How to install the Anniversary Update on 32GB devices

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
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The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coveted by many users, but unfortunately not all of them have been able to install the OS due to hard disk space limitations. In order to install Windows 10 version 1607, you need a minimum hard disk space of 16GB, and this can be quite a major problem for low budget laptop owners.

This situation has created much discontent among users, who are very upset they can’t upgrade to the Anniversary Update. When you use a 32GB laptop, freeing enough space to install the update can become quite a challenge.

Actually, this is not the first time when Microsoft imposes memory limits for users. Windows phone owners using 512 MB terminals have been the first to be excluded from the Windows 10 club. According to the tech giant, phones with 512MB of RAM cannot properly run Windows 10 Mobile, as the minimum requirement in terms of RAM is 1 GB.

Users are reporting they can’t install the Anniversary Update on 32GB eMMC devices

I have two budget laptops (a Lenovo S21e-20 and a HP Stream 11 Pro) that both have non-expandable, non-replaceable 32GB (30GB usable in real life) eMMC storage. Windows 10 won’t upgrade to the Anniversary Edition on these laptops as there isn’t 20GB available space on them (64bit systems). This means there is no upgrade in Windows Update when I trigger a manual check, and the upgrade app you can download from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12387/windows-10-update-history says there isn’t enough free space.

As for the 32GB laptops, the good news is that you can use one particular workaround to install the Anniversary Update, provided that you have 8GB of free memory.

How to install the Anniversary Update on 32 GB devices

  1. Free 8GB of space on your computer.
  2. Download the media creation tool from Microsoft
  3. Run the MediaCreationTool.exe
  4. Click on Upgrade this PC now
  5. Select Keep personal files and apps
  6. Once the installation is complete, you’ll have the Anniversary Update up and running.

As surprising as this workaround may be, it really works, as users confirm it:

Oddly, I had only 8gb of  open space when I began this process.  When I finished the second install process, I had 15gb of open space, more than my Lenovo had on the day I first purchased it.  During the Anniversary installation, older versions of Windows 10 were removed and then I removed the 3.63gb of files left behind  by the failed installation of the Anniversary update to reach 15gb of open space.

Tell us in the comment section below if this solution worked for you and don’t forget to spread the word.

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  • Step 1 in this fix is to free up 8GB of space, and right off the bat that’s going to be an issues for lots of people with 32GB SSDs. I have very few apps on my laptop – basically just OpenOffice and Chrome, and I’ve got 2.5GB free. DiskCleanup can get me another 75MB. Removing ALL my documents would get me another 2GB. The 8GB required on C: would be a struggle, just because of the huge amount of space already taken by Windows 10. It’s a mess.

    • Totally agree. Virtually impossible to get to 8GB of free space on my HP Stream 11, which has 32GB of base eMMC storage. Even with almost all my apps on the additional 32GB SD card I installed in the laptop, hibernation and system recovery turned off, and after performing various aggressive cleanup procedures, the best I could do was 4GB to 4.5GB of free space.

      Now for the good news. Microsoft recently added the capability to use external storage to perform the update (External hard drive, USB flash drive, etc.). I did just that in the past week. I attached an external USB hard drive and I was able to select it during the Anniversary Update install. It stated it needed as I recall 2GB or so for the first part of the install, and then 14GB of space to perform the final phase of the install, so if you decide to go this route, make sure that you have enough space available on whatever hardware you plan to use, with a little buffer as well. Also, during the final phase it did not recognize my external hard drive for some reason; a reboot fixed that problem and it was then recognized, and the install completed.

      I was a bit concerned how much space was going to be taken up AFTER the Anniversary Update was installed, but I actually gained 1GB to 2GB of space, so that was a nice surprise.

      • I tried to upgrade to the Creators Edition and see *NO* choice for “pick another drive”. It says I *MUST* have 8GB free. And *ONLY* gives c: as my choice. Where are you seeing “picking another device”????

        • Well, considering you are reading an article about the “Anniversary Update” and not the “Creators Update” I don’t know. In any event, if that is true, that would suck. I wait a couple months before trying any major update so won’t be trying this with the Creators Update.

        • I’ve had this same issue – no option to pick another drive. I created an installation disk on a USB stick and tried that. This time I was given the option to pick another drive but guess what? It says I STILL need 8GB free on the C: drive in order to install – the choosing the external disk does nothing to solve the issue. I tried compressing all my files and that resulted in me having LESS space than I started with. Nice work, Microsoft.

  • They Must Support 512MB RAM of Windows Phones. Since Cherry Mobile Alpha Prime 4 is Running Windows 10 Mobile with 512MB of RAM nicely.