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Issue #696: November 22-28, 2020

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Q: I have a 3 year old HP Pavilion running Windows 10.  There is an update that says my operating system is about to be outdated.  The update from Microsoft does not give me a choice to update or not. It reaches 91% then locks up.  I have left it spinning for 24 hours to see if it changes. I went to add/remove programs and deleted everything that did not have a Microsoft origin, but got the same result, “Version 1809 for x64 based systems failed to install. KB4503327”  Do you have any suggestions?

 – Mike M.
Crestview, Florida

A:  If you ask anyone who knows me, Mike, you’ll find that I always have suggestions.  That’s not always a good thing, however.  Take your case, for example.  Actual information that directly addresses your issue would seem like a better choice, and yes, I do have some for you.

It is not uncommon for certain types of Windows updates to fail in the manner you described.  I don’t know what it is about the way Microsoft puts these things together, but I’ve seen more of them fail at a percentage in the low 90s than I care to think about.  It can be particularly frustrating if you had to wait any significant length of time to get to that percent completion.  From what I’ve been able to deduce, it’s usually some sort of a privilege problem that causes this.  In other words, the account under which you’re doing the updating doesn’t have sufficient Administrator access to perform the task.  This is definitely a “Thanks, Bill!” moment, because the guys at Microsoft who produce these updates ought to know whether they need Admin privileges to run, and if so, they could check right up front to see whether the account that’s running the update has the necessary permission.

In your case, the generally accepted solution is to side-step the automated Windows Update process, and perform a manual installation of the failed update.  There is a lot of discussion, steps, and other fluff that goes along with this process, so I’m going to do what I usually do in cases like this, and refer you out to a website that presents comprehensive instructions on how to proceed.  So, pay a visit to TinyURL.com/IGTM-0696, give it a good read, and follow the directions you find there.  Don’t mind that the article claims to be solving error 0x800f0900.  The important part is that it has instructions on how to do a manual installation.

I’ve been looking for an excuse to mention something about Windows 10 and this seems like as good of a time as any to mention it in the context of your issue.  Anyone reading carefully enough will note that your system is running Windows 10, and yet you said that you got “an update that says my operating system is about to be outdated”.  This, of course, does not mean that there is a Windows 11 coming out.  Microsoft declared a long time ago that Windows 10 would supposedly be the last in the long line of Windows versions.  In a way I can see why they would say that, as many people have grown tired of having to purchase a new version every couple of years whenever Microsoft deemed a new one necessary.  But the nomenclature “Windows 10” doesn’t fully describe what’s running on your computer.  There have been and are many different releases of Windows 10, and just like any other software that is under direct support of its publisher, Microsoft has continued to issue new versions of it over time.  This information is somewhat hidden unless you know how to find it.  If you want to know what version is running on your PC, click the Windows Start button, and in the Search box, type WinVer.  Under “Best Match” you should see it, and underneath it will say “Run command”.  Click anywhere in the highlighted rectangle, and you will get the true Windows version information box.  You’ll note that the version is defined by two numbers – the “Version” and the “OS Build”.  There can be multiple builds of the same version.  In both cases, the higher the number, the more recent your version.  To compare this with what’s available, run a Google search on “Most recent version of Windows 10.”

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