Windows

How to Turn Off Automatic App Updates in Windows 10

Ben Stegner Updated 12-06-2020

Most of the time, automatic app updates are convenient. Not having to check for new versions regularly saves you time and keeps your apps secure.

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However, sometimes you might want to stop apps from auto-updating. Maybe the latest version is bugged, or you need an older version for a specific reason. We’ll show you how to stop the auto-update feature in apps on Windows 10, where possible.

How to Stop Auto-Update of Store Apps in Windows 10

While it’s probably not your main source for downloading software, the Microsoft Store is home to lots of apps. Check out the differences between desktop and Store apps Desktop vs. Microsoft Store Apps: Which Should You Download? Should you get your Windows apps from the Microsoft Store, or use traditional desktop programs? Here are the main differences. Read More if you’re not familiar.

Since the Microsoft Store provides a centralized place for downloading apps, turning off auto-update for it is simple. Type Microsoft Store into the Start Menu to launch it. Once it’s open, click the three-dot Menu button at the top-right and choose Settings.

On the Settings page, disable the Update apps automatically slider. That’s all you have to do—now Store apps won’t update in the background.

Microsoft Store Automatic App Updates

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To update apps manually in the future, open the Menu again, and select Downloads and updates. There, you’ll see any pending updates and can install them one-by-one or all at once with the Update all link.

How to Stop Auto-Update in Windows Desktop Apps

While the process for Store apps is pretty simple, you might want to disable auto-updates for traditional desktop software too. Unfortunately, this isn’t consistent across programs, so you’ll have to do a bit of digging for your particular app.

Some desktop apps have a toggle to disable automatic updates in their Settings panel. For example, Visual Studio Code has a checkbox to disable background updates in its Settings, plus a dropdown box to choose how it delivers updates.

Visual Studio Code Updates

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Unfortunately, many apps (such as Dropbox, Spotify, and Slack) don’t have an easy toggle to disable updates. Because they receive updates regularly, their apps check for and install new versions when you launch the app.

In some cases, you can block the apps from updating by changing the permissions in their app data folders or through Command Prompt commands, but we wouldn’t recommend this unless you absolutely have to. These are hacky workarounds that could stop working in the future, and it’s safer to install the new versions anyway.

If you must disable auto-update for an app like this, searching Google for specific instructions for that app is your best bet, since it varies so much.

If you really want to block updates for a particular program, you can use Windows Firewall to prevent it from getting online. However, this is only suitable for apps that don’t require network access to function. Follow the first method in our guide to blocking Internet Explorer from accessing the internet How to Block Internet Explorer From Accessing the Internet Wondering how to disable Internet Explorer? Here's how to block Internet Explorer from accessing the internet and remove it. Read More for help with this.

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How to Turn Off Automatic Windows Updates

Windows 10 Windows Update Paused

As you probably know, Windows 10 automatically updates itself all the time. If you want to prevent this, we’ve shown some ways to turn off Windows update 7 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 Windows Update keeps your system patched and safe. In Windows 10 you're at the mercy of Microsoft's schedule unless you know hidden settings and tweaks. So, keep Windows Update under control. Read More .

Most of them are temporary; if you do have to turn off Windows Update, you should turn it back on again before long to make sure you have the latest security updates. This will help if you don’t want your system to restart from updates or need to keep a buggy update away for a bit, though.

If You’re Having Problems With an App

Chances are that if you’re looking to disable automatic updates, you probably have an issue with the latest version of the app. If that’s the case, you may be able to fix the issue without disabling updates.

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First, reboot your PC if you haven’t already. This simple step can help clear up issues, even if only one app is having a problem.

After that, try fully uninstalling and reinstalling the program. This could clear up any corrupted files that are causing it to crash or perform poorly. You should also try temporarily disabling your antivirus software, which can interfere with proper app performance.

It’s also worth running a Windows system file checker (SFC) scan to look for any OS file issues. To do so, right-click on the Start button (or press Win + X) and click Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the list. Then enter this command:

sfc /scannow

This will take some time but if it finds problems SFC will attempt to fix them automatically.

In case you’re having problems with a Store app, see our Windows 10 Store app troubleshooting guide 8 Tips to Fix Microsoft Store and App Issues in Windows 10 Do you have issues with the Microsoft Store or its apps not downloading? Follow these troubleshooting steps to fix the problems. Read More . Otherwise, consider trying some free Windows tools that help fix issues The Best Free Windows 10 Repair Tools to Fix Any Problem If you're running into system problems or rogue settings, you should use these free Windows 10 repair tools to fix your PC. Read More .

Keep Your Software Up-to-Date

Keep in mind that we’ve shown you how to stop programs from updating for troubleshooting purposes. In most cases, you should let apps update automatically, as this protects your system. Running outdated copies of software exposes you to security holes in previous versions.

Thus, after you’re done turning off automatic updates for troubleshooting purposes, make sure you know how to update everything on your Windows 10 PC How to Update Windows, Apps, and Drivers: The Complete Guide Updating your computer's software is important, but how do you check for all those updates? We'll show you how to update everything in Windows. Read More .

Related topics: Software Updater, Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows Tips, Windows Update.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Kevin Go
    March 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    this is not true I have had all these setting in the OFF position since I installed the free upgrade from w7 to w10 home edition,

    the question at the top could be a program installed like these listed below.
    http://bgr.com/2015/08/14/windows-10-spying-prevention-privacy-tools/

    as similar messages appeared in my pc setting , I had a similar program to block M$
    it appears they block setting and install an Admin above your admin, limiting the ability to alter certain settings. My theory anyway.

  2. B Senthil Kumaran
    November 19, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks a lot. It's much useful to all.

  3. B Senthil Kumaran
    November 19, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Really useful one. Thanks a lot.

  4. DIYA
    October 10, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Hello,

    On my latest install of Windows 10 on my laptop, the background (borders) for movies that don't fill the whole screen is white when playing with the "Movies & TV" app in fullscreen mode. All of my other machines have a black background. I've upgraded to the latest version (all are the same on my laptops) but this one computer still shows white, any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. William Ameling
    August 6, 2016 at 1:22 am

    My problem is that the WindowsUpdate\Automatic App Update is preventing me from doing a power shutdown because Windows says that program is still running and I can not even get to it to tell it to shutdown. So I have to tell the power shut down manually to shut down anyway.

  6. Luxen
    March 4, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I absolutely hate not having an option to install or refuse an update, especially when I don't want an update. Skype? Don't care for it. Bing? I could care less. Why should I be forced to install this type of software when I don't want it? Or drivers or some features like updates for Microsoft Edge, etc.

    I would rather spend years on an unsupported version or move to a different OS altogether.

    • zvgfdg
      June 10, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      *I couldn't care less. "I could care less" means you do care to some degree.

  7. Anonymous
    August 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Disabling the "Windows Update" service does the trick to prevent automatic updates on windows 10 home.

    It is a piss poor decision to make mandatory updates without having some way for advanced users to disable them.

    Thankfully there will always be unofficial methods to force Windows to function how we want it to.

    • Bruce Epper
      August 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Yup. You certainly can stop updates by disabling the service, but then you are stopping **all** updates including critical security updates which is another piss poor decision. A means to avoid a problem is not the same thing as a solution to the problem.

      So, are you suggesting W10H users manually search for all critical security updates daily to see if there is anything they need to manually download and apply to their system to close the holes being exploited by zero-days? Or do you think they are better off not getting those either which is what Microsoft's decision was trying to prevent?

      • Anonymous
        September 1, 2015 at 8:12 pm

        I am suggesting that they should have an option for advanced users to choose when they wish to update, and what updates they wish to install.

        It's not hard to do, considering that is the way it works with previous versions of windows.

        IF I upgraded to windows 10...and at this point that is looking less likely every day... I will disable the windows update service...and go without ANY updates. I have done it in the past and have gone years between updates...with ZERO problems.

        No hacks, no malware, no problems.

        I am not saying that everybody should do that, but there should ALWAYS be an option to not have software try to make decisions for me.

        • Bruce Epper
          September 1, 2015 at 11:14 pm

          So, how will it be known you are an advanced user who knows how to avoid a lot of the traps that suck machines into botnets? Just take your word for it when you change the settings? So it will give us exactly the same environment that Microsoft wants to discourage - unpatched machines infected and incorporated into botnets wreaking havoc on every other machine on the web.

          Having the option would be very good from my perspective as an experienced user and technician, but a large number of Windows users don't know what the sane response would be regarding updating their system so Microsoft has simply taken out of everyone's hands.

        • Anonymous
          September 2, 2015 at 10:32 am

          I wasn't suggesting that they make the option easy to find, just that there is an option.

          They can have it install on their recommended settings and leave it up to the advanced users to find after the installation is done.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 2, 2015 at 6:59 am

          I do agree with Snake Bite here, Bruce. It's not an unreasonable request. I appreciate MS is trying to make it easier for non-techie folks, but it can't hurt to give an option to those who understand tech.

        • Bruce Epper
          September 2, 2015 at 11:05 am

          The whole problem with providing that type of option is keeping it available only to those who truly understand the potential impact.

          Everybody knows exactly what would happen if this was embedded in the system. One person would find it, document it, publish it and the world would have it twenty minutes later via a Google search.

          And I don't believe for a moment that Microsoft implemented these changes to "make it easier for non-techie folks". It is primarily meant to provide a more consistent platform for developers. As a side effect it also protects users and their fellow netizens from the consequences of unpatched systems.

          I do believe that they went too far by including Store apps in the Home edition and drivers in all editions. I have yet to see anything that constitutes a required update for a driver. And for the gaming and high-performance crowd, Microsoft's WHQL certification track for drivers just takes too long.

          By the time one driver gets through the process it has already been superseded by one or two newer versions that offer performance tweaks for the latest games. Gamers are likely to already have the latest video driver installed for their card but Windows 10 seems to enjoy rolling back to the last one to pass WHQL testing instead of just keeping the latest one already installed.

  8. Anonymous
    August 15, 2015 at 12:09 am

    The problem with automatic updates is that many of these updates require the computer to restart in order to finish installing them. And the updates are quite unexpected.

    Which means that anyone who regularly keeps programs running and use sleep mode when not using the computer are screwed if they have unsaved information when the OS automatically and without warning updates.

    • Bruce Epper
      September 1, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      The restarts are required because of how Microsoft chose to delineate kernel-space and user-space software. Overall system performance was a bigger factor in some of their design decisions rather than availability or up-time.

      It is not without warning and the reboot can be delayed up to 3 days. If you can't find the time to allow a reboot during the course of 72 hours, you should rethink the amount of work being done on that machine.

      • Anonymous
        September 3, 2015 at 3:50 am

        Yeah I wasn't saying that the restarts are stupid... we've had restart-required updates in pretty much all the OS versions.

        However, when I posted my comment, I believe Microsoft had not yet implemented that scheduling option. Since then I have seen the option (and the notifications that updates were imminent and which point to the option) to delay. It is definitely an improvement. Of course many would rather opt to indefinitely delay any updates they wanted, but for me this is an adequate solution.

  9. Anonymous
    August 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    ...., and/or change to flatrate.

  10. Anonymous
    August 14, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Why on earth would you want to turn off automatic updates?

    • Anonymous
      August 14, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Because I access internet through a mobile data plan and I need to control my bandwidth.

      • Bruce Epper
        August 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm

        In that case, you shouldn't want to disable the updates, just change the connection settings to 'Metered'. It will prevent all updates until you are on a non-metered connection. Just be aware that this will reduce the level of security of your system until you do get the appropriate security updates applied to your installation.

        • Anonymous
          August 16, 2015 at 3:25 pm

          This doesn't work for people with bandwidth caps who connect via a wired connection.

    • Anonymous
      August 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Set it to WiFi only.

    • Anonymous
      August 15, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      I support 36 Windows computers in a lab setting with a 128kbps external network connection. The machines get reset periodically. The computers are on OEM rather than volume (Enterprise) Windows licensing, so they're on the Pro version of Windows. I already turned off Windows updates via Group Policy (which in my experimentation seems to be working), but since I really don't want to spend $2500 on a Windows Server license + CALs just so I can deploy a local Windows Updates Server and actually control updates and since I don't want all 36 of those machines re-downloading hundreds of megabytes of updates once a month, I'd rather just turn updates off and let them be.

      • Bruce Epper
        September 1, 2015 at 10:40 pm

        If you look at the advanced options under the Windows Update settings, you will find that you can restrict the Internet usage by allowing your computers to get the downloads from Microsoft and other machines on your network. Once you have the full set between all of your machines, it should stop looking at the Microsoft servers for the updates, i.e. they will only be downloaded once, not 36 times.

        • Anonymous
          September 1, 2015 at 11:44 pm

          Because of the speed of the connection, the practical outcome of that would be that 36 machines each trying to download update #1, then 36 machines trying to download update #2. I can't rely on having a clean Windows 10 machine on the same LAN that already has the updates, so it's just as well to not bother at all.

          But as I said, the GPO method for disabling updates seems to have worked.

        • Bruce Epper
          September 2, 2015 at 11:16 am

          With Microsoft's objectives using a distributed model for downloading updates, it is unlikely that your outcome would happen. I am assuming (yeah, I know, bad word) that they thought about how this would work.

          The most likely course of action would be for Windows Update to first check with other machines on the local network to see if they have update X. If a local machine has the update, get it from there. If not, then check if another machine on the local network is currently downloading update X. If one is already downloading it, check for the next update that is needed. If not, then go and download it from the Internet/Microsoft depending on your update settings.

          The whole point was to not only reduce the load on the Microsoft Update servers, but to reduce the amount of data needed to pull all of the required updates onto other networks.

          When I get some time, I will need to set up a bunch of Win10 devices and a sniffer to test it, but I don't think I am too far off the mark.

  11. Anonymous
    August 14, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I recently had the Pleasure!? of using a friends computer, he had had it for over 18 months it didn't have an anti virus running and it hadn't once received any Windows updates. Some people think its ok not to update their computer until of course it dies. It took several hours to install all the updates and then install a free anti virus.
    This is why windows update is now compulsory for the home edition.

    • Bruce Epper
      August 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      It is a compelling reason to force this on many users, but it is already causing problems for some users. There have already been patches released that have caused systems to fail to boot, enter boot loops, and install device drivers that are problematic on the system.

      I think Microsoft will have to back off on some of the forced updates, particularly drivers and possibly apps from the Store. There has been a great deal of backlash on both of those items.

      • Anonymous
        August 15, 2015 at 1:46 am

        I am no IT professional so I wonder why this only affects some computers and not all. I will admit to having to roll back Win8.1 when my computer wouldn't connect to the internet. I have since upgraded again but mainly because I kept being nagged to upgrade lol

    • Anonymous
      September 1, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      I am an IT professional. I would prefer to have the option to install or not to install. I would also like the option to set when to install.

      Windows updating while I am using my computer is a pain in the ass. It slows everything down, hogs my bandwidth and nags me to reboot my computer.

      At least with every version of windows prior to 10, I can set these options on my home version of windows. If Microsoft wants to give users the option of upgrading to pro instead of home I may upgrade.
      Since that is unlikely, I will not be upgrading to 10 anytime in the near future....or perhaps ever.

      Windows 7 still works fine for me (Windows vista does as well on my second machine. I have never had a problem with it).