Windows 10 May 2020 update has critical bugs that could wreck your PC: What to do

(Image credit: Microsoft)

We didn't expect the Windows 10 May 2020 update to be bug-free at launch, but the list of known issues plaguing the new release is troubling.  

The update has been in testing with Windows Insiders for around 15 months, and yet, there are at least 10 known issues in Windows 10 version 2004, many of which could prevent your laptop from functioning properly. 

Microsoft outlined the lingering issues in its support page for the May 2020 update, noting that each of these problems is currently under investigation. When the company finds a solution, it will presumably release a patch in another update. Until then, updating to the newest version of Windows 10 puts you at risk of the problems listed below. 

Bluetooth connectivity problems

Microsoft says the Realtek Bluetooth radios have a compatibility issue with the latest version of Windows 10. As a result, some Windows 10 laptops will have trouble pairing with more than one Bluetooth device at a time. 

That means you won't be able to connect to a pair of headphones if your laptop is already connected to a mouse or keyboard. Microsoft says it will put a "compatibility hold" on devices affected by Realtek Bluetooth ratio drivers until the driver has been updated. 

The issue is so severe that Microsoft specifically warns not to manually update using the Update now button. 

Audio driver issues

Similar to the Bluetooth problem, Microsoft and Synaptics found compatibility issues with certain version of the Conexant ISST audio driver and the new version of Windows 10.

Laptops that rely on this Conexant ISST audio driver will receive an error or have problems installing the new Windows 10 update. Again, Microsoft is putting a hold on devices that could be affected. 

Another compatibility issue with Conexant drivers could cause a Blue Screen of Death error.

Intel integrated graphics refresh rates

Another serious problem causes compatibility issues when a monitor with variable refresh rate is plugged into an Intel integrated processing unit display adapter. Microsoft will bypass the problem but disabling variable refresh rates for most games, especially those using DirectX 9.  

Thunderbolt dock error

Plugging in a Thunderbolt dock to the USB-C port in your Windows 10 laptop could result in a Blue Screen of Death error. Microsoft and Intel are working on a solution. Until then, Microsoft is putting a compatibility hold on devices with the affected drivers. 

Here are some more specifics from Microsoft: "Affected Windows 10 devices will have at least one Thunderbolt port, have Kernel DMA Protection enabled and Windows Hypervisor Platform disabled. To verify your Kernel DMA Protection settings, please see How to check if Kernel DMA Protection is enabled." 

Always On, Always Connected unexpected restarts

Laptops updated with the May 2020 update may experience unexpected shutdowns or restarts if they have the Always On, Always Connected feature enabled. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 are affected by this bug as they have multiple network adapters for Always On, Always Connected. 

Old Nvidia GPU issues

Certain Nvidia GPUs are incompatible with the new update, and, therefore, could cause a blue screen error or stop error. This issue applies to older Nvidia GPU drivers, specifically any version lower than 358.00. A compatibility hold will prevent laptops with this driver from updating to the latest Windows 10 version.

What to do with Windows 10 May 2020

We listed some of the most concerning issues above. If you want to view the full list, you can do so on Microsoft's Windows version support page. If any of the problems above could impact your laptop, then consider waiting for Microsoft to release patches before installing the May 2020 update. 

It sounds like Microsoft won't push the update to your system unless it's safe from these potential issues, so resist the urge to manually download it. Microsoft is actively working on fixes to each of these problems, so it shouldn't be too long before they arrive. We can only hope the fixes don't bring another handful of problems along with them.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.