesting is the behavior of Windows Update after upgrading to version 1803. After successfully upgrading to Windows 10 version 1803, the Windows Update page displayed the following warning that support for this system is about to end and Microsoft recommends updating to the latest version of Windows 10.

Windows 10 V1803: Hinweis auf Supportende
(Warning, that the support ends, Click to zoom)

On the system I had configured Automatic Updates via Group Policy -> Notify me before downloading and installing, but I specified that ‘pending updates shall not be downloaded and installed automatically’. Therefore the red warning ‘Some settings are managed by your organization.’ is shown within the above (German) screenshot.

When I switched the group policy in gpedit.msc to automatic installation and updated it with gpupdate /force, the red warning about managing some settings disappeared as expected. However, after a new update search, the following information was displayed on my German Windows 10.

Windows 10 V1803: Warnung vor auslaufendem Support
(Warning, Support ends, click to zoom)

There, Microsoft merely announces that it is in the process of ‘completing the latest update with interesting features and security enhancements’. The user is asked to check for updates to see if an update is available. However, a multiple search did not yield any further details about the upgrade.

So Microsoft doesn’t seem to have it that fast with the upgrade yet. Probably the parameters of the machine (which hasn’t been online for a long time) are now being prozessed by the machine learning program in the hope that it spits out a recommendation.

What if the machine is not compatible?

Also in this case the user will receive a notification as Bleeping Computer reported here (citing WindowsLatest). The user is informed that the feature update is available on Windows 10 Version 1903. But the machine is not yet ready for installation.

Update-Benachrichtigung inkompatible Maschine
(Update notification on non compatible machines, Source: Microsoft/Bleeping Computer, Click to zoom)

This is not yet the case on my test machine. Meanwhile German readers have sent me similar screenshots as shown above. Microsoft then has set an upgrade stopper for this system. Unfortunately there is no further information about exactly what it is the root causeto. If the user clicks on Learn more, he will only be redirected to the Windows 10 V1903 status page, where some update blocker are listed. But the affected user can’t find out, what the concrete reason is, that causes compatibility issues on his system.

Articles
Windows 10 V1803: Force update to V1903 – Part 1
Windows 10 up to V1803: Details for Upgrade to V1903  – Part 2

Similar articles:
Windows 10 May 2019 Update brings back Update control
Windows 10 V1803 threatens a forced update as of July 2019
News from Windows 10 V1903: Images, Rollout, Show-Stopper


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1 Response to Windows 10 V1803: Force update to V1903 – Part 1

  1. krzemien says:

    As I commented on your German version of the above – and I will defend it vehemently – it’s not ‘the machine that is not compatible’, it’s the ‘Windows 1903 that it’s not compatible with the machine’.

    My very own on-going experience dictates that the invite to get 1903 installed comes and goes kind-of on its own: I’ve seen all versions of the above now in the last month, with setup being ready for the last two weeks after a week or so when it disappeared completely, and now it changed to ‘not ready yet’ only yesterday evening.

    Of course nothing really changes on my PC, so the claim that it’s ‘machine that’s not ready for the OS ‘ is just highly misleading and unjustified.

    The only element that indeed might have contributed to this situation is updated (twice) Realtek audio driver – which (ironically) comes from MS servers themselves. Which then makes one think about intelligence, logic and reliability of the update process itself and the claims that it’s managed by some kind of AI monstrosity…

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