Windows 10 Version 1903 May Fail to Install on Devices with External USB Storage

Microsoft is holding Windows 10 version 1903 in the Release Preview ring to avoid installation issues and accidents that happened to its predecessor, version 1809. The company is going to release version 1903 in May 2019, next month. However, Insiders who are installing the OS have already faced issues caused by connected USB flash drives and SD cards.

WIndows 10 May 2019 Update Banner

Windows 10 version 1903 won’t install on a device with an external USB flash drive (or an internal drive) or SD cards connected. It applies to the following scenario:


  • You're running a Windows-10 based computer.
  • An external USB device or SD memory card is attached to the computer.
  • You try to upgrade the computer to the May 2019 Update, or you have automatic updates turned on in the Windows Update settings.

On affected devices, the setup program displays the message "This PC can’t be upgraded to Windows 10".

This PC Can’t Be Upgraded To Windows 10 Usb Issue

The official support document reveals that the reason for blocking the new Windows 10 version is inappropriate drive reassignment on devices that have an external USB storage drive attached.

Here is an example scenario:

Inappropriate drive reassignment can occur on Windows 10-based computers that have an external USB device or SD memory card attached during the installation of the May 2019 update. For this reason, these computers are currently blocked from receiving the May 2019 Update.

Example: An upgrade to the May 2019 Update is tried on a computer that has a thumb drive inserted into a USB port. Before the upgrade, the device would have been mounted in the system as drive G based on the existing drive configuration. However, after the upgrade, the device is reassigned a different drive letter. For example, the drive is reassigned as drive H.

The workaround suggested by Microsoft is to remove external media, be it a USB device or SD card, and restart the update installation process.

Interestingly, the support page also mentions internal drives.

The drive reassignment is not limited to removable drives. Internal hard drives can also be affected.

Microsoft says the issue will be eventually fixed in a future servicing update for Windows 10. For Windows Insiders, this issue is resolved in build 18877 and later builds.

If you are an early adopter, keep this in mind. If you cannot get Windows 10 version 1903 installed, try to unplug USB sticks and other external storage devices connected to your computer.

Source: Microsoft

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

One thought on “Windows 10 Version 1903 May Fail to Install on Devices with External USB Storage”

  1. Tried for months. Tried everything. Removing the wifi card from the machine was the only thing that worked for me.

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