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How to block the Windows 10 May 2020 update, version 2004, from installing

Things change — sometimes for the better. There are two big changes in the Windows 10 world that come into focus with Windows 10 version 2004:

  • Updates now appear to run on a tick-tock model: The Windows 10 update in the first half of the year contains major changes; the update in the second half of the year holds only minor changes. Microsoft hasn’t committed to the new tick-tock model, but all evidence points in that direction.
  • Microsoft doesn’t cram a new version of Windows down your throat, like it used to. (Don’t get me started on the surprise! forced 1703 to 1709 upgrades.)

Windows 10 version 2004 continues in the same mode, but with an unusual difference. Instead of getting a full-fledged “tick’s” worth of changes, what we’re seeing is more of a whimper. In addition to the usual promises of faster and better, and maybe a Search that actually works, we’re also seeing a demotion (er, realignment) of Cortana, better Windows Subsystem for Linux, and Windows Hello working in Safe Mode. Be still my beating heart.

There’s a reason why: Microsoft has realigned the Windows 10 delivery schedule to sync up with Azure. Don’t ask me why: Tail, meet dog. In this particular case, the big new version of Windows 10 delivered in May 2020 was actually finalized in December 2019.

While we’re going through the usual crowdsourced beta testing, you should take these steps to make sure you aren’t accidentally swept up in an unwanted upgrade.

Step 1. What version are you running?

The method for blocking unwanted version upgrades varies greatly depending on which version of Windows 10 you’re running. To find out, click Start > Settings (the gear icon) > System, and on the left side at the bottom, click About.

You’ll see something like this screenshot.

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