Are systems with 32 GB eMMC drives no longer updatable?

I tried to update my HP Stream (that runs on the non-replaceable 32 GB eMMC) using the Media Creation Tool (MediaCreationTool1903.exe), but it only upgraded the OS to the 1607 update. The laptop has a bit over 5 GB of free space and there is nothing I can free (other than a browser and Skype, there is nothing I can delete, and I cleaned up the drive including the system files, old updates, etc), so I used a USB flash drive for the upgrade.

I did a bit of research and according to https://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-pc-with-under-32gb-storage-no-1903-update-for-you-says-microsoft/, it looks like there is not further upgrade for me. Is this true? Does it mean all systems running on a 32 GB eMMC drives will be permanently stuck on the 1607 update? What about security patches?

Can anyone share Microsoft's official stand on this? Thanks.

 

Question Info


Last updated October 7, 2019 Views 330 Applies to:
Hi Alek, you would be amazed how many users with 32GB of internal storage ask the exact same question . . .

Honestly, there is only one answer, backup your data and perform a clean install of the 32Bit version of Windows 10 - that will give you 10GB more internal storage space - I know this is not the answer you are looking for, but it is the only and best Answer. You will then have enough space for the next year of Windows 10 updates and your system will be faster . ..

Any device with a 32 GB SSD is not good enough to run Windows 10, regardless of the system specs put out by Microsoft.

I honestly don't know why the manufacturers produced these devices.

The Windows 10 folder with a couple of updates will very quickly eat up 20 - 25GB of your hard drive, mine is currently 23GB

You can reinstall Windows 10 at any time and it will not cost you anything, however you will not have enough space to create the bootable Windows 10 media, you will need to do that on another working PC

Since you previously had Windows 10 installed and activated on that PC during the installation process skip the steps which ask for a product key and select the option 'I am Reinstalling Windows 10 on this PC', and activation will not be an issue, your PC will have a digital entitlement stored on the Microsoft Activation Servers

Make sure you install the same Edition of Windows 10 (Home, Pro . . . etc.) you previously had installed to avoid Activation issues

Click this link:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-downlo...
to download the Media Creation Tool (Click on Download Tool Now), with that you can download the latest Windows 10 ISO (Select Create Installation Media for Another PC), you can create a bootable USB flash drive (min 8GB) using that tool

Then, Boot your PC from the Installation Media you just created (change Boot Order in your BIOS) to begin installing Windows 10
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I would not mind this as an option (did not realize that the 32-bit Windows saves 10 GB of hard drive), but according to the article I mentioned: "Microsoft has raised the minimum storage requirement for Windows 10 version 1903 to 32GB for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows." So it would be nice to see the official Microsoft policy before I waste a few hours on the reinstall (it's my mother in-law's system, so I'd need to apply a foreign language pack and it was a hassle to set it up the last time I did it for her; don't want to invest in it if it eventually ends up being no longer supported).

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Hi Alek. I'm Greg, an installation specialist and 10 year Windows MVP here to help you.

I will give you steps to both manage smaller drive storage and perform version Updates on them manually by the most stable method that requires much less space than Windows Update.

First here are tips for managing smaller drives:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3040404/windows...

https://www.groovypost.com/howto/maximize-stora...

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/...

As more space becomes needed, you can move your Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders into OneDrive and then set them to On Demand so they reside in the cloud and only have download links on the PC:

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/116029-turn...

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3233488/windows...


You can also offload User folders (Documents, Music, Pictures, etc) to another drive you can install on the same PC (even in the DVD drive bay) as shown in this tutorial, which will not affect speed if C is on an SSD and the other drive is not: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/1964-move-u.... I would not move program files or speed will be affected. You could also install a larger SSD/HDD.


This should make enough space to install Windows Updates. But for now I'd focus on the latest Version update since successfully installing it will bring along all Windows Updates and also resolves almost all other problems since it reinstalls Windows keeping your files and programs in place.

Install the Media Creation Tool on another PC to create bootable media or download the ISO to stick or disk, transfer it back to the target PC to open the media or click to mount the ISO, right click Setup file to Run as Administrator. This avoids needing the space to download the Upgrade and it's staging files. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/m...

Another option is to do the the best possible Clean Install in this link which will stay that way as long as you stick with the tools and methods given, has zero reported problems, and is better than any amount of money could buy: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wiki....

This will give you back all but 15gb of the drive.

There is also an automated Fresh Start that reinstalls WIndows while shedding corrupting factory bloatware, saves your files, but doesn't clear the drive to get it cleanest: https://www.howtogeek.com/265054/how-to-easily-...

You can also turn off or block Updates if they are bothering you.

There are ways to block Updates here: https://www.howtogeek.com/223864/how-to-uninsta...

If you want you can set a Metered Connection per the above tutorial, then when ready turn it off to install Updates. You can even wait until the twice-yearly Version Updates to run manually from Media Creation Tool which is a more stable method than Windows Update and includes all previous updates rolled into it. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/m...

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask back any questions and let us know how it goes. I will keep working with you until it's resolved


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Thanks Greg. I will go over the links when the tenforums site is back (seems to be down now), but it still does not answer my question and I do not see it covered in the articles I checked so far (e.g. Clean Install Windows 10). Let me reiterate:

According to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/design/minimum/minimum-hardware-requirements-overview (section 3.3.1), Windows 10, version 1903 requires 32 GB of hard drive space (for both 32- and 64-bit versions). Does this mean that starting with version 1903, systems with 32 GB eMMC will not be updatable? (Given that the 32 GB minimum is for the OS only.)

I know that there are tweaks you can use to install Windows 10 updates on 32 GB systems (I have used them in the past), but these were before 1903. I have not seen any explicit confirmation that update tweaks will work on version 1903, so I do not want to go through the hassle of backing up settings and apps, reformatting the drive, etc. only to encounter the insufficient space to install the OS message.

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We'll have to see going forward if this is going to be the case. I'm waiting to hear from those who are staging their Version Upgrades from flash sticks so no staging space is needed on a smaller HDD, whether these can run now since there is also a known issue with attached USB devices covered here:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/450098...
https://www.thurrott.com/forums/microsoft/windo...

If you choose to try the Upgrade this way, please advise to help others.
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Hi,

I was unaware of any minimum requirement change, but after reading your post, and the replies, I realized I had a similar machine that I had not used lately and decided to try updating to 1903..

This is an Off-Brand 8" Tablet with the same eMMC 32GB drive you mention, and only 1GB Memory.. It came preinstalled with Windows 8 32 bit.. It has since been upgraded to 8.1 and numerous Win 10 builds.. Most recently from 1607 to 1809... I have never done a clean install, but rely on backup images saved when the installation was fresh...

The upgrade from 17763.437 (1809) to 18362.30 (1903) went smoothly, although it took over 2 hours...

I did this by Mounting the 1903 32 bit ISO that was on a flash drive and running setup.. There were no alerts concerning free space, drive size, or etc..

Should you try a clean install of the 32 bit Windows 10 you will probably need a wall powered USB 4-Port Hub or more, along with a USB Keyboard and Mouse.. Plus room for any other USB device you may need...

The Touchscreen will not work while using installation media...

After one of the earlier upgrades I had problems with the Touchscreen drivers and the Screen Rotation and Lock... I eventually found a fix and it has not reappeared, but I have not yet tested it with 1903..

BTW... After reading your link to section 3.3.1, my interpretation is that a minimum 32GB drive is now required... Not specifically free space..

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Thanks, slance310. You may be right about the space requirements, but according to the specs, Windows 10 1809 x64 requires 20 GB of space, and I cannot see how this can be the case, when just the OS on my laptop takes about 27 GB. Question, how did you keep the ISO image mounted after a reboot during the installation?

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Hi,

How much space you need to upgrade to the 1903 is dependent upon how you do it.. If you do it through Windows Update or the Create Media... Install Now... method, it takes much more space... The reason being is he way it is downloaded and created... The needed files are downloaded... THEN converted to installation files and\or a ISO... This can easily take up nearly 8GB all in itself... Then there is the issue of the  "Old" windows being saved in the Windows.old folder.. This can be deleted, but not until after the fact..

If you manually upgrade from a ISO on a flash drive or external HDD, you will not need that extra 8GB of space...

I think the spec sheet you mentioned is regarding a "Clean Install", and what the installer will accept for drive size.. An upgrade is a entirely different ballgame due to the already existing files... The only thing I can suggest is to be sure the "Windows.old" folder has been removed... That is the largest offender by far...

When you say the OS is taking up 27GB of space, I would guess that a large part of that is the result of a couple of hidden files on C:\.. The PageFile.sys and Hiberfil.sys.. The pagefile is for memory overflow, and the hiberfil is for Hibernation type storage and the functioning of Fast Startup...

Both can be turned off temporarily to free up space... The Pagefile can also simply be reduced in size as well..

At times I remove these files to clean up my OS drive with a defrag... Then turn them back on when it is finished... I have had no ill effects from this... But with only 1GB of memory available, you may want maybe just reduce the size of the Pagefile, or leave it alone...

I didn't check the sizes before replying, so I can't be more specific at the moment...

You can turn off the Hiberfil.sys by entering the command Powercfg -h off into a Command Prompt or Powershell as Admin.. The turn it back on with Powercfg -h on...

You can show the hidden folders\files through "Folder Options"... View tab..

For the Pagefile, right click on This PC.. Properties.. Advanced System Settings... Performance-Settings button... Advanced Tab again, the "Virtual Memory" at the bottom..

As far as the ISO is concerned... I unplugged the flash drive during the first restart... By the time of the restart, all of the needed files have already been copied to the internal drive..

I do not actually know if you can manage an upgrade to 1809 or 1903... As suggested by Dave, your best bet may be to switch to 32 bit, but that may bring up issues with drivers and such..

The upgrades have access to preinstalled HP drivers, a clean install may not... You might check with HP and see what is available as far as a switch to 32 bit... They may have a 32 bit version of their preinstalled Windows available...

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Good point on the driver support. HP only shows drivers and firmware for the 64-bit version of Windows. I would not risk installing the 32-bit version. Thanks for the suggestions.

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Hi,

That's unfortunate... About your only option would be a clean install of the 64 bit version as a workaround to insufficient space..

I just did a disk cleanup of my 32 bit installation... 12GB was removed.. That would put a severe limitation on available space, and I'm sure your's would be a good bit higher..

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