Where 1909 Failed, 20H2 Succeeds

I’m amazed. I just used the ISO image for Windows 10 20H2 available from the Download Windows 10 page to force upgrade my aging mini-ITX PC. It went pretty quickly, too. This is a system I built in 2012 around a Jetway NF9G-QM77 motherboard with an Intel Ivy Bridge i7 3630QM mobile processor, 16 GB RAM, and a Samsung 250 GB EVO 840 SSD. Ancient, in other words. I ran the upgrade from my Ventoy big drive upon which I deposited the 20H2 (Build 19042.572) ISO file a couple of days back. On my 2004 PCs, I’m still waiting for WU to offer the 20H2 upgrade. Yet another case where “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first,” I guess.

Why Force 20H2 onto an Old(er) PC?

Curiosity, mostly. I had tried four different techniques to upgrade this mini-ITX PC from 1909 to 2004. All had failed, and failed the same way: each and every one of them hung forever at 95% complete in the post-GUI install phase. Here are the upgrade techniques for 2004 that I tried (and failed) to bring to a successul conclusion, on two or more tries for each technique:

+1: Standard upgrade from Windows Update, on three or more occasions.
+2: Upgrade via the Windows 10 Update Assistant
+3: Upgrade via an ISO downloaded using the Media Creation Tool (also available on the Download Windows 10 page)
+4: Upgrade via an ISO for Build 19041.508 or thereabouts created using the UUPDump.ml website

I let the installer run overnight on at least two occasions,  hoping that patience would result in a successful upgrade. It never worked. Thus, I approached my upgrade attempt to 20H2 today with no hope whatsoever of success. My only question was: would it get past 95% during the post-GUI phase? Not only did it get past that previously impassable percentage, it went all the way through to a successful completion. Again: I’m amazed.

First Time’s the Charm!

I can also say that, even on what truly qualifies as an older PC (if not actually “ancient,” as characterized in the lead-in paragraph here) the upgrade completed pretty quickly. From start to finish, it went through in about 35 minutes. If memory serves, it took me nearly an hour to get to the 95% hang point when trying to upgrade this machine from 1909 to 2004.

I find it very interesting, and more than a little encouraging, to see for myself that 20H2 can handle hardware that 2004 could not. I’m not sure that my experience will be of much benefit to those who, like me, tried to upgrade older hardware from 1909 to 2004 and failed. That said, if it worked on the Jetway mini-ITX box, it may very well also work on whatever vintage box you may have experienced a similar failure upon. At the very least, it’s worth a try!

It just goes to show you that here in Windows-World, there can be occasional unexpected triumphs as well as occasional tragedies and crashes. I must say: I’m jazzed! Great stuff…

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

3 thoughts on “Where 1909 Failed, 20H2 Succeeds

  1. I have 3 Sandy Bridge computers. 1 laptop & 2 desktops. Only the laptop was offered the 20H2 update. I performed an in-place upgrade on the 2 desktops. BTW, a 3rd desktop (Intel 7th gen) was not offered the update which indicates it has nothing to do with the age of the machine.

  2. Dear Win10Anon:
    The criteria for inclusion in the offer are clear as mud. I don’t think MS is ready to clarify either. You say you performed an in-place upgrade on two of your Sandy Bridge machines. I assume all went well because you didn’t say otherwise. Is this a valid assumption? Please advise and thanks for posting a comment, –Ed–

  3. Just read the blog and like you was amazed. Someone gave me an old Packard Bell all-in one, 2nd generation i3. Swapped the old spinning top HDD for a spare SSD upped the RAM to 8Gb loaded 2004 and Office 2019 Pro plus.
    It took a few days to come down but there was 20H2 waiting to be loaded with no trouble at all. Quite surprised but now have a perfectly working large screen ideal for my spreadsheets, if only my seven laptops were as easy as this.

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