7 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10
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Windows Update keeps your system patched and safe with security updates.

In Windows 10, however, Microsoft also uses Windows Update to deploy minor quality updates once a month and major feature updates twice a year. 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 works in the background, and keeps 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.

Pro 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, you can use Microsoft’s free product key for upgrading to Windows 10 Pro to go from the Home to the Pro edition. However, this still requires proper activation, for example with a Windows 7 Pro key.

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

VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T

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

Enter Windows 10 Product Key

Enter the product key, then click Next. Windows 10 will then ask you to save your work and close your apps, before it restarts to apply the changes. This is like any other feature upgrade, which might change settings, but you won’t lose your data or your installed programs and apps.

Upgrade Windows 10 Edition to Pro

Once the installation has completed, you’ll need to activate it with a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Pro key.

Keep Windows Update Under Control

1. Save Bandwidth on Metered Connections

On a metered connection, Windows won’t download feature updates, though it might still download critical patches.

The “metered connection” option is the easiest method to consistently block most updates. It’s available on all Windows 10 editions, including Windows 10 Home. On early Windows versions, this tweak did not work if you were hooked up to an Ethernet cable. If you’re running the Windows 10 Creators Update (1703) or later, however, you can set both a Wi-Fi and an Ethernet connection as metered How to Set Your Wi-Fi and Ethernet Connection as Metered in Windows 10 How to Set Your Wi-Fi and Ethernet Connection as Metered in Windows 10 In Windows 10, you can set your Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection as metered. This will limit the data consumption by Windows Update and other background apps. Here's how to set it up. Read More .

Note: You can only apply the setting while you are connected to the respective network.

To mark your internet connection as metered, 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: You can always go to Windows Update and manually start the download and installation. Or you can go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options and allow Windows to automatically download updates, even over metered data connections (charges may apply).

2. Pause Updates for up to Seven Days

Microsoft has added an option to temporarily pause updates. This setting is perfect for when you just need a quick break from resource-intense updates or when you don’t want Windows to proceed with installing an update it has already downloaded. This option is not available to Windows 10 Home users.

To pause Windows Update, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options and under Pause Updates set the slider to On. Now updates won’t install for up to seven days or until you turn the option off.

Windows 10 pause updates for up to 7 days

Should you have had updates pending for a restart when engaging this setting, your Windows Update screen will now have a Resume updates button. Clicking this button will unpause updates.

Windows 10 Updates Paused

Once the seven days are up, you will have to install any pending updates before you can pause Windows Update again.

3. 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 How to Access the Group Policy Editor, Even in Windows Home & Settings to Try How to Access the Group Policy Editor, Even in Windows Home & Settings to Try Group Policy is a power tool that lets you access advanced system settings. We'll show you how to access it or set it up in Windows Home and 5+ powerful Group Policies to boot. Read More , 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.

4. Delay Updates Until They Are Safe

The following options are great if you only want to temporarily opt out of quality or feature updates. Delaying updates can buy you time and make sure bugs won’t affect you. After the grace period has passed, the deferred updates will be deployed automatically. By this time, however, Microsoft should have fixed any issues identified during the initial rollout. This option is not available to users of the Home edition.

Note: The defer upgrades setting used to sit in the Settings app. With recent feature updates, however, Microsoft moved it entirely to the Group Policy Editor.

How to Defer Feature Updates for up to 365 Days

In the Group Policy Editor (see instructions above), go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business and open the setting Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received.

Windows 10 Configure Feature Updates

Set this policy to Enabled, choose your Windows readiness level (pictured in the screenshot above are options for the Windows 10 Insider Preview; your options may differ), and enter the number of days (maximum 365 days) for which you want to defer the Preview Build or Feature Update. Additionally, you can set a start date for the deferral.

How to Defer Quality Updates for Up to 30 Days

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business and open the setting Select when Quality Updates are received.

Windows 10 Configure Quality Updates

Whish this setting Enabled, you can defer receiving quality updates for up to 30 days. You can also pause quality updates starting on a date of your choice, which will pause them for up to 35 days, i.e. 5 days more than deferring them.

5. Block Updates During Active Hours

Users who are running a current Windows 10 version 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 Set Active Hours

Note: You are limited to a range of 18 hours.

6. Time the Installation of Downloaded Updates

Once Windows Update has downloaded new material, it’s a matter of hours until you have to restart and let Windows apply the updates. When you have updates pending, you can schedule a restart.

Go to Windows Update and next to the “restart now” button, select schedule the restart. After you set the option to On, you can choose a time and date up to six days in the future.

Windows 10 Schedule Restart Time

We highly recommend that you choose the advanced We’ll show a reminder when we’re going to restart (formerly “Notify to schedule restart”) option 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 Windows Update Advanced Options

7. 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.

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 Microsoft 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 super 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 Microsoft Store, click the three-dotted menu icon (See more) next to your profile image, choose Settings, and turn Update apps automatically Off.

Windows Store Automatic App Updates

To manually trigger updates, go to See more > Download and updates, press the Get updates (previously “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 Microsoft Store apps doesn’t have any security implications because these applications run in a sandbox The Best Sandbox Tools to Safely Test Windows Programs The Best Sandbox Tools to Safely Test Windows Programs When testing a new program, use a sandbox environment to protect your system from harmful software. Read More 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 software and 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.

So, are you ready for the next Windows Update? What has been your most troublesome Windows Update experience so far? Note that if you run into problems, there are ways to resolve a stuck 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 .

Explore more about: Core, Windows 10, Windows Store, Windows Upgrade.

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  1. Powell Jarvis Sinclair
    June 25, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    After reading your article, "5 ways to temporarily, turn off windows update windows 10"; I would like to add, that if all else fails; if you just simply, disconnect your internet connection, that would prevent windows 10 from installing any updates onto your computer.
    Mind you, you may not be able to surf the internet; and your computer might not work properly; but, windows 10 won't be installing anymore updates on your computer.
    But, that might not be an option that some of you might want to take; but, it is an option, non the less.
    That's just my technical advice.
    P.S. I love the great advice that this website has to offer; I will be checking back, from time to time, to see what other great articles that can help me with my computer technical troubles.

    Yours truly,

    Powell Jarvis Sinclair

  2. Casey Harris Sr
    May 17, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you for your article. I found it and your terrific agency while preparing for (in 2017) the Windows 10 Creator Update. UGH! I want to stall the update as long as humanly possible, but I do not know how to bring up/to find what Windows 10 version my system is on. Here is hoping you have a "comments alerts' setting, then have time to help. Thank you again. ALSO will no longer run AdBlock when visiting your URL.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 17, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you for turning off AdBlock at MakeUseOf.com, Casey!

      To find out which version of Windows 10 you're on, press the Windows key or open the Start Menu and type winver, then hit Enter. This should bring up "About Windows", which tells you the exact OS version and build. 1703 is the Creators Update, while 1607 is the Anniversary Update.

      You can also go into Settings (Windows key + I) > System > About to see details about your system, including its version.

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

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

  4. 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.