Windows 10 to Get Forced Feature Updates

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is to forcibly upgrade some computers running older versions of Windows 10. Only those on the Pro edition will be able to block the update.

It's a step up in Microsoft's campaign to keep people from using older Windows 10 versions. Until now it's mainly relied on dropping support and security fixes, the idea there being to scare people into making the upgrade. That's happening to version 1809 (released in late 2018) this week.

Microsoft is now turning its attention to computers running version 1903, released early last year. Version 1903 will officially lose security patch support on December 8, 2020.

Upgrade Depends On Compatibility

However, Microsoft will also attempt to upgrade these machines to a later edition, even if the user doesn't have automatic updates on. It appears it will try to install the latest edition that is compatible with the specific machine, which could be 1909, 2004 or 20H2. The first of these should be the least problematic as it brought comparatively few major changes.

It will then repeat the process by attempting to upgrade from version 1909 next May. That suggests an ongoing policy where it will try to stop any Windows computer getting two years behind with feature updates.

Windows Pro Lets You Say No

Windows Pro users can block these "forced" updates by changing an option using the Group Policy Editor. It also appears editing the Windows Registry could also block the update, though that's always something that carries risk. (Source:

It's also possible somebody will find the a way to cripple Windows in order to stop the updates, though that could be a game of cat and mouse.

TechRadar notes estimates that around 20 percent of Windows 10 computers are still running version 1903, so that likely means tens or even hundreds of million machines getting the forced update this month. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Should Microsoft make this move or leave it up to users when to update? Is the threat of removing security fixes enough to change people's behavior? How much control should users get over updates?

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jamies's picture

Definitely a bit late with the warning.
My Pro 2004 system notified me I have updates to be applied -
Security system update, and the WEDGE update - the one with no KB entry that installs the impossible to remove CRedge.
So accept the fixes, or get no more defender and security updates!

Reminds me of the banner panel "saying you have updates" that a few years ago used to appeared in the middle of the screen when a Pro user had stopped updates while they got on with work in a stable environment (well just known glitches)
MS support denied that was a microsoft action, stated it was malware as it would not allow any other action than accept (would not even select other windows or task manager), and with a Microsoft 'secure systems' £99 a year support contract I could have then fix it
Would I like their better malware checker put onto my USB backup drive NOW, they could download a vooting image reformatting it for me NOW!

Luckily I know to
1) maintain recovery images without the install at restart updates pending.

2) setup the favorites in IE into a structure within a single folder, so I can import that and in 1 action move it into the "Other favorites" folder where it presents in a similar manner to the taskbar toolbars rather than blocking the entire screen with overspaced large font representations of entries.

3) have a set of updates for 7 and all used MS software up to date, and the offline updater - so I can maintain a testbed version of the 7 environment - any malware and just redo the recovery from the image.

Basically, everyone using windows should by now have accepted that Micros_ft will be maintaining Micros_tf version of the incidence of their OS and apps on your PC - and you can like it or lump it, but you're getting it.

Reminds me of the tale of the bully who, due to his diminutive standing had to dominate everyone else to prove he was better than them.


nospam_5346's picture

Feature updates should always be optional. Not every user wants every “feature”.

Personally, I pretty much turn off or disable every “feature” since Widows XP. Don’t really have a use for them.

However, that points out the real issue. If you are going to force people to update features, you should at a minimum allow those features to be disabled. They make it impossible to do that for most of these so-called “features”.

OadbyPC's picture

So, effectively, Win10 v1903/1809 and previous have a shorter support period than Win8.1?

I cannot for the life of me comprehend MS giving away a free OS and then spending, presumably, $millions on "feature updates" that no-one wants or pays for?!? I could maybe understand it in the old days when my colleagues would complain about the Wintel upgrade cycle but what's in it for them now?

Would it not be much simpler for MS to have a very basic Win10 OS and just provide security updates which is just what most people seem to want? Win10 with no notepad, wordpad, games, media player etc etc and only 1 browser. They could still provide those as free software and then they would be no different to installing Office, Adobe Reader, Flash etc.

I would be really interested and grateful if anyone had any insight into what appears to me to be very poor marketing/decision making by MS.