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How to Feature update Windows 10 (20H2) in Audit Mode - Solved with Guide

Previous guide can be found “Here

Today I'm going to share how to update Windows 10 in Audit Mode! this is not an official guide by Microsoft and should be used as a last resort, or a dirty quick fix!

  • Version 1809 to Version 20H2

  • I was able to download things directly to the computer, using ethernet, however if you do this you might end up with a broken OOBE, because the windows store likes to auto update apps, and this causes sysprep to freak out with errors

  • the final image might be bigger than normal, i found my system wasn't, but its something to be aware of

1) Press and hold, shift, ctrl, f3 at the langrage screen to enter Audit mode

2) at the desktop ignore the program in the middle of the screen and at all times leave it open, do not close it, do not reboot the computer, and if at any point you need to, use the program to reboot back in to Audit Mode,

3) open internet explorer, by typing internet explorer in to the start menu and press on it,

4) "this step has changed since 20H2" download the Windows 10 media creation tool, found "Here" ISO or USB image is the only way now to upgrade the system, if you download the windows 10 upgrade assist tool, it will not work and show an error message asking you to reboot, only way to upgrade now in audit mode is making upgrade media

5) open the Windows 10 media install you just downloaded to the same or another computer (another computer would be better) make the install media the same version and bit type as the computer you intend to upgrade,

6) Now plug in the same usb or disk, in to the computer you intend to upgrade and open the setup exe file found on the media, before it checks the computer is compatible, please right click the start button and press "RUN" and enter


and press yes to UAC message

7) now head to the following path in the registry


8) right click "Status" and press Export and save it to the desktop as "open me" so we don't forget about it, press save

9) now Delete "Status" before the the Windows 10 media install checks compatible, if you didn't do it in time, and have the message about windows 10 not being able to update in audit mode, not to worry press the back button in the installer and press next, this time it should pass the compatible check, and continue to install the update, once it passes the checks, double press the "open me.reg" that you should of saved on your desktop, you may delete it after entering it back in the registry

10) now Windows 10 media install should ask if you wish to keep your files, just say yes and go get a coffee/tea to wait for it to finish up installing

11) shock! the administrator account is locked! ;) I had you worried then didn't I aha! don't worry we have this under control, press ok on the message, then hold the left shift key, as you press the restart button in the bottom right hand side,

12) press advanced then look for "control how windows starts-up" then it should explain about what all the options are and have a restart button in the bottom left, we want to press that

13) at the big blue screen press the number 4, for safe mode,

14) you should be asked if you want to make a new password, do not enter anything in the boxes, just press the last box and press enter, to bypass it, password basically does not change, you'll see windows is starting up, cleaning things up, getting your system ready for you and so on, it seems since (20H2) how the administrator account is setup is different

15) we aren't out of the woods yet! that's why the desktop is so dark aha! right click the the start button and press run, now type "sysprep" a folder should come up! like magic in the dark, now right click sysprep and press run as administrator!

16) now pick in the window that has come up, restart in to audit mode desktop, or it should say something like that in the drop down tab, then press ok, it's very important you do this at this point, otherwise you'll be left like this!

17) Windows should restart in to the desktop with the Audit mode window, run cleanup with administrator rights to delete the Windows.old folder "just type it in the start menu" and install any programs you want by default,

18) now you might be thinking windows is still taking up to much space, yes this is a problem I have not been able to fix, the windows folder seems to have taken on some things from the old version, to slim the beast down a bit more, your going to want to open powershell with administrator rights, again "press the start button and just start typing powershell and right click it, press open with administrator rights" and type the following in the window, one by one

powercfg /h off

DISM.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase

19) you should be able to restart in to OOBE mode by pressing sysprep window, pressing the drop down and selecting OOBE and then pressing restart,

20) welcome back to the beginning, you may back up your freshly updated clean install of windows with what ever changes you made, once I made an account using OOBE, I found "Sysprep_succeeded.tag" in the "sysprep" folder

known problems that can happen :

  • if you get any error messages this will be because you had an ethernet cable connected, the only way around this is to open run, then type in


then open the Panther folder and then look in "setupact.txt" to find out what the problem is, 9 time out of 10 it will be the store downloading apps, in the back ground, you will want to note down the name of the app and enter

"remove-appxpackage whateverthenameisoftheapp"

in to powershell as its stopping you from entering OOBE, if you still get a error message it's likely an app again, look in the "setupact.txt" and run the same command again with the new app name, if this does not work your in the dark and will need to work out the problem your self, as when i had this problem of never ending errors, i started this whole thing again till it worked!

  • less free space because of the Windows folder getting bigger

  • the administrator account can be deleted with out causing a temp folder being made, by rebooting in to oobe mode and using another tool at boot to delete the folder, you may still reboot in to audit mode and the folder will be made again, you'll have to delete it all over again if you wish to save space

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DaleKudusi-MSFT answered SignedAdam commented

Glad to hear that you have found a solution and thank you for sharing your thoughts,
this will be of great help to our community members who have same questions.

Best regards.

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Welcome, I’m happy to be of service to the community.

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PSO-2561 answered PSO-2561 commented


First im thankful for your Guide :) Have you tried to Update from 20H2 to 21H1 with the Guide? after step 10 i get: An error has occurred while installing Windows 10. And it hasnt update it. Someone has an solution for me?

Best regards.

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Download and install KB5000736

More information can be found "Here"

Basically if you have 20h2 this tiny kb file enables features that have been hidden away. You may need to force switch on Windows updates some how I am currently busy. So don't wait for a solution but do let me know if this works or if you found away around it.

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Hey, unfortunately i didn't get the KB5000736 throw Windows Update in Audit mode, do you know how i get it? i tried, PSWindowsUpdate and Restart the Update Services. Never get the KB for Downloading. Some Ideas to solve my problem or an approach to start?

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SignedAdam answered SignedAdam edited

This same guide should work for Windows 11 launch candidate preview 22000 from Windows 10 2004

Follow this instead, from step 10)

10) Windows 11 install media should ask if you want to keep everything say yes


11) at the defaultuser0/ or administrator user failed to login, (believe this has changed from administrator) anyway hold shift and press restart, Press troubleshoot - advanced options - start-up setting - restart
Press 4 after the computer restarts

12) you should see (Hi getting things ready with the new Windows 11 do not turn off this computer animation)

13) At the desktop press the Windows start button and r, to open run, then type sysprep, if file explorer is blank wait a full 2 minutes after opening it should recover, otherwise open task manager and crate a new task and browse to sysprep that way (doesn't ask to change password this time)

14) Once you have sysprep.exe accessible, open it, press OK on the box that opens,
congratulations, we are in obbe in Windows 11!

Side of included antivirus software are

  • things start to give process exited with code 3221225725 after a while, in all the command lines/powershell the lot,

  • task manager opens then closes, won't stay open

Disable antivirus to save headaches

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