How to Prevent Windows 10 Automatic Updates

How to Prevent Windows 10 Automatic Updates

/ Shayne Sherman

One of the most controversial features of Windows 10 since its release has been its automatic update feature. In previous versions of Windows, the user had control over when and if to install updates.

Windows 10 took that right away, for the most part. Even users with upgraded versions, such as Windows 10 Professional, found their ability to delay updates impeded and sometimes removed.

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Still, there are some ways to delay specific updates from automatically occurring.

Should I Disable Windows 10 Updates?

For most people, automatic updates make life easier. Updates frequently contain security measures that keep your computer safe, and automatic updates maintain your computer in the background.

Those users who wish to stop automatic updates also have many reasons to prevent them. Sometimes, the user doesn’t want Microsoft to have that much control.

Bad past experiences

Sometimes the user wishes to stop automatic updates because of past experiences with bad updates that were pushed out too quickly and caused more computer problems than they fixed.

System Resource Consumption

Another problem users have with automatic updates is that they run in the background and consume processing power. If a user is doing intensive work, it may cause the computer to freeze.

Windows 10 does allow you to choose 18 hours of the day in which you work, but this does not mean updates will never interfere with what you are doing.

Troublesome Update Known to Cause Issues

Finally, the most important reason to prevent updates from occurring is to encounter a troublesome update and uninstall it only to find Windows 10 automatically reinstalling it. Follow the methods below to prevent an update known to cause problems from automatically installing itself.

See Also: Solve the Failure Configuring Windows Updates Reverting Changes Error on Your Computer

How to Prevent Windows 10 Updates

Windows 10 has several versions. In some of these versions, such as the Education and Enterprise versions, it is much easier to delay updates to the system.

Windows 10 Professional allows users more control over updates (before the Anniversary edition). Still, it isn’t easy to prevent automatic updates in it as in the Windows 10 Home version.

Because of this, most of the methods we discuss will be options for Windows Pro or Home users unless otherwise noted.

Disable Windows Update in the Service Menu

This method will stop updates from occurring by turning off the service. The downside is that it prevents all updates, including important security updates, from happening.

Also, you may periodically have to check to ensure Windows Update remains disabled. After restarting or manually checking for updates, the service may restart.

Step #1

Type “Services” into the search bar without quotation marks. Choose the corresponding “Services” option.

run services as administrator

Step #2

Scroll down through the Services menu in the window that appears until you find “Windows Update.”

windows update in services

Step #3

Right-click on “Windows Update.” Choose “Properties” from the menu that appears.

Step #4

In the Properties window, choose “Disable” from the drop-down menu. Then click “Stop” to currently stop the service. Finally, select “Apply” (if available) and “OK.”

windows update properties

If you use this method, you should periodically check for Windows updates manually.

When you do these checks, you will need to do them several times in a row since updates are cumulative and will not be detected unless the previous ones are all installed.

If you think this would be burdensome, use one of the other methods below.

Switch to the Metered Connection Setting

Setting your computer to a metered connection will allow automatic security updates to continue while stopping updates that Microsoft does not consider a “Priority.”

However, this setting will not allow automatic updates for any apps or games you use.

In addition, you can’t use this method if you have an Ethernet connection because it only works for WiFi connections.

See Also: How to Fix: WiFi Doesn’t Have a Valid IP Configuration

Step #1

Click on the “Settings” icon in the Start Menu.

start button settings

Step #2

Choose “Network & Internet” from the Settings window.

network and internet settings

Step #3

Click the “WiFi” option that appears on the left side menu. You should see the name of your Internet connection on the right side. Click on that.

wifi name

Step #4

In the new window that appears, scroll down to “Metered Connection” and turn it “On.”

metered connection

If you use several WiFi connections, you will need to repeat these steps for each one when connected.

Use the Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter

Microsoft released a special troubleshooter that prevents troublesome updates from reinstalling after uninstalling them.

This is the best method to use if you only want to prevent specific updates from installing.

Step #1

The Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter is available only on the Microsoft website. Visit the website and click the link to Download the “Show or hide updates” troubleshooter package now link, and follow the instructions for downloading and installing it.

download show or hide updates troubleshooter package

Step #2

Open the troubleshooter after you install it and follow the onscreen prompts to hide the bothersome update.

show or hide updates

Step #3

As soon as you have hidden the update(s), you can uninstall the update, and it should not automatically reinstall. To uninstall an update, go to the Start menu and type “Settings.” Then choose “Updates & Security.”

windows update and security

Step #4

Next, pick “Windows Update” from the menu on the left of the window and choose “View installed update history.”

view installed updated history

Step #5

When the update history appears, choose “Uninstall Updates” from near the top of the window.

click uninstall updates

Step #6

Choose the update you wish to uninstall from the list of updates and click “Uninstall.”

confirm windows update uninstallation

Remember, this method will not work for most security updates, but it can resolve issues you may have with other automatic updates.

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Stop Windows App Store Updates

If you want to allow Microsoft to continue updating your system but don’t want all your Microsoft Store apps automatically updating, you can quickly turn those updates off.

Step #1

Type “Store” into the search bar without quotation marks. Select the “Microsoft Store” option.

launch microsoft store

Step #2

When the Microsoft Store opens, look for the … icon in the right corner and click it. On the drop-down menu, select “Settings.”

microsoft store settings

Step #3

In the store settings menu, look under “App Updates” and click the button to switch automatic updates to “Off.”

disable windows app updates

This method gives you control over whether or not to have the Microsoft app store automatically update any apps you have installed on your computer.

Using the Group Policy Editor to Stop Updates

This method will only work if you have the Group Policy Editor on your computer. That means if you are using Windows 10 Home, you will not be able to do this.

Some Windows 10 Professional (Pro) users and Windows 10 Enterprise and Education users will be able to use this method to prevent updates from automatically occurring.

Step #1

First, simultaneously press the [R] and the [Windows] keys. When the Run box opens, type “gpedit.msc” without quotation marks into the prompt.

When you hit [Enter], the group policy editor should open. If you get an error message stating windows could not find the file, you don’t have the Group Policy Editor on your computer, and you need to try one of the other methods.

gpedit msc

Step #2

From the file list on the left, select “Computer Configuration” and then “Administrative Templates.”

local computer policy

Step #3

Now select “Windows Components” and then “Windows Update.” Click on the option on the right to “Configure Automatic Updates.”

configure automatic updates

Step #4

Choose “Disable.” If you want to leave automatic updates enabled but be notified before downloading them, leave them “Enabled” marked and choose “2—Notify for download and notify for install” from the drop-down menu under “Options.”

After making your selection, click “Apply” and “OK.”

choose disable automatic updates

Step #5

To fully apply the changes, you must type “Windows Update” into the Start menu and select “Windows Update Settings.” Then, check for updates.

Windows should notify you if it finds them but should no longer automatically install them.

check updates

Step #6

Finally, restart your computer by clicking on the Power icon in the Start menu and choosing “Restart.”

restart computer

Those who have Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education, or some Windows 10 Professional versions will not be able to find the settings for controlling Windows updates as quickly as they could in the past. However, they still have most of the original options available to them.

Editing the Registry to Stop Automatic Windows 10 Updates

This is the most powerful method for getting rid of Automatic Updates, and editing the registry should only be done with extreme care. Also, you should always perform a full system backup before attempting this.

Even if done correctly, a registry edit can cause unwanted side effects worse than having the updates forced on you.

Step #1

To enter the registry, simultaneously press the [R] and the [Windows] keys. This opens the run box, where you can type “regedit” without quotation marks into the prompt.

Then hit [Enter]. The computer will warn you that the registry app wants to make changes. Click “Yes” to proceed.

regedit

Step #2

From the list on the left select “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and then “SOFTWARE.”

software folder

Step #3

Continue through the list, choosing “Policies” and “Microsoft.”

microsoft regedit folder

Step #4

Right-click the “Windows” folder and select “New,” and then “Key.” This creates an entry that you should immediately rename “WindowsUpdate.”

windows folder regedit

Step #5

Right-click on the newly created “WindowsUpdate” and again select “New” and “Key.” This time name the key “AU.” Open this new key by clicking on it.

You should see the right side populate with a list. Right-click on the right side and select “New” and then “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”

new dword value

Step #6

Name the new key “AUOptions” and hit [Enter] on your keyboard. When this new key appears, double-click on it and change the value to “2.”

This option allows Windows to notify you before downloading and installing updates. Click “OK” and close the registry.

dword 32 bit value data

This method allows those who do not have the Group Policy Editor to use the same options as those who do.

All of these methods are effective for stopping automatic updates, but you must choose the one that best meets your needs for stopping the updates.

If you stop Windows updates, keep in mind that you should still check for updates to keep your system safe from exploits.

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Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert on all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. Aside from entertaining at his home theater, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie.