Feature updates are new versions of Windows 10 that are released via Windows Update twice a year usually around spring and fall.
Microsoft uses quality and compatibility data to identify issues that might cause a Windows 10 feature update to fail or roll back. When Microsoft finds such an issue, Microsoft might apply holds to the updating service to prevent affected devices from installing the update in order to safeguard them from these experiences. Microsoft also use holds when a customer, a partner, or Microsoft internal validation finds an issue that would cause severe impact (for example, rollback of the update, data loss, loss of connectivity, or loss of key functionality) and when a workaround is not immediately available.
Safeguard holds prevent a device with a known issue from being offered a new operating system version. Microsoft will renew the offering once a fix is found and verified. Microsoft uses holds to ensure customers have a successful experience as their device moves to a new version of Windows 10.
The lifespan of holds varies depending on the time required to investigate and fix an issue. During this time Microsoft works diligently to procure, develop, and validate a fix and then offer it to affected devices. We monitor quality and compatibility data to confirm that a fix is complete before releasing the hold. Once Microsoft releases the hold, Windows Update will resume offering new operating system versions to devices.
Safeguard holds only affect devices that use the Window Update service for updates.
If necessary, you can opt out of safeguard protections by using the Disable safeguards for Feature Updates Group Policy. This policy is available to Windows Update for Business devices running Windows 10 version 1809 or later that have installed its October 2020 security update (not to be confused with the Windows 10 October 2020 Update).
This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable safeguard holds for feature updates on Windows 10.