Tip: Install Windows 10 Version 20H2 Right Now (Updated)

UPDATE: Microsoft fixed the WSL 2 issue noted below, so there’s no reason not to get this release early now. –Paul

Now that Microsoft has finalized Windows 10 version 20H2 you can easily install it ahead of its general release to the public.

Doing so is mostly non-problematic: Windows 10 version 20H2 is a minor upgrade over its predecessor with no major new features, and if you already installed that version of Windows, you can be done with this entire process in under 20 minutes. There is, however, one reason you might not want to install 20H2 yet: If you are using Windows Subsystem with Linux (WSL) 2.0, there is a bug in the current 20H2 build that prevents it from working at the time of this writing. So wait until it’s fixed if you need WSL 2.0.

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Here’s how to upgrade immediately.

Open Settings (WINKEY + I)  and navigate to Update & Security > Windows Insider Program.

Click the Get Started button. As prompted, choose the Microsoft account to use.

Here, choose “Release Preview Channel” and then click Confirm. Then click Confirm again. And restart the PC as prompted.

When the PC reboots, navigate to Update & Security > Windows Update and click the Check for Updates button. You will see that the “feature update to Windows 10 version 20H2” is offered. Install any pending updates first. Then, click “Download and install.”

The feature update will download and install. If you are already using Windows 10 version 2004, this process will take just a few minutes. Click Restart now when prompted.

When the PC reboots, you will see that you are now using version 20H2. This can be seen in About Windows (winver) or in Settings > System > About.

Open Settings again and navigate to Update & Security > Windows Insider Program. Enable the option “Stop getting preview builds” to ensure that your PC automatically unenrolls from the Insider Program when this version of Windows is released to the public. You will continue to get serving updates on the normal schedule going forward regardless.

That’s it.

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Conversation 31 comments

  • StevenLayton

    20 September, 2020 - 1:39 pm

    <p>Ive not really paid attention to 20H2, are there any standout features? </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      20 September, 2020 - 1:48 pm

      There are not. 🙂

    • Matthew Santacroce (InnoTechLLC)

      20 September, 2020 - 3:23 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#577119">In reply to StevenLayton:</a></em></blockquote><p>I actually really like the start menu tweak. It looks good. I'm using it in Light theme. </p>

  • a_seeker

    Premium Member
    20 September, 2020 - 2:48 pm

    <p>Paul, I'm on the dev channel right now can I move to 20H2 without doing a complete reinstall?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      20 September, 2020 - 2:51 pm

      No, sorry.

  • datameister

    20 September, 2020 - 2:53 pm

    <p>I wonder when they'll get around to officially adding tabs to apps.</p>

  • beckoningeagle

    Premium Member
    20 September, 2020 - 3:27 pm

    <p>I keep reading about wsl 2. I have two different distributions using wsl 2 and it is working perfectly with 20H2. I wonder which circumstances trigger the problem. </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      20 September, 2020 - 5:37 pm

      It may be a new issue in the most recent build(s), not sure.

  • ngc224

    20 September, 2020 - 4:11 pm

    <p>Great “scoop” Paul!</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    20 September, 2020 - 4:23 pm

    <p>Here is solid tip: Don’t </p>

    • lwetzel

      Premium Member
      20 September, 2020 - 5:46 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#577211">In reply to madthinus:</a></em></blockquote><p>Why?</p>

      • madthinus

        Premium Member
        21 September, 2020 - 3:52 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#577277">In reply to lwetzel:</a></em></blockquote><p>It is coming in two weeks. Nothing in there you need. And joining the insider program to get it is just too much trouble. </p>

  • mike2thel73

    20 September, 2020 - 4:57 pm

    <p>Paul,. Thank you for posting this.</p>

  • CajunMoses

    20 September, 2020 - 5:28 pm

    <p>Don't Windows updates just "happen" without intervention and just transparently "exist" after a restart, just like on a Chromebook?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      20 September, 2020 - 5:36 pm

      You can’t get 20H2 right now unless you follow these steps.

  • johncon50

    20 September, 2020 - 11:02 pm

    <p>Is this new? "Diagnostic data must be set to Full to get preview beta". I get that one of switches does a system health check but the same switches also says "Send info about websites you browse and how you use apps and features…"</p><p><br></p><p>Excuse me, To get the Windows Insider Program running, you want to see what websites I browse? WTF. How is this related or necessary to my system and it's health?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      21 September, 2020 - 8:52 am

      No, that’s not new.

  • SRLRacing

    21 September, 2020 - 12:35 am

    <p>Nope not doing it. I am still trying to recover from the issues of 20H1. I am normally a seeker but in this case I will let it update me when it forces the restart.</p>

    • LT1 Z51

      Premium Member
      21 September, 2020 - 12:32 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#577396">In reply to SRLRacing:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree, I installed 20H1 and had to roll back, my PC become unusable. Never has this happened before. I now cringe waiting for the next update. I'm waiting for forced upgrades now, no longer will I go out and find them.</p>

  • bbold

    21 September, 2020 - 2:02 am

    <p>Strange.. my new Surface Pro 7 had a bug with the camera light staying on (right out of the box, no less), so I had to wipe it earlier today. Then I read this article and upgraded via the instructions, followed every step. When the first set of updates came across before 20H2 is downloaded, I got some error messages saying the updates couldn't be installed (after it restarted), then that disappeared and it said no updates were available aside from 20H2. I updated to 20H2 and it seemed smoothly after that. I'm unsure if I actually had an error or if that was a glitch of some kind? Unsure. Any way to check? At any rate, 20H2 is installed now, the camera light is staying off, and all seems fine. Thx for the tip! I did encounter a hiccup, though.</p><p><br></p><p>BB</p>

    • epguy40

      22 September, 2020 - 11:18 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#577399">In reply to bbold:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>speaking of MS Surface devices, check out this blog from Ms Patch Lady Susan of the Askwoody site:</p><p>www.askwoody.com/2020/patch-lady-why-cant-surface-devices-have-the-best-experience/</p><p>and she starts off saying "So why can’t Surface devices have the absolute BEST patching experience EVER?"</p><p><br></p><p>you might also want to read Susan's recent blog, Mr. Paul Thurrott</p>

  • Martin Sjöholm

    21 September, 2020 - 4:36 am

    <p>Is there any reason <em>to</em> actually install this? Except if you think breaking WSL is exciting?</p>

    • epguy40

      22 September, 2020 - 11:20 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#577402">In reply to RoundaboutSkid:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>check out this blog from Askwoody</p><p>www.askwoody.com/2020/windows-10-version-20h2-rolling-out-to-the-windows-insider-release-preview-channel/</p><p><br></p><p>but at least the defrag bug from 2004 is fixed in 20H2 starting with build 19042.508</p><p><br></p>

  • Username

    21 September, 2020 - 4:57 am

    <p>”Tip:” should read “WARNING:”</p>

  • Scott Shingleton

    Premium Member
    21 September, 2020 - 6:04 am

    <p>Here is a crazy thought, why doesn’t MS do something useful like adding tabs to file explorer, making it when I resume all of my apps don’t resize themselves, make the interface consistent, or really really crazy and make Windows not be a bloated slow mess? I feel like they concentrate on new icons and fixing new bugs at the end of the year introduced at the beginning. At this point I do everything I can to run on Linux or Mac OS. While I think that the stuff being done with Azure and Office is fantastic, it feels like Windows is a forgotten necessary evil for MS. </p>

    • eric_rasmussen

      Premium Member
      22 September, 2020 - 12:36 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#577438">In reply to Scott_Shingleton:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agreed, and it's frustrating to watch. I used a WIM editor to modify the Windows 10 installation media to eliminate things like the mobile games, Cortana, etc. The de-bloated version of Windows I have now feels a lot like an LTSC install but it still runs Office and Visual Studio just fine. I'm not sure why Windows 10 Professional is still filled with games and mobile apps.</p><p><br></p><p>The fact that they broke one of the big 2004 features (WSL 2) in 20H2 just goes to show that developers at Microsoft must also be using Linux or MacOS on their workstations. ?</p>

  • unit682

    Premium Member
    21 September, 2020 - 6:14 pm

    <p>Thanks Paul, I was on 2004, it took 5 minutes to update. </p>

    • kjb434

      Premium Member
      21 September, 2020 - 10:13 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#577685">In reply to Unit682:</a></em></blockquote><p>Same here, very quick install from 2004.</p>

  • atlantapaul

    Premium Member
    21 September, 2020 - 7:09 pm

    <p>Paul, it took me several weeks to diagnose and fix the many driver issues that I encountered in 2004. I will wait for several months before I upgrade to 20H2.</p>

  • kjb434

    Premium Member
    21 September, 2020 - 10:12 pm

    <p>Heads up, if you need for some reason to use the Legacy Edge browser, this install will break the previous work around. You will not be able to get it back.</p><p><br></p><p>I only need it for one use, Deltek Vision. Luckily old IE 11 works and by June next years my company is migrating away from this old software.</p><p><br></p>

  • tarnishedtinman

    22 September, 2020 - 12:34 pm

    <p>Thanks for the warning about WSL!</p>

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