How To Bypass Upgrade Block (Safeguard Hold) In Windows 11

You can bypass or disable upgrade blocks from the Group Policy editor, the Windows Registry editor, or Windows PowerShell. However, Microsoft does not recommend this since it will put your computer at risk of performance issues.

Bypass Safeguard Hold Windows 11

Microsoft recently released the first feature update for Windows 11; Windows 11 2022 Update. It has now been published in over 190 countries, so if your system meets the Windows 11 requirements, you should see it available on the Windows Update Settings page. However, if you do not, then the reason could be the Windows “Safeguard Hold” feature.

Safeguard Hold, also known as upgrade blocking, is a Windows feature that automatically blocks Windows updates from installing if it considers that the update may negatively impact your PC.

Today we are going to show you 3 ways to revert this Windows decision and install the update, even if it is being blocked.

What is Safeguard Hold

Safeguard Hold is used to temporarily stop Windows devices from installing any updates that may impact their performance. This usually applies to the major Windows feature updates that are released annually.

When an update is first rolled out, it may have bugs or may affect certain types of computers. When the issues that may arise are specific, then rather than retracting the update in the whole area, Microsoft only blocks the update from installing on selected devices.

Microsoft claims that they do this to individual customers and partners, or even when Microsoft’s internal validations find an issue with a release that could potentially have a severe impact on its performance.

That said, users can still opt out of this program and continue to install the update, even if it affects their computers negatively.

Opting out of a safeguard hold can put devices at risk from known performance issues.

Microsoft

Before we discuss the methods to bypass Safeguard Hold, let us show you how to check if your device is currently on Safeguard Hold. This will give you an idea of whether an update isn’t available because of this feature or due to another reason.

Check if Device is on Safeguard Hold

Windows informs the users if an update is being blocked due to the Safeguard Hold feature. If an update is available but is being blocked, you will be intimated on the Windows Update Settings page, and see a similar message as in the image below.

Microsoft hold on
Safeguard Hold blocking an update

If you see a similar message on the Windows 11 operating system, below you’ll find the methods to bypass this feature and install the updates.

Disable Upgrade Blocks in Windows 11

Note: Neither we nor Microsoft recommends that you bypass upgrade blocks and install the Windows updates since they can potentially cause severe issues with your computer. If you find it absolutely necessary to bypass Safeguard Holds and install the update for testing purposes, we suggest that you create a Windows 11 VM and perform your tests in a secluded environment.

There are 3 ways to bypass upgrade blocks on a Windows 11 PC.

Disable Safeguard Holds from Group Policy

Perform the following steps to bypass upgrade blocks using the Group Policy editor:

  1. Launch the Group Policy editor by typing in gpedit.msc in the Run Command box.

    gpedit msc
    Open Group Policy editor
  2. Now navigate to the following from the left pane:

    Local Computer Policy >> Administrative Templates >> Windows Components >> Windows Update >> Manage updates offered from Windows Update
  3. Now double-click “Disable safeguards for Feature Updates in the right pane.

    Open policy setting
    Open policy setting
  4. From the policy window, select the Enabled radio button, and then click on Apply and Ok.

    Disabe Safeguard Holds from Group Policies
    Disable Safeguard Holds from Group Policies
  5. Now run the following cmdlet in an elevated Command Prompt for the changes to take effect:

    gpupdate /force
    gpupdate force latest
    Enforce group policy changes

Safeguard holds will now be disabled for your PC. You can now check if your system has started to receive updates through Windows Updates. If not, you should try resetting your Windows update settings using the guide provided.

If at any point you wish to re-enable these safeguards, simply return to the same location within the Group Policy editor, open the properties for Disable safeguards for Feature Updates, and select the Disabled radio button.

Disable Safeguard Holds from Windows Registry

If the method above did not work for you, you can also adapt this one and make changes directly to the Windows Registry.

Note: Misconfiguration of critical values in the system’s registry could be fatal for your operating system. Therefore, we insist that you create a system restore point before proceeding forward with the process.

  1. Open the Windows Registry editor by typing in regedit in the Run Command box.

    regedit
    Open the Registry editor
  2. Now paste the following in the address bar for quick navigation:

    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft
    Quick navigation in Registry editor 1
    Quick navigation in Registry editor
  3. Right-click Windows, expand New, then click Key. Name this new key “WindowsUpdate.”

    Create new WindowsUpdate key
    Create new “WindowsUpdate” key
  4. Now right-click the newly-created “WindowsUpdate” key, expand New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name this new DWORD “DisableWUfBSafeguards.”

    Create new DisableWUfBSafeguards DWORD
    Create new DisableWUfBSafeguards DWORD
  5. Double-click the new DWORD in the right pane, then set the Value Data to 1. Click Ok when done.

    Set Value Data to 1
    Set Value Data to 1
  6. Now reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

You can now check that your device is receiving updates and has disabled safeguard holds successfully.

If you wish to re-enable safeguard holds, simply delete the DWORD you have created via the Registry Editor, or change its Value Data to 0 and then restart your PC.

Delete DWORD
Delete DWORD

Disable Safeguard Holds from Windows PowerShell

If you wish to avoid all the hassle with the Windows Registry above, you can also adopt this method and make the same changes through Windows PowerShell. With this method, you can bypass upgrade blocks with a single cmdlet.

  1. Run the following cmdlet in an elevated PowerShell instance:

    reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate" /v DisableWUfBSafeguards /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    Disable Safeguard Holds from Windows PowerShell
    Disable Safeguard Holds from Windows PowerShell
  2. Now restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

If you take a closer look at the command, it adds the same DWORD in the registry which we had done previously above with a manual approach. You can also remove this system registry to re-enable upgrade blocks using the same steps mentioned in the previous section.

Final Thoughts

If your system is being blocked from upgrading to Windows 11 22H2, then you can apply either one of the given methods to disable Safeguard blocks and install the update. However, we strongly discourage this since the update was probably blocked for a good reason in the first place.

Moreover, even though the methods discussed in this post as well as the screenshots are targeted for Windows 11, these also work for Windows 10. We also have a dedicated post to bypass upgrade blocks in Windows 10.

Also see:

Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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