Microsoft will enforce Windows 10 version 1903 upgrades because of end of support

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 7, 2020
Windows, Windows 10

Windows 10 version 1903 will reach end of support next month on December 8, 2020 for all supported editions of the operating system. The version of Windows 10 was released on May 21, 2019 and Microsoft has released three newer versions of Windows 10 since that date.

End of support means that Microsoft won't release security updates anymore for the version of Windows 10. Systems that are not updated may be vulnerable to security issues discovered after support for the version of Windows ends.

Windows administrators have two main options when it comes to the upgrades: Windows 10 version 1909 or Windows 10 version 2004/20H2. The first is a smaller update that should complete in a matter of minutes, the second a full update that will take longer. Downside to installing Windows 10 version 1909 is that it will run out of support in May 2021 if a Home or Pro edition is installed.

Enterprise and Education customers get 30 months of support for the second feature update of a year, while Home customers get only 18 months regardless of time of release.

windows 10 version 1903 end of support

Microsoft will enforce updates of systems that have run out of support or are about to run of support. A reminder was published to the Windows Message Center on November 6, 2020 about the upcoming end of support:

Reminder: End of service for Windows 10, version 1903 - December 8, 2020

All editions of Windows 10, version 1903 and Windows 10 Server, version 1903 will reach end of service on December 8, 2020. After this date, devices running these editions of Windows will no longer receive security updates. We recommend that you update these devices to a supported version as soon as possible to continue to receive monthly quality updates with security and non-security fixes.

The latest Ad Duplex stats have Windows 10 version 1903 listed as the third-most installed version of the operating system. Windows 10 version 2004 is placed first, Windows 10 version 1909 second. About a fifth of all installations are still on Windows 10 version 1903 according to the statistics. The statistics are collected by a third-party and may not be entirely accurate. Microsoft does not release information about the distribution of Windows 10 versions to the public.

Systems will be updated automatically using the built-in update functionality of the operating system if it is enabled and not blocked somehow. According to German site Dr. Windows, systems will be updated to version 1909 and not a newer version. The reason given is that it speeds up the updating process and that the update is less prone for causing issues.

Now you: do you use Windows 10? Which version are you on?

Microsoft will enforce Windows 10 version 1903 upgrades because of end of support
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Microsoft will enforce Windows 10 version 1903 upgrades because of end of support
Microsoft will start to enforce upgrades of devices running Windows 10 version 1903 because of the upcoming support end in December 2020.
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  1. plusminus_ said on November 8, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    I am not looking forward to moving from 1903 to be honest, but I am now wondering if I should choose 2004 at the end of support for 1903.

    Alternatively I could switch from Pro to Enterprise (there’s a guide on TenForums) and then upgrade to 1909 and stay on that for a while, but is there actually any benefit? Apart from not having to deal with all these feature updates so often >_>

  2. Mike442 said on November 8, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    IT Manager and IT Professional since 1984. Most of people’s problems stem from running old or outdated 3rd party software, or legacy outdated hardware. Upgrade. Optimize. Maintain. You’ll have fewer problems.

    1. w7 said on November 9, 2020 at 11:13 am

      You forgot to say the most important thing: Pay through the nose, whenever they say.

  3. Harold said on November 8, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Instead of WSL, how about Microsoft start helping Windows programs run well on Linux, if they really love Linux, as they say.

    1. Allwynd said on November 8, 2020 at 12:57 pm

      The opposite is more likely to happen and it’s already happening – Linux program running inside Windows and soon WSL will support GUI and eventually it will make Linux completely obsolete, since even Linux-specific software would be able to run in Windows.

  4. John C. said on November 8, 2020 at 9:44 am

    So far, all M$ Windows 10 updates have gone flawlessly for me on my fairly new laptop. However, the day that the process fails is the day that I will completely disable updating and failing that, will start looking for alternative operating systems. Of course, M$’s collusion with the hardware vendors has probably made that a serious PITA to accomplish.

    It’s time for another OS, not just Linux or some Apple version, to be developed as worthy competition to Microsoft’s Windows.

    1. kalmly said on November 8, 2020 at 3:32 pm

      Long overdue. I’ve given up hope.

  5. Anonymous said on November 8, 2020 at 5:42 am

    If “According to German site Dr. Windows, systems will be updated to version 1909 and not a newer version” is true, it shows that Microsoft is being reasonable about the update process.

    It is the uncertainty of the process that is most upsetting.

  6. RIP Terry Davis said on November 8, 2020 at 5:30 am

    “What’s reality? I don’t know. When my bird was looking at my computer monitor I thought “That bird has no idea what he’s looking at.” And yet what does the bird do? Does he panic? No, he can’t really panic, he just does the best he can. Is he able to live in a world where he’s so ignorant? Well, he doesn’t really have a choice. The bird is okay even though he doesn’t understand the world. You’re that bird looking at the monitor, and you’re thinking to yourself, I can figure this out. Maybe you have some bird ideas. Maybe that’s the best you can do.”

    – Terry Davis

  7. Joseph Mann said on November 7, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    My 1909 Home on a metered connection tried to force an update to 2004 yesterday. (I manually updated it to 20H2 instead.)

  8. Steve said on November 7, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Microsoft are trying to do that on my no-longer-supported Intel Atom processor. First the device downloads 2+bg of update. The it tries to install. Then it fails telling me what I already know – the processor is no longer supported. After that it repeats the entire failing process and repeats, and repeats… Yet another Microsoft SNAFU!

    It is just as well I have unlimited broadband and the only job required of the outdated, slow device is casting to TV, which it continues to do adequately.

    1. Steve said on November 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm

      Neglected to mention, Microsoft also stranded me on the ‘S’ version for this device. It is easy to switch off internet to install programs but that doesn’t cure the fact that it is an annoyance.

  9. Monro said on November 7, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Every time it goes ahead in stalls 2004 my laptop doesn’t reboot, reinstall 1903 all is fine, then forces itself to 2004 and no reboot. I’m not microsoft’s IT support. I am a user. Don’t tell me to registry this, change that, I didn’t ask for any of it. Wish it was on Win 7.

  10. Alex said on November 7, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    I have attempted to update to 1909 several times, and each time it completely killed the search in the file explorer. They say that that problem has been fixed, but it never got fixed for me.

    1. sorryno said on November 8, 2020 at 12:57 pm

      Or just use a good tool, like everything from voidtools.

    2. Allwynd said on November 8, 2020 at 12:50 pm

      Why not just update beyond 1909, like 2004 or 20H2? Why just focus on 1909 which is already outdated?

    3. Anonymous said on November 7, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      Use LTSC and you won’t have to suffer anymore. None of Microsoft useless features are present for now.

      1. Yuliya said on November 9, 2020 at 3:42 pm

        I love LTSC 1809. Simply the best OS right now :3

  11. bevode said on November 7, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Me always the last version 2009

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