How (Not) to Upgrade to the Latest Windows 10 Version
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Microsoft is getting ready to release Windows 10 build 1803.

As with previous Windows 10 versions, it could take many months until this latest feature update, known as the Spring Creators Update, rolls out to your machine. If you’d like to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10 right now, follow this guide. Likewise, if you’d rather not upgrade, we’ll show you how to do that, too.

Which Version of Windows Do You Have?

First, find out which version of Windows you’re running right now.

If you’re running Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > System > About and check what it says under Windows Specifications.

Windows Specifications Edition Version

For a quick check that works on any version of Windows, press Windows + Q, type winver, and hit Enter.

Windows 10 winver

If you’re still on Windows 7 or 8, the only way to upgrade to Windows 10 now is to buy a copy and install it. Earlier this year, Microsoft closed the loophole that permitted a free Windows 10 upgrade You Can Still Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free! You Can Still Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free! It turns out you can still bag a free upgrade to Windows 10 -- and it doesn't involve the morally-questionable actions of other free upgrade methods. Read More .

How Not to Upgrade

Not upgrading to the latest version of Windows 10 is a sensible choice. You’ll maximize your time on a stable installation and avoid bugs. Whether you can temporarily delay the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update depends on your Windows edition.

Windows 10 Home

As a Home user, you can temporarily disable Windows Update 7 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 7 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 Windows Update keeps your system patched and safe. In Windows 10 you're at the mercy of Microsoft's schedule unless you know hidden settings and tweaks. So, keep Windows Update under control. Read More by setting your internet connection to metered.

Go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, select the network you’re connected to, and switch the slider under Set as metered connection to On. This path now also works for Ethernet connections. As soon as you connect to an unmetered Wi-Fi network or a LAN network, Windows Update will start downloading updates again.

Unfortunately, this is just a temporary workaround. Though it could take many weeks, you should prepare for the impending upgrade that Windows Update will eventually drop on you.

Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Business

If you’re on one of these Windows 10 editions, you have the luxury of temporarily deferring feature updates.

To pause updates completely for up to 7 days, head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options and under Pause Updates, move the slider into the On position. Note that once updates resume, you will have to install the latest updates before you can pause Windows Update again.

To defer updates, stay in the Advanced options window. Under Choose when updates are installed, you can pick Current Branch or Current Branch for Business and defer updates for up to 365 days.

Windows 10 Defer Updates

With the Spring Creators Update, the deferral options will move to the Group Policy Editor. Please check our article on how to temporarily pause Windows Update for details (linked above).

Prepare Your Windows 10 Upgrade

To upgrade to the Spring Creators Update, you should be on version 1709, also known as the Fall Creators Update. If that’s your Windows version, you’re good to go. Before you upgrade, however, check off these pre-installation To-Dos:

  1. Create a Windows recovery drive.
  2. Back up your product keys.
  3. Enable System Restore.
  4. Back up your important data.

With Windows, you never know what could go wrong. So be prepared and do your Windows housekeeping. You can read more in our article on what to do before you upgrade to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Do This Before Every Windows 10 Update or Installation Do This Before Every Windows 10 Update or Installation Windows 10 gets major updates twice a year, plus monthly updates. We show you what you should do before running Windows Update. Now Patch Tuesday can come! Read More .

Always Run the Latest Builds: Become a Windows Insider

As Windows Insider Be the First to Test New Windows 10 Builds as Windows Insider Be the First to Test New Windows 10 Builds as Windows Insider Windows Insiders are the first to test new Windows 10 builds. They are also the first to suffer from bugs. Here we show you how to join or leave the program and how to share... Read More , you’ll always run the latest Windows 10 builds. It’s the fast lane to new features, but you also risk facing countless bugs and problems with the operating system. Are you up for the challenge?

How to Join the Windows Insider Program

To become a Windows Insider, you have to go through the following steps:

  1. Sign up for the Windows Insider Program. You’ll need a Microsoft account.
  2. Make sure you sign into Windows using your Microsoft account The Pros and Cons of Using a Microsoft Account with Windows The Pros and Cons of Using a Microsoft Account with Windows A single Microsoft Account allows you to log into a wide range of Microsoft services and apps. We show you the pros and cons of using a Microsoft Account with Windows. Read More : Go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Your info to change how you sign in.
  3. Enroll your Windows 10 computer: Go to Start > Settings > Update & Seurity > Windows Insider Program > Get started to opt in.

You’ll have to link your Microsoft account and choose a Windows Update branch Windows 10 Update and Servicing Branches Explained Windows 10 Update and Servicing Branches Explained Every Windows 10 build passes through several stages of testing and updates. We show you your position in this chain. The complexity may surprise you. Read More . We recommend the slow ring.

Twice a year, when the Windows Insider build aligns with the latest build that Microsoft is rolling out to the public (the RTM build), you’ll be able to exit the Insider program without having to reinstall. When that’s the case, head to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program and click Stop Insider Preview builds.

Windows 10 Stop Insider Preview Builds

Upgrade to the Latest Stable Release of Windows 10

Being a Windows Insider means you’ll often run buggy versions of Windows 10. The safe choice is to wait for a stable release of Windows 10 and use one of the following upgrade routes.

Upgrade to Windows 10 Version 1803 via Windows Update

When your computer is ready to upgrade, you’ll receive the Spring Creators Update through Windows Update. It’s worth being patient. If Microsoft doesn’t have reliable data for your hardware or if Insiders with your specs experienced lots of issues, the update may not roll out to your system for some time.

To check whether you’re ready to upgrade, head to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates. Once the upgrade has downloaded, you’ll see it listed here.

Windows 10 Check for Updates

Before you can upgrade to a new build, however, you’ll have to install any pending security updates. Make sure you didn’t pause or defer feature updates under Advanced options.

Manually Install Windows 10 Using the Media Creation Tool

If Windows Update doesn’t think it’s your turn yet, you can force the upgrade using Microsoft’s Windows 10 Media Creation Tool (open this link in Microsoft Edge).

You can click the Update now link to launch the Update Assistant and initiate the upgrade directly from the website.

Windows 10 Manual Installation

Or click Download tool now to prepare Windows 10 installation media How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media Regardless of how you arrived at Windows 10, there's a way to create your own installation media. Sooner or later you might need it. Let us show you how to be prepared. Read More for a clean install.

Please refer to the article linked in the previous paragraph for a step-by-step guide to using the Windows 10 Media Creation tool.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Should You Upgrade?

It depends on which version of Windows you’re currently using. Generally, Microsoft will stop supporting each Windows 10 version 18 months after its initial release.

Windows 10 Life Cycle

Windows 10 Home, Version 1703 or 1709

You should wait until the upgrade is available through Windows Update. And even then, it’s safer to defer the feature update and wait a little longer until Microsoft has fixed common bugs The Complete Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Troubleshooting Guide The Complete Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Troubleshooting Guide Have you run into a Windows 10 Fall Creators Update bug? You found the right place to look for fixes. Here are the solutions for the most common problems. Read More . Although you can roll back to your previous Windows version 3 Ways to Downgrade Windows 10 & Rollback to Windows 7 or 8.1 Indefinitely 3 Ways to Downgrade Windows 10 & Rollback to Windows 7 or 8.1 Indefinitely You've either upgraded to Windows 10 to secure a free copy or were upgraded forcefully. We share three tricks that will help you downgrade now or later and save you if your upgrade failed. Read More for 10 days (previously 30 days), it’s not worth the hassle.

Moreover, if you’re presently running the Windows 10 Creators or Fall Creators Update, you’ll continue to receive security patches until October 2018 and April 2019, respectively. There’s no rush to update right now, so take your time.

Windows 10 Home, Version 1607, 1511, or 1507

The only time you should upgrade is when support for your current Windows 10 version ends This Happens When Windows 10 Support Ends This Happens When Windows 10 Support Ends The original version of Windows 10 is not supported by Microsoft anymore. Here's everything you need to know about the Windows lifecycle, including how you can upgrade and stay secure. Read More . But this won’t happen for many years.

The original Windows 10 release, version 1507, and the Fall Update, version 1511, reached their end of service last year. If you’re still running one of these versions, you’re no longer receiving security patches and should upgrade immediately.

Likewise, the Anniversary Update, version 1607, will lose support in April 2018. On April 10, it will receive one last set of security updates. If that’s your Windows version, you should upgrade as soon as possible. If your machine supports the Spring Creators Update, we’d recommend waiting for its release and then upgrading manually, as described above.

Should you be stuck on the Anniversary Update because your machine can’t upgrade, there’s a silver lining! For systems that see a “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC” error while trying to upgrade, Microsoft has extended support until 2023.

Microsoft introduced this exception for PCs using Intel’s Clover Trail processor, but it might extend to other unsupported hardware as well.

To keep our customers secure, we will provide security updates to these specific devices running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update until January of 2023, which aligns with the original Windows 8.1 extended support period.

Windows 10 Enterprise and Education Editions

Windows 10 Enterprise and Education users can add an additional six months to the dates above. Microsoft writes:

Windows 10 version 1511, 1607, 1703 and 1709 will continue to receive monthly servicing updates at no-cost for a period of 6 months past the end of service dates. The security-only updates are available through all normal channels including: Windows Update (WU/WUfB), WSUS, the Update Catalog, and enterprise management solutions and are delivered as standard cumulative update packages.

Some versions of Enterprise and Education editions will have an option for an additional paid extension for eligible volume licensing customers. Customers should reach out to their Microsoft account team for more information about a paid program.

Welcome to the Future of Windows

The good news is that the latest Windows 10 version will hijack your computer for only around 30 minutes. Microsoft has optimized the installation process and enabled many installation steps to run in the background. This means you can continue to use your machine for a lot longer before you have to restart.

Once you’ve successfully upgraded to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, double-check all your privacy-related settings 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately Microsoft made some questionable decisions with Windows 10. Some of its default settings should not be left alone. We show you how to improve privacy, conserve bandwidth, reduce distraction, and lots more. Read More and restore your preferences. You might also want to set up or disable new features.

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  1. Pete
    November 21, 2017 at 10:22 am

    The strapline on the email for this article states "Who wants to upgrade to a new, buggy version of Windows, anyhow?" . That states that the new version of Win 10 is buggy and implies it may cause problems. It is a disparaging statement.

    As you have presented absolutely no evidence to support this claim I feel that the rather sensationalist tone of the strapline is very poor journalism.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 21, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      Not sure which strapline you're talking about. While I did mention the risk of bugs in both the Insider Preview and newly released versions, I didn't open or promote the article with that kind of statement. Maybe it's how the article was presented on social media.

      That said, it's actually common knowledge by now that those "final" releases of new Windows 10 versions can cause issues. Even on those machines that Microsoft picked to be upgraded, but more likely on those not due for the upgrade yet.

      At the time of writing this article, for example, people who had upgraded to the Fall Creators Update were getting double logon screens. For others, the upgrade failed completely. And those were just two of many different bugs and issues. All the evidence is out there on various support forums, and the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update troubleshooting is subject of another article: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/windows-10-troubleshooting-guide/

  2. mike
    November 3, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Get Linux or a Mac, better choices all around.

  3. David Carlson
    November 3, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I give up... I'm in the process of switching over from Windows to Google Chrome. So far it has been wonderful...!!! No Updates, No convoluted procedures and so much more.
    Just bought a 14" Chromebook -- love it!!

  4. Vsem Yenovkian
    October 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    This is some good info. I never like to be one of the first ones to do any software upgrades...let the others deal with the early bugs and then I can install the version that's relatively bug-free.

    • Tina Sieber
      October 27, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      That's a wise choice, Vsem! Thank you for your feedback!