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Issue #799: November 13-19, 2022

Q: I have two late model Laptops in my home. Both laptops use quad Intel processors > 1GB speeds. Both have 8 GB RAM. Mine has 512 GB SSD and my wife’s has 256 GB SSD. Mine has 310 GB SSD free. Hers has 80 GB free.

I waited until Sep 2022 to update my own to Windows 11. I prefer to delay installation of operating system upgrades until good old Bill G. has time to work some of the bugs out. Having no problems, I tried to update my wife’s also. It failed indicating a “Safeguard Hold” until release of Windows 11 version 22H2. Since I had first checked for compatibility successfully, I was rather amazed at this result at this late date. Any idea when to expect ver. 22H2 and whether it is likely to solve the upgrade problem(s)?

– Roger H.
Crestview, Florida

A: I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on what constitutes a “late model” computer, Roger.  For example, Windows 11 has been out since October 2021, making your computers a minimum of 13 months old.  Also, many quad core processors are now at least 2-3 generation behind the state of the art, as Intel’s i9 series boasts as many as 16 cores.  In this Geek’s opinion, while your PCs are not slouches by any stretch of the imagination, I don’t think I would describe them as late model.  If it makes you feel any better, my primary workhorse PC is a several-years-old i7, and I’ve just done a drive upgrade on another one that’s over 5 years old to breathe new life into it by swapping it’s spinning magnetic disc hard drive with a solid-state drive.  Amazing performance difference, since disk access is by far the slowest thing a computer does.

Regardless of all that, your question is about an error upgrading to Windows 11.  Specifically, the mysterious “Safeguard Hold” that is almost as bad as not having a TPU module on board when you try to upgrade to Windows 11.  According to Microsoft: “Safeguard holds prevent a device with a known compatibility issue from being offered a new Windows client feature update by using Windows Update.  We use safeguard holds to protect the device and user from a failed or poor update experience.  We renew the offering once a fix is issued and is verified on an affected device.”

It is possible, though not recommended outside of professional IT administration environments, to “opt out” of a safeguard hold.  This is the equivalent of a character in a horror movie being told, “Don’t go in there!” and going in there anyway.  Those who choose to remain on this side of the door are safely waiting, while those on the other side…  Well, let’s just say the sound of knife blades and chainsaws heralds a fate they chose for themselves.  If you want to walk this path, check with your wife first (since it’s her computer you’re risking) then Google “How to opt out of safeguard hold.”  You might want to ignore the Microsoft articles in favor of others, since Microsoft insists you need tools that are only available to IT professionals, even though that’s not fully true.

Now, you say that Windows told you that the release of Win 11 version 22H2 would solve this for you?  Well, right or wrong, I’m not going to try and second guess what the installer told you, but I have to tell you that the version in question released on September 20, 2022.  So, either it didn’t help after all, or it hasn’t been applied to your wife’s system yet.  I suggest a visit to Windows Update is in order to make sure the update is installed.  If the safeguard hold remains, there’s one thing I know of that you can do.  Under the update, you should find a link that says “Learn More.”  Click this, and you’ll be taken to a page that should summarize the reason(s) why the computer is under a hold.  I have only read about this online, so I can’t verify it because I don’t have a machine that has such a hold.  Regardless, hopefully there’s enough information there that you can decide whether you can upgrade the hardware to meet the criteria, or just ignore the software update for now.

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