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

Posted on September 20, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 26 Comments

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.

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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Comments (31)

31 responses to “Tip: Install Windows 10 Version 20H2 Right Now (Updated)”

  1. StevenLayton

    Ive not really paid attention to 20H2, are there any standout features?

  2. kjb434

    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.

    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.

  3. atlantapaul

    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.

  4. unit682

    Thanks Paul, I was on 2004, it took 5 minutes to update.

  5. Scott Shingleton

    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.

    • eric_rasmussen

      In reply to Scott_Shingleton:

      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.

      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. ?

  6. Username

    ”Tip:” should read “WARNING:”

  7. Martin Sjöholm

    Is there any reason to actually install this? Except if you think breaking WSL is exciting?

  8. bbold

    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.


    • epguy40

      In reply to bbold:

      speaking of MS Surface devices, check out this blog from Ms Patch Lady Susan of the Askwoody site:


      and she starts off saying "So why can’t Surface devices have the absolute BEST patching experience EVER?"

      you might also want to read Susan's recent blog, Mr. Paul Thurrott

  9. SRLRacing

    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.

    • LT1 Z51

      In reply to SRLRacing:

      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.

  10. johncon50

    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..."

    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?

  11. CajunMoses

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

  12. mike2thel73

    Paul,. Thank you for posting this.

  13. madthinus

    Here is solid tip: Don’t

  14. ngc224

    Great “scoop” Paul!

  15. beckoningeagle

    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.

  16. datameister

    I wonder when they'll get around to officially adding tabs to apps.

  17. a_seeker

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

  18. tarnishedtinman

    Thanks for the warning about WSL!

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