Upgrade blocks are typically announced by Microsoft after it comes across compatibility issues in new Windows 10 feature updates and most of the time concern glitches affecting either the software or the hardware side of a device.
It’s no secret that driver compatibility has long been one of common causes of upgrade blocks, but because of the current implementation, a safeguard hold is possible only after the first wave of devices receive the feature update.
In other words, until the compatibility issues hit a number of devices, Microsoft can’t tell that certain computers might experience issues and therefore set an upgrade block.
That could change this year thanks to a new approach regarding drivers, as Microsoft will allow hardware partners (which then release drivers) to request blocks whenever they discover possible compatibility issues with new feature updates.
Microsoft explains in new guidance for partners that the upgrade block can stay in place for a maximum of 60 days, during which companies can resolve the issues they discovered.
60 days upgrade block
During this whole time, devices potentially affected by the problem won’t be offered the new feature update, albeit they will be allowed to install it with other methods, such as stand-alone ISO images.
Microsoft says the issues must directly impact the OS after the upgrade, and include (but are not limited to) driver crashes, BSODs, data loss, security issues, and connectivity problems.
“In order to ensure that end users have a good post-update experience, when a driver has a known incompatibility with a feature update, partners can request a temporary WU offer block (~30-60 days) so that Windows Update will not offer the feature update to devices running a driver version with a known incompatibility. The offer block will be removed once a partner has posted an updated driver (as Automatic and/or Dynamic) via Hardware Dev Center portal,” Microsoft explains.
The document also includes instructions for partners on how to request an upgrade block.
The next feature update for Windows 10 is 20H1, officially called version 2004, and it is projected to launch in the spring. Its development has reportedly been finalized in December.
When no compatibility issues are detected, feature updates show up in Windows Update