Updated by Tina Sieber on April 9, 2017.
The rollout for the Windows 10 Creators Update will launch on April 11. An early update will be available to advanced users from April 5. Meanwhile, Windows Insiders have had access to the release candidate since late March and Microsoft just released the ISO files for download.
Are you eager to play with the Creators Update? Or would you rather pass on it for as long as you can? We’ll show you how to get the next major Windows 10 update on your own schedule.
Update: Microsoft has updated its Media Creation Tool to support Windows 10 version 1703 (Creators Update). This allows you to prepare a clean installation of Windows 10. Alternatively, you can use the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant directly from Microsoft’s website (use the Media Creation Tool link above). Just click the Update now button and follow through the process.
Try It Right Now: Become an Insider
The Windows Insider program is Microsoft’s fast lane to playing with new features. And until the Creators Update rolls out officially, it’s the only way to receive a copy of the latest version of Windows 10.
Join the Insider Program to Download ISO Files
Microsoft just released the ISO files for the RTM version of the Creators Update. To download them, however, you first need to sign up for the Windows Insider Program.
Once you’re an Insider, head to the Windows Insider Preview Downloads section, log in, and select which Build you’d like to download.
These ISO files will allow you to install the Windows 10 Insider Preview from scratch.
Switch to the Windows 10 Insider Preview
If you’re already running Windows 10, you can switch from the public build to the Insider Preview build from within Windows.
To “become one of the first to see future updates and improvements to Windows,” including the Windows Creators Update, open the Settings app (Windows key + I) and head to Update & security > Windows Insider Program.
Before you hit the Get Started button, make sure to Link a Microsoft account to your system. You’ll need it to join the Insider Program. Next, sign up for the Insider program here. Then, finally, you can switch over from the public to the insider build.
To install the Insider Preview, you might have to head to Settings > Privacy > Feedback & diagnostics to set the degree to which Windows shares Diagnostic and usage data with Microsoft to Full (Recommended).
Note: We don’t recommend running the Insider Preview on a machine you depend on for work. To be safe, prepare a system image before you switch.
Manage Your Insider Settings
Once in the Insider program, you can switch to the Slow Ring to slightly delay updates. This is a compromise that puts you on the safe side in case Microsoft releases an unstable build.
To do this, go to Settings > Windows Insider Program and change the pace of getting new builds from Fast to Slow.
If required, you can Stop Insider Preview builds by selecting the respective button.
Note: Rolling back to a public build essentially means reinstalling that version of Windows. Alternatively, you can Pause updates for a bit.
Upgrade ASAP: Prepare Windows 10 1607
The Insider Preview is a risk. If you’re not keen on participating in an experiment, but still want the latest stable Windows version as soon as it becomes available, follow the Windows Update route. Advanced users can also use the Update Assistant to upgrade early starting on April 5.
Windows Update Route
First, be patient. Microsoft rolls out Windows 10 upgrades based on the likelihood they will run well on your hardware. This largely depends on whether or not Microsoft has data from Windows Insiders confirming that the Creators Update will run smoothly on your system. In other words, if you have a state-of-the-art computer or hardware that’s been validated by Insiders, you’ll receive the Creators Update more quickly than users on older or untested hardware.
Furthermore, make sure you didn’t Defer feature updates. Open the Settings app and go to Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.
Finally, if you’re using Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, make sure you’ve downloaded and installed all recent Windows updates. Head back to Windows Update and Check for updates.
Eventually, Windows will give you the option to initiate the upgrade from Windows 10 version 1607, the Anniversary Update, to version 1703, the Creators Update. Keep checking for updates through the Settings app and be patient.
Windows 10 Update Assistant
Starting on April 5, you can manually initiate the installation of the Creators Update through the Windows 10 Update Assistant. This feature is not yet available, but we’ll update this section once we know more.
Avoid the Upgrade: Defer Feature Updates
Maybe you’d rather not be among the first to upgrade to the next version of Windows. If you’ve had bad experiences with the Anniversary Update, it’s wise to wait. So if you feel the urge to prevent Windows from upgrading you automatically, here’s what you can do.
Note: To check which edition and build of Windows 10 you’re running, right-click Start (or press Windows key + X) to launch the Quick Access menu, also known as power user menu. From there, open System, and check what it says next to Edition.
Windows 10 Professional Edition
As mentioned above, the Anniversary Update offers the option to Defer feature updates. Open Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options and check the respective box.
This setting will delay the upgrade for up to four months. That’s enough time for Microsoft to fix any major issues that didn’t surface among Windows Insiders. Beyond that time frame, you’ll have to temporarily disable Windows Update to not receive the Creators Update.
Windows 10 Home Edition
If you’re running Windows 10 Home, you won’t see the option to defer feature updates. Your only option to avoid the Creators Update is to shut down Windows Update. The easiest way for Home users to do this is to set your internet connection to metered. (Professional users have additional options.)
Connect to your Wi-Fi network. Then open Settings > Network & internet > Wifi, click the Wifi network you’re connected to, and under Metered connection flip the switch from Off to On. Now Windows will not download updates via this connection.
Note: This method will also block security-related updates. However, based on the issues the Anniversary Update caused, it might be safer to avoid the Creators Update for the first month or two, until Microsoft has patched up all the worst issues. That said, the Creators Update comes with new security features that warrant an upgrade eventually.
Unfortunately, you cannot set your Ethernet connection to metered unless you’re willing to use a batch file workaround. Remember, as soon as you connect to a Wi-Fi network that you didn’t set to metered, Windows will automatically check for updates and download them. Keep this in mind when you switch networks with your computer.
Ready, Set, Update
Whether or not you’re looking forward to the Creators Update, you’re now all set to receive Windows 10 updates at your preferred pace. And if you’ve not yet upgraded to Windows 10, we hear the backdoor still works!
Now we’d love to hear from you! Are you in the early- or late-upgrade camp and why? What new features are you anticipating? Is there anything about Windows 10 upgrades that freaks you out?
Please leave your comments below, I read them all!