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Windows Update has changed Windows Update: Everything You Need to Know Windows Update: Everything You Need to Know Is Windows Update enabled on your PC? Windows Update protects you from security vulnerabilities by keeping Windows, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. Read More significantly in Windows 10. Gone are the days when users could block security patches and driver updates. Microsoft has simplified and automated the Windows Update process at the expense of transparency.

We show you how Windows Update works now and how you can still customize it to your needs and preferences.

What’s the Deal with Windows Update?

In Windows 10, updates are mandatory and more automatized than in previous Windows versions. Some Windows 10 editions include the option to defer upgrades for a limited time. Security updates however are excluded from this option; everyone receives them automatically.

Meanwhile, Windows 10 Home users have to deal with all updates and upgrades being downloaded and installed in the background, often combined with a scheduled reboot. Security patches, new features, and settings changes are force-fed alike, some bordering on bloat and adware How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop Windows 10 may be crossing a line with desktop ads and NSFW content. Microsoft and third-party developers can push promotional material directly onto your desktop. We show you how you can defend yourself. Read More . The only time when updates won’t auto-download is when the device is on a metered connection.

In many ways, Windows Update is now easier to use and safer Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What's more... Read More for the average person. Unless a user is willing and able to use advanced tools, they won’t miss another security update 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates The code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn't perfect, we all know that. Security patches and updates fix the vulnerabilities... Read More . From the safety perspective, automated updates are a blessing for this digital age riddled with malware and the never ceasing presence of Windows XP Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon People cannot let go of Windows XP. In businesses and homes the world over, it will stick around. We spoke with three Windows XP users from different generations and backgrounds to find out why. Read More . On the other hand, users are at the mercy of Microsoft, a company not exactly known for never messing up Why Microsoft Sucks - Again (Opinion) Why Microsoft Sucks - Again (Opinion) In 2011 I wrote an op-ed piece (for a different website…!) about how I felt that Microsoft had moved away from being the many-tentacled corporate beast with no interest in providing a solid, working operating... Read More .

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Let’s see how you can make the best of it.

The Windows Update Basics

Windows Update can work entirely in the background. It will only require your attention when it’s time to reboot. With the right settings, however, you won’t even notice that anymore.

Check on Updates

To review your Windows Update settings, head to Settings (Windows key + I) > Update & Security > Windows Update. Click Check for updates to see which updates are currently available.

Windows 10 Windows Update

You might come to this screen and see updates waiting to be installed. That’s because Windows regularly checks for updates in the background.

Customize Automatic & Scheduled Restart

Under Advanced options you can customize how updates are installed. We prefer the setting Notify to schedule restart, rather than the recommended Automatic setting. With the Automatic setting enabled, Windows will pick a time when you don’t use your computer to reboot.

Windows 10 Advanced Windows Update Options

Manually Start and Schedule Updates

When you manually trigger the installation of an update (from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update), you can either let Windows schedule a restart during a time you usually don’t use your device or select a restart time yourself. You can schedule the reboot up to 6 days in the future. Of course you can also click Restart now to be done with it immediately.

Windows 10 Windows Update Restart

Note that even if you manually schedule a restart time, Windows won’t force reboot when it turns out you’re busy using your computer at the selected time. It will offer to delay the restart by what it estimates to be the best time.

Windows 10 Scheduled Restart

How to Defer Upgrades & Updates

The option to Defer upgrades is available in some Windows 10 editions, including Pro, Education, and Enterprise. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options to see whether you have it; by default the option is disabled. By checking Defer upgrades, feature upgrades like the Windows 10 Fall Update An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update The Windows 10 Fall Update contains many minor improvements, a few feature updates, and a bunch of new settings. We show you what to expect and which default settings you might want to adjust. Read More are delayed for 4 – 12 months, depending on other settings.

All Windows 10 editions should feature the option to Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows. When selected, you will receive updates for Microsoft applications, such as Microsoft Office or Edge.

Windows 10 Advanced Options

The Settings app only features a simplified version of the options available to you. If you would like to specify for how long an upgrade should be deferred, you’ll have to work with the Group Policy Editor and use a new setting introduced with the November Upgrade.

Open the Start Menu and type gpedit.msc, then select Edit group policy from the list. Inside the Local Group Policy Editor, browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update and double-click the Defer Upgrades and Updates entry. Note that you can even delay updates for up to four weeks.

Defer Upgrades and Updates

You will see that using the Group Policy Editor, you can defer upgrades for a maximum of eight months. According to Microsoft representative Hammoudi Samir, this is in addition to the four months upgrades are deferred when the option in the Settings app is selected.

Interestingly, you can temporarily Pause Upgrades and Updates until the next monthly update rolls around. This feature is useful in case an upgrade has caused issues and had to be removed.

Uninstall Updates

While you cannot prevent certain updates from being installed, it’s still possible to remove them manually.

Uninstall Updates via the Control Panel

Head to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options > View your update history and choose the option Uninstall updates, which will open a Control Panel window Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified If you want to be the master of your Windows experience, the Control Panel is where it's at. We untangle the complexity of this power tool. Read More . Alternatively, right-click the Start button, select Control Panel, and go to Programs > View installed updates.

You will only see the most recently installed updates. Select the one you would like to remove and click Uninstall in the menu on top.

Windows 10 Uninstall Updates

Show or Hide Driver Updates Troubleshooter

In addition to replacing updated drivers via the Device Manager How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? First, don't fix it if it ain't broke! If drivers do need updating, though, here are your options. Read More or uninstalling recent updates via the Control Panel, Microsoft has also released a troubleshooter that allows you to hide driver updates and thus prevent Windows from reinstalling them until a revised version becomes available.

Download the troubleshooter wushowhide.diagcab from Microsoft; it’s a standalone application, no installation required. From the initial screen click Next.

Windows 10 Show or Hide Updates

The troubleshooter will now detect problems and look for driver updates installed on your system. On the following screen, you can either choose to Hide updates or Show hidden updates.

Windows 10 Hide Updates

Click Hide updates, select the offending update/s, and click Next to resolve the issue.

Windows 10 Hide Updates List

To restore an update, select Show hidden updates from the respective screen, select the hidden update, and click Next.

Windows 10 Show Hidden Updates

The troubleshooter will do its magic and you should finally see a confirmation that problems were resolved.

Windows 10 Hide Updates Troubleshooter

Windows Update Network Settings

In Windows 10, Windows Update offers easy to manage network-related settings that you should examine to avoid exceeding your bandwidth limit or incurring extra charges on a mobile data plan.

Set Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO)

Windows 10 can receive updates from other PCs in your network or on the Internet, which preserves Microsoft server capacity. This option could potentially be abused to introduce altered updates. When limiting WUDO to devices within your local network, however, it can conserve your Internet bandwidth.

To toggle WUDO, head to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options > Choose how updates are delivered. When turned On, you can switch between PCs on my local network or PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet.

Windows 10 Update Delivery

Set Up Metered Connections

On Windows 10, Windows Update won’t run if you’re on a metered connection. To ensure Windows won’t waste your limited bandwidth, open Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, connect to the metered connection, maybe a Wi-Fi hotspot you’re tethering from your mobile Tethering: How To Use Mobile Internet On Your PC Tethering: How To Use Mobile Internet On Your PC Want to share your phone's data connection with your computer? Here's exactly how to do it, how fast you can expect it to be, and how it will affect your battery life. Read More , then click Advanced options, and toggle Set as metered connection to On.

Windows 10 Metered Connection

Now Windows 10 won’t download updates while you’re connected to this network.

Enable System Restore

Uninstalling and hiding troublesome updates may not be sufficient. If you can’t risk being surprised by a faulty update, we strongly recommend enabling System Restore. In case an update didn’t go so smoothly, you will be able to simply roll back to when everything was OK.

Go to Start, type restore, and select Create a restore point. An old-fashioned System Properties window will launch. In the System Protection tab, select your system drive, and click Configure… In the new window, select Turn on system protection, define the Max Usage space you can dedicate, and click OK to save your changes.

Windows 10 System Restore

Back in the previous window, you can now manually Create… your first restore point. New restore points will be created whenever changes are made to your system, which includes the installation of security updates and feature upgrades.

Ready to Update?

For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. For everyone else, it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. Designed to operate in the background, Windows Update automatically keeps your system safe and running smoothly.

What is your impression of Windows Update in Windows 10 so far? Have you had any issues or are you satisfied with how little it interferes with your work? Which controls are you missing? Please let us know your experience and opinion in the comments!

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