Trying to Install Windows 10 for Free But Unable to Upgrade? Here Is Why
We have time and again shared how you can still install Windows 10 for absolutely free - the legit and official way - and update your Windows 7 or 8.1 machines ahead of the end of service deadline in January 2020. While Microsoft was supposed to stop offering Windows 10 for free in 2016, the upgrade offer continued to work as hinted by the software maker itself in a statement sent to me back in 2017.
Now that we have established the free Windows 10 upgrade offer does work, why then it seems to be not working for some users. Thank the upgrade blocks...
What are upgrade blocks and how to get past them to install Windows 10?
Microsoft puts what it calls compatibility, protective or safeguard blocks on almost every new Windows 10 version when it isn't playing nice with some driver/software. This affects not only those on older operating systems like Windows 7, but also those who are running previous versions of Windows 10 and are trying to install the latest edition. These blocks are removed once Microsoft or its OEM partners have addressed the issue.
If you are following this guide to install Windows 10 officially, you are probably going for the latest May 2019 Update (version 1903). For this particular version, here are the compatibility blocks that are still in place and may end up giving you "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" error messages. Some of these are only specific to devices that are already running an earlier version of Windows. If you are trying to install Windows 10 May 2019 Update, in most cases you can bypass these blocks by installing the latest version of an affected driver. More details in the following table.
Windows 10 1903 compatibility / protective holds
|Affected devices/drivers/software||Any workarounds?||Microsoft's advice | Notes|
|Intel Centrino 6205/6235 and Broadcom 802.11ac Wi-Fi cards on specific models of NEC devices||-||"Do not attempt to manually update until this issue has been resolved."|
|Some Surface Book 2 devices configured with Nvidia discrete graphics processing unit (dGPU)||Restart the device or select the Scan for hardware changes button in the Action menu or on the toolbar in Device Manager.||This won't affect Windows 10 upgrade as SB2 comes with W10 installed.|
|Older computers may experience loss of Wi-Fi connectivity due to an outdated Qualcomm driver.||Download and install an updated WiFi driver from your device manufacturer (OEM).||"Do not attempt to manually update [...] until a new driver has been installed."|
|Some driver versions for Bluetooth radios made by Realtek and Qualcomm.||For Qualcomm drivers, install a driver version greater than 10.0.1.11. For Realtek drivers, install a driver version greater than 1.5.1011.0.||"Until an updated driver has been installed, we recommend you do not attempt to manually update."|
|Issue with a range of Intel Display Audio device drivers that may result in higher than normal battery drain (intcdaud.sys, versions 10.25.0.3 through 10.25.0.8).||-||Wait for new drivers before installing Windows 10 version 1903.|
|Intel RealSense SR300 and Intel RealSense S200 cameras||Disable and re-enable the driver in Device Manager. BUT, this would only work until the next system restart.||Protective hold until the issue is resolved.|
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