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Windows Update How to Find Out Every Last Thing About Windows Update How to Find Out Every Last Thing About Windows Update Once a month on Patch Tuesday, Microsoft releases cumulative updates to all Windows users. We'll show you how to gather information about updates and which Windows Update settings you should be aware of. Read More keeps your system patched and safe.

In Windows 10, however, Microsoft also uses Windows Update to deploy undesired feature updates and major upgrades to the operating system. This can overburden limited Internet connections because Windows Update will download gigabytes of data. Since updates are applied automatically, restarts could also strike at inconvenient times.

Learning how to manage Windows Update How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. It's designed to operate in the background, automatically keeping your system safe and running smoothly. We show you how it works and what you can customize. Read More will put you in control of your updates. Here we have compiled all of the hidden settings and tweaks that can help you keep interruptions, and surprising changes caused by Windows Update, at bay.

Tip: Update to Windows 10 Pro

Several of the tips below are not available to Windows 10 Home users. If at all possible, upgrade to Windows 10 Pro How to Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Professional Edition How to Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Professional Edition Windows 10 Home users are missing several subtle features. Pro users, for example, can temporarily defer Windows updates. We show you how you can upgrade to the Pro edition to regain some control over Windows... Read More because it offers additional features in regards to controlling Windows Update. You can buy the upgrade or apply an existing Windows 7 or 8 Pro product key to your current Windows 10 Home installation. Unfortunately, Windows 10 Pro is not a free upgrade.

As an intermediary step, given you’re running Windows 10 version 1511 (November Update), you can use Microsoft’s free product key for upgrading to Windows 10 Pro Microsoft Just Released a Free Key for Windows 10 Pro Microsoft Just Released a Free Key for Windows 10 Pro A free product key for Windows 10 Pro is floating around, but what does it mean and how can you take advantage of it? Read More to quickly go from Home to Pro edition. However, this still requires proper activation The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ One of the big confusions surrounding Windows 10 concerns its licensing and activation. This FAQ will shed some light, explain what has changed with Windows 10 version 1511 (Fall Update), and translate activation-related error codes. Read More , for example with a Windows 7 Pro key.

If you’d like to try that, here is Microsoft’s Windows 10 Pro key:

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Head to Settings (Windows key + I) > Update & security > Activation > Change product key and enter the key above.

Windows 10 Product Key

Keep Windows Update Under Control

1. Save Bandwidth on Metered Connections

Here is an easy method to block all updates while you’re on a metered connection. It’s available to any Windows 10 users (including Home edition users), who are connecting to the Internet through a wireless connection. This tweak does not work if you’re hooked up to an Ethernet cable. You can only apply the setting while you are connected to the respective wireless network.

Head to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, select the network you’re currently connected to, and under Metered connection > Set as metered connection turn the switch On.

Windows 10 Metered Connection

Note: While you’re on a metered connection, Windows Update won’t download any updates, including security patches! You can, however, go to Windows Update and manually start the download and installation.

2. Get Notified Before Updates Are Downloaded

You can make Windows 10 notify you when updates are available and manually trigger the download. This helps users with a low bandwidth or limited Internet connection. Unfortunately, this trick only works if you have access to the Group Policy Editor, which excludes Home users.

Press the Start button, type Edit Group Policy, and open the respective result. Now head to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update and open Configure Automatic Updates. Enable the setting and under Configure automatic updating, choose 2 – Notify for download and notify for install.

Configure Automatic Updates

The next time updates are available, you will see a notification in the Action Center that You need some updates. Selecting the message will take you to Windows Update, where you have to click the Download button to initiate the update process.

Note: Enabling this setting will disable some options under Windows Update in the Settings app, such as Notify to download (mentioned below).

This method was originally reported by Anand of The Windows Club.

3. Delay Upgrades Until They Are Safe

The defer upgrades option is great, if you only want to opt out of feature upgrades. It won’t affect security updates. However, after the grace period, the deferred upgrades will be deployed automatically. This option is not available to users of the Home edition.

To enable this, open Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options and set a check mark next to Defer upgrades.

Windows 10 Advanced Options

To determine for how long the upgrades will be deferred, you’ll have to head into the Group Policy Editor (see above). Inside the editor, head to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update and open the setting Defer Upgrades and Updates.

Defer Upgrades and Updates

When this setting is Enabled, you can set the time for which upgrades (max. 8 months) and updates (max. 4 weeks) should be deferred. You can also Pause Upgrades and Updates. You should only ever defer (security) updates, when you can’t risk Patch Tuesday to interrupt or jeopardize an important project. But always be aware that catching malware Which Websites Are Most Likely to Infect You with Malware? Which Websites Are Most Likely to Infect You with Malware? You might think that porn sites, the Dark web or other unsavory websites are the most likely places for your computer to be infected with malware. But you would be wrong. Read More could be worse.

4a. Time Installation of Updates (November Update)

Once Windows Update has downloaded new material, it’s a matter of hours until you have to restart and let Windows apply the updates. If you’re running Windows 10 version 1511, you can Select a restart time, while you’re still working.

Windows 10 Windows Update Restart

We highly recommend that you choose Notify to schedule restart under Windows Update > Advanced options, so that Windows won’t try to determine the best time to restart on its own. Otherwise, you could find Windows caught in what might appear to be an infinite update cycle as you return from your lunch break.

Windows 10 Advanced Windows Update Options

4b. Block Updates During Active Hours (Anniversary Update)

Users who are running the Windows 10 Insider Preview or the upcoming Anniversary Update Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features You will love the Windows 10 Anniversary Update! The second big upgrade to Windows 10 since its launch in July 2015 is expected this summer. Here we highlight the most exciting features. Read More can set active hours during which Windows Update will be blocked from restarting the device. The option is available under Windows Update > Change active hours.

Windows 10 Active Hours

Note: You are limited to a range of 10 hours.

5. Completely Disable Updates

As a last resort, here’s the one method that will really turn off updates, either completely or until you reboot your computer. It’s available in all editions of Windows 10.

Go to Start, type Administrative Tools, and open the matching result. Open Services > Windows Update. Below Service status, click Stop to shut down Windows Update until you reboot. Under Startup type, you can select Disabled to prevent it from booting with Windows.

Windows Update Properties

Remember to turn updates back on as soon as possible or proceed to manually install security updates, for example using Portable Update.

Block Troublesome Driver Updates

Starting with Windows 10, Windows Update also handles driver updates. These updates can be particularly fragile because Microsoft only deploys standard drivers. Those drivers may break your individual settings or introduce problems, although the manufacturer version worked perfectly fine. You can troubleshoot and block driver updates that have gone awry using Microsoft’s Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter (direct download).

Windows 10 Hide Updates List

You can also manually roll back damaging driver updates, install new drivers, and block future driver updates, as we’ve covered in detail in our Windows 10 Driver Update guide Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10 Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10 A bad Windows driver can ruin your day. In Windows 10, Windows Update automatically updates hardware drivers. If you suffer the consequences, let us show you how to roll back your driver and block future... Read More .

Disable Automatic Windows Store App Updates

Not too long ago we published a lengthy tutorial on how to disable automatic updates for Windows Store apps How To Turn Off Automatic App Updates In Windows 10 How To Turn Off Automatic App Updates In Windows 10 Deactivating system updates isn't advised. But if need be, here's how you do it on Windows 10. Read More . Shortly after, Microsoft made this option very simple for users of the Pro edition of Windows 10 (see above for upgrade tips); we updated the article.

Briefly, as a Windows 10 Pro users, you can launch the Windows Store, click your Profile, choose Settings, and turn Update apps automatically Off.

Windows Store Automatic App Updates

To manually trigger updates, go to Profile > Download and updates, press the Check for updates button, and after the scan has completed click Update all or update individual apps by clicking the download arrow to their far right.

Windows Store Check for Updates

Choosing not to update Windows Store apps doesn’t have any security implications because these applications run in a sandbox that restricts interaction with the rest of the operating system. By sticking with an old version, however, you might miss out on bug fixes or new features.

A New Windows Update Is Coming Soon

The Windows 10 update mania is a blessing as much as it is a curse. On the one hand, Microsoft can constantly improve the operating system and bless users with new options and features to play with. On the other, updates may also have undesired consequences 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately Microsoft made some questionable decisions with Windows 10. Some of its default settings should not be left alone. We show you how to improve privacy, conserve bandwidth, reduce distraction, and lots more. Read More or remove old features Windows 10 Can Auto-Remove Software Against Your Will Windows 10 Can Auto-Remove Software Against Your Will Windows 10 is uninstalling software it doesn't consider compatible. Have you been affected? We show you which applications you could lose and why. Read More you appreciated.

Are you prepared for the next Windows Update? What has been your most troublesome Windows Update How to Resolve Windows Update Problems in 5 Easy Steps How to Resolve Windows Update Problems in 5 Easy Steps Has Windows Update failed you? Maybe the download got stuck or the update refused to install. We'll show you how to fix the most common issues with Windows Update in Windows 10. Read More experience so far? Would you turn off feature updates selectively, if this was possible?

  1. conrad
    September 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    the second option helps from downloading unnecessary automatic updates on anniversary update

  2. Dusty
    April 28, 2016 at 2:42 am

    I absolutely HATE the way windows 10 home does its updates. It will just restart the computer right out from under my fingertips while I am using it! It is so obnoxious that I've decided that I am going to migrate to Macs. I will have to move my business machines, too, so that my devices will interoperate to the extent required by my use case, but I am just done with Microsoft. They should have stopped at Windows 7 because NOTHING they've done since has been anything but SUCK.

    • Tina Sieber
      April 29, 2016 at 7:22 am

      I feel your frustration!

      The Anniversary Update due on July 29 will bring some improvements: You will be able to set active hours during which Windows Update won't interrupt your work.

      This still kinda sucks because you are limited to a span of 10 hours. If they wanted it to introduce a real improvement, they'd allow you to set a core time, say 3 hours during the night, when you will never use your computer and when it's totally safe for Windows to install updates and reboot.

    • SC
      September 29, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Agreed, Windows update policy is horrible. I want to choose when my updates are installed. It used update when I shut down, now it is back to doing it when it wants to, since latest update on 9-27-16. I shut my PC off every time I am not going to use it for a while, I can't believe how many people leave their PC's on 24/7, that is just a ridiculous waste of energy, the power companies love you people, look at your electric bill. Also can lead to trouble with OS getting clogged up, best to shut it down when not in use.

      • Tina Sieber
        September 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        It's not just leaving your computer powered on 24/7; I use hibernate, so I don't have to close and restart my session every time. Hibernation doesn't use extra energy, it actually saves power because I don't have to spend extra time restarting my session.

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