How To Stop Windows 10 From Updating

How To Stop Windows 10 From Updating
Image: Microsoft

Struck out with a Windows 10 update yet again? Then you might want to pass on the OS’s new “features” for a while. Here’s how you do that.

For those running Windows 10 Pro, you’ve got one main choice for dealing with the latest November patch, which is titled version 1909. The Windows Update page in Settings has a button to let you pause all updates for up to 7 days, but if you want to hold onto things for a bit longer just in case, there’s an option that will let you pause all feature and quality patches for a full year.

To find those options, head to Settings in Windows 10, either by typing Settings into the Start menu, or by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting Settings from there. From there, you can click on the Update & Security page, where you’ll probably see something similar to this:

From here, click on the Advanced Options button at the bottom, which brings up this page:

If you want to “temporarily pause updates”, you’ll be able to hold those off for 35 days. After that point, Windows will force you to update before you can pause updates again.

However, there’s another option. At the very bottom, where it says “Choose when updates are installed”, you can set a day limit on how long feature updates and quality updates can be deferred from. You can set both of these to 365 days if you want, although most people will want security updates a lot sooner than that, and even the mainline Windows 10 feature improvements are usually good after a few months.

But what if you’re on Windows 10 Home? Your best option is to use a toggle in the Advanced Options for Windows Update for metered connections. In short, the toggle tells Windows whether it’s allowed to download updates over “metered connections” (like your mobile phone, if you were tethering off that). If it’s not enabled, then Windows won’t download feature updates over any connection that’s earmarked as “metered”.

So all you have to do from this point is set your network connection as “metered”, which you can do from the Network & Internet page. Simply pick the network connection that’s currently active, and flip the toggle to mark it as a metered connection.

This way, you’ll be able to halt updates on any version of Windows 10. Just note that the second option may also have other effects on Windows services that sync online, like OneDrive, Microsoft Store apps, or games through the Xbox app (like those you’d download from Xbox Game Pass).

Comments

  • I’ll just chime in (as someone who specialises in SOE Architecture and Engineering).

    Set security updates to 1 day, set feature updates to 28 days, or if really cautious, set it to 90 days.

    Security updates generally don’t have issues, so a one day buffer whilst ensuring your device is secure is a fair trade off IMO.

    Feature updates are another kettle of fish, and each one generally has issues for a fortnight or so after launch. Its rare after this period for a feature update to really do anything nefarious however. If you are really cautious on feature updates though, set it for three months, but really, this shouldn’t necessary.

    • I’d go further and don’t change security updates at all – those should go through automatically. But feature updates have a history of fucking with people’s software, especially if its older and already has some compatibility quirks.

      Hell, I had to reinstall sound drivers last night because the Windows update meant the 7.1 headset I was using could only use the most basic out of its 3 modes, which disabled all the 3D audio tracking and cool bits that I actually liked about the software. Insane.

      • I’ve seen a few bad security updates go thru which get yanked pretty quickly as well. But hey, I’m all about proactive security patching :P.

        The audio stuff is annoying, but thankfully will have major benefits for us going into the future (its the lite version of the initial change to WDDM in Vista all over again with the moving to DCH).

  • You can stop Windows Update hassling you for a bit on Home by disabling it services.msc. It’ll eventually reactivate itself, but it should last long enough to avoid poorly QAed updates

  • The best way to avoid feature updates is to buy a cheap laptop with a 32GB drive. That way if there is an update you won’t be able to install it, even if you uninstall every last piece of software on it, delete every single bit of data on there and plug in a USB to add extra space. It will still tell you that you need to make more space on the drive.

  • Alternatively when those muggle options gets reset due to the orchestrator, solve the problem with scripting

    Create a batch script disabling 2x services;
    wuauserv (windows updater)
    UsoSvc (Update Orchestrator, turns on windows updates if disabled lol)

    create a scheduled task to run on logon and run silently…
    Profit?
    what updates lol, now I choose when to do them 😀

  • I had the same patch go through and I haven’t had any issues (yet). Then again, the only game I’ve touched since was WoW and that’s already a sub-optimal disaster of a game.

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