It's a bumpy road for the Win10 version 2004 rollout

Microsoft’s been testing the “final” version of Win10 May 2020 Update - better known as version 2004 - for almost six months now. The number and nature of extant problems at this late date hits a new low, even by Microsoft’s standards.

Microsoft Windows 10 20H1 2004 April 2020 Update primary 2 adjusted
Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s revised-revised Windows 10 update scheme now entails a “major” release in the first half of the year, followed by a “minor” release in the second half of the year.

The 2020 “major” release - version 2004 - started rolling out a couple of weeks ago, and the problems we’re seeing could fill a book.

Microsoft lists 11 officially acknowledged Known Issues with version 2004. One of them, with the DISM command, has a manual workaround. But if your machine appears to be affected by any of the other 10, Windows Update shouldn’t offer version 2004 just yet - and Microsoft has stern warnings that you shouldn’t try to manually install 2004, if it doesn’t come through Windows Update.

None of the 11 Known issues were reported as problematic prior to the release.

Microsoft’s pushing out version 2004 at a leisurely rate - that’s good news for everybody. But the current hiccups make for sobering reading.

Confusion over the 'Update is on its way' message

Microsoft started showing “Update is on its way” messages all the way back when we were jumping from version 1809 to 1903. (See Mayank Parmar’s article from Windows Latest published last year.)

feature update to 2004 coming large Microsoft

The problem then, as now, is that the message has no specifics. While we’re told that “your device isn’t quite ready for it,” there’s no indication of why or how, or what can be done to make amends.

More than that, the message appears on some machines and not on others, and it’s not at all clear why it appears at all. On AskWoody, we’ve been looking at combinations of paused and deferred updates, drivers and hardware and software, and come up with bupkis

What’s painfully obvious: (1) If you see that message, you won’t be offered the version 2004 upgrade through Windows Update just yet; and (2) the message isn’t related to a specific set of deficiencies on your machine. Indeed, the message should say, “Windows isn’t ready for your computer,” instead of putting the shoe on the other, erroneous foot.

Searching for clues about the message, @abbodi86 came up with a startling discovery - it looks as if the message is controlled by the “UNP Campaign Manager,” WaaSMedic service, and/or WAAS Assessment/UpdateOrchestrator. Clicking Check for updates doesn’t make any difference, nor does clicking Resume updates.

Bottom line: If you don’t see the message, don’t worry about it. And if you do see the message, don’t worry about it either. Ahem.

Latest Surface PCs just don’t get it

A main contender for the most bizarre set of blocks: Microsoft won’t automatically update to version 2004 on its own Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 computers - won’t even offer it to “Download and install.” Here’s the official pronouncement:

Errors or unexpected restarts for some devices using Always On, Always Connected

Some devices using the Always On, Always Connected feature might have compatibility issues with Windows 10, version 2004 (the Windows 10 May 2020 Update). Affected devices will have more than one Always On, Always Connected capable network adapter, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, and might receive errors or unexpected shutdown or restart.

To safeguard your update experience, we have applied a compatibility hold on Windows 10 devices with affected drivers or firmware from being offered Windows 10, version 2004.

That’s not all.

Surface Book 3 owners get the standard, “The Windows 10 May 2020 Update is on its way” notice (the screenshot above), but no offer to upgrade. (Thx, @Barb) According to Mark Hachman at PCWorld, the same notification appears on the Surface Book 2. Version 2004 also doesn’t make the Windows Update grade on the Surface Pro X or Surface Studio 2. No upgrade is offered for any of them.

Those are all the latest versions of Microsoft’s own hardware.  If you want to upgrade to Win10 version 2004 on any of Microsoft’s latest machines, you have to go through a forced, manual install - which, explicitly, isn’t recommended.

Speaks volumes, eh?

Optane Oops

Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed it, but many people are reporting major problems with Win10 version 2004 running on PCs with Intel’s Optane memory. (Optane uses a special kind of memory chip that caches hard drives.)

Mayank Parmar on Windows Latest runs down dozens of complaints. He concludes:

During the update process, Windows 10 removes one Optane Memory Pinning file from the device, but it would still try to run it and this leads to multiple errors and even performance issues.

The article shows an error message triggered by 2004 that says, “Unable to load DLL ‘iaStorAfsServiceApi.dll.” He offers a manual workaround that hasn’t been endorsed - or even acknowledged - by Microsoft.

More problems

There’s a well-documented bug in the version 2004 upgrade that knocks out syncing between Outlook calendar and iCloud calendar.

Reddit has many complaints about bugs, specifically performance problems, Start menu lags, slow boots, corrupt user profiles, USB issues, Bluetooth problems, blue screens of various stripes, and the usual sound issues.

Most discouraging: Many of these problems were reported on the Feedback Hub, but apparently they fell on deaf ears.

If you hit a problem, be sure to tell us on AskWoody, and upload a Feedback Hub report.

It’s a big update - 4 GB - so it won’t go down easy over many connections.

At this point, all of the problems appear to be self-inflicted, although we’ve had some scattered reports that folks are being upgraded to Win10 version 2004 without clicking “Download and install.”

With the dearth of worthwhile new features and the ease of blocking the update, there’s no reason for “normal” Windows users to install Win10 version 2004 just yet. Sit back and wait until the dust clears. 

Join us as we watch the front lines on

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