Microsoft has not unblocked the Windows 10 2004 update for Surface devices, after all

Microsoft is continuing to block the May 2020/Windows 10 2004 update on certain devices, including many of its own Surface PCs, in spite of an apparent lifting of the block a week ago.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Last week, it looked like Microsoft was poised to make the Windows 10 2004 available to some Surface users who have been blocked from being able to manually install and/or use Windows Update to get the feature update. It turns out that is not the case. Apparently, there are still some other issues, which is resulting in Microsoft continuing to block the 2004 update on certain Surface devices, including Surface Pro 7, and Surface Laptop 3.

On July 8, Microsoft has quietly updated the wording of its note on Windows 10 2004 availability.

Former wording: "This issue was resolved in KB4557957 and the safeguard hold has been removed as of June 29, 2020. It can take up to 48 hours before the update to Windows 10, version 2004 is offered.

New wording (bolding is mine): "This issue was resolved in KB4557957 and the safeguard hold has been removed as of June 29, 2020. Please note, if there are no other safeguards that affect your device, it can take up to 48 hours before the update to Windows 10, version 2004 is offered."

Microsoft officials are not commenting on what "other safeguards" still are keeping Surface users from being able to install the Windows 10 2004 update. (I've asked repeatedly for the past week for more information.) There are still several officially acknowledged, unresolved issues with Windows 10 2004 which may apply to Surface devices. 

Also, it's not just Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro 7 that are being blocked. I've heard from users of everything from Surface Go 2, Surface Book 2 and 3, Surface Pro X, to other older Surface models that they cannot get Windows 10 2004 without forcing the upgrade. And I've heard doing so has created some issues for users who've gone this route.

Some users have reported success in getting the 2004 update by resetting their devices. Others have said removing OneDrive and then reinstalling it seems to work. Microsoft doesn't mention any workarounds for the block in its publicly available information.

This situation raises a number of questions. Why weren't the problems with 2004 and Surface devices flagged before the update started rolling out at the end of May? One would assume that a lot of Insiders and employees had tested 2004 on Surface devices. And why isn't Microsoft providing users with more information about the blockers that pertain to their particular devices? 

After announcing on May 27 that it was starting to make the May 2020 feature update available via Windows Update, Microsoft also released a list of about a dozen previously undisclosed issues, which potentially could cause problems for anyone applying the May Update. One of these issues was devices with more than one Always On, Always Connected capable network adapter could experience inadvertent shutdowns and restarts. Microsoft patched this issue on June 9, Patch Tuesday, with KB4557957, but continued to impose the block. 

The company updated its release information to note that the block was removed effective June 29. But since then, devices like the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 have remained blocked. 

Next Tuesday, July 14, is Patch Tuesday. Will that be the magical date when Microsoft unblocks the 2004 update for Surface devices? No word from Microsoft. For now, I have to say I am OK with my Surface Laptop 3 being blocked from getting the 2004 update, given the ongoing list of problems with this update. I know others are not, especially those interested in the WSL 2 functionality. But I feel like it's better to be safe than sorry.

Editorial standards