Microsoft first introduced a new Windows Update mechanism in Windows 10 with users getting less control than before on how their computers go about searching for, downloading, and installing Windows updates.
Users with devices running the Home edition of Windows 10 could not refuse updates or even defer them. The standard options required to apply those changes were non-existent, anyway, in those builds of Windows 10. In other words, Windows got programmed to download and install updates even when the users are busy working on their computers.
Since you are on this page – which means you are here to find out how to disable Windows updates – we actually do not have to waste time spelling out the inconveniences associated with the automatic update mechanism in Windows.
If your PC is running the Pro or Enterprise edition of Windows 10, then you can take advantage of the options – most of which always existed – that allow you to delay updates or defer them. Well, you have considerably more control over the Windows Update process (especially when compared to Windows 10 Home users).
Microsoft believes that the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows are used in the corporate world or by real-time users. Subsequently, it pledged to push updates less frequently to those categories of users so that they experience minimum downtime.
Should I turn off Windows 10 updates?
Windows updates are useful in that they help to keep your device secure and furnished with the latest features. Microsoft provides patches to existing vulnerabilities in Windows code and introduces new functionalities to improve things in Windows through Windows updates.
Windows Update is important to almost every user category, but its shortcomings and struggles cannot be ignored. Microsoft sometimes pushes updates with bugs or inconsistencies, which means users end up struggling with problems they know nothing about. Besides the issues associated with problematic updates, the automatic download or installation configuration for Windows updates tends to bring its own problems.
If you consider Windows Update too much trouble for you to handle, then you might be justified in wanting to turn it off. However, we do not recommend that you disable it permanently or indefinitely. You are better off using the options that allow you to delay the download and installation of updates until a convenient period when you can do things yourself.
If you want nothing to do with Windows updates, though, then you we cannot stop you. We can only warn you that there are security risks associated with using a system that has not been updated in a long time.
In this guide, we will show you how to perform all the possible operations against Windows updates like temporarily disabling updates and even permanently disabling updates.
How to temporarily disable updates on Windows 10
Use the newly introduced Pause updates option:
With the release of Windows 10 Version 1903 (Windows 10 May 2019 major upgrade), Microsoft finally made good on its promise to offer an option that allows even Windows 10 Home users to pause updates. Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise users have always been afforded the delay choice, though.
Go through these steps to pause updates temporarily on any edition of the latest Windows 10 build:
- First, you must open the Settings program. You can do this by pressing the Windows logo button on your PC’s keyboard (and holding that button) and then moving on to tap the letter I key.
- Assuming the Settings application window is up, you should see Update and Security in the menu screen. Click on it.
You are supposed to end up on the Windows Update menu since it is the first item on the list close to the left pane (under the Update and Security).
- On the right pane, you should see the Advanced options link, which you have to click on. The Pause updates button should be visible now.
- Click on the Pause updates switch (to toggle it on). You will see a notification stating that updates have been put on hold for a specific period.
If you are a Windows 10 Home user, then Windows updates can be paused for up to 7 days. If you are a Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise user, then Windows updates can be paused for up 35 days.
Now, we have to tell you that the Pause updates option here allows users to defer only cumulative updates (the most frequent form of Windows updates). Feature updates, on the other hand, will be still downloaded and installed (if they ever become available during the delay period enforced). Microsoft releases feature updates twice a year so if your system is running the latest build of Windows already – which was introduced by the last feature update in May 2019 – then the Pause updates option is still very useful.
Anyway, if you change your mind on delaying the update, you can open the Settings app and head to the screen or menu you worked on and toggle off the Pause option switch. In such a scenario, Windows will act to fetch, run, and install the available updates or you can initiate the update operations with your own hands.
If your device is running an iteration of Windows 10 Home older than Windows 10 version 1903, then you will not see the Pause option. You have to make do with unorthodox methods of forcing Windows to stop the downloading and installation of updates.
Disable Windows updates temporarily by stopping the Windows Update Service:
The Windows Update Service handles the downloading and installation of Windows updates, so if you can get it to stop functioning, then Windows Update operations will become handicapped on your computer. The proposed procedure is hardly foolproof, though.
Some reports indicate that Windows sometimes restarts the service after users put it down, which means this method of temporarily disabling Windows updates is not guaranteed to be successful all the time on some PCs. If it proves effective on your system, then you will consider it useful. If it fails to deliver the needed results, then you must check out other methods.
Follow these instructions to stop the Windows Update Service on your computer:
- First, you must launch the Services app:
Bring up the Windows Start menu by clicking on the Windows icon situated at the bottom-left corner of your PC’s screen (or by giving the Windows logo button on your device’s keyboard a tap).
Type Services into the text field (that appears once you begin to type). Services (App) will emerge as the main item on the returned search results list. Click on it.
- Assuming the Services app window is up, you should be able to go through the list of services there. Once you see the Windows Update Service, you must double-click on it.
The Windows Update Service Properties window will be displayed now.
- Under the General tab, you should see the Service status field. If it reads running, you must click on the Stop button (below that menu) to get Windows to terminate the ongoing operations for the service.
- Look at the Startup type field, click the drop-down menu beside it to see the available options. You must choose Disabled.
- Your work on the Properties window for the selected service is done. Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button to save the new configuration.
- You are now free to close the Services app.
If you later find yourself needing to download and install Windows updates – assuming this procedure was effective on your computer – then you have to open the Services program and undo the changes you made on the Properties window for the Windows Update Service. In other words, you have to reintroduce the previous configuration used by the service so that Windows Update components can function the way they are supposed to work.
Set your network connection to metered to prevent the downloading of Windows updates on your computer:
This method is probably the most common procedure used by Windows 10 Home users to disable Windows updates on their computers. Here, they basically tell Windows that their bandwidth is limited (their data usage being capped) – regardless of this being true or not – so that their systems get restricted from downloading updates. Of course, like regular files obtained from the web, Windows needs some data or bandwidth to fetch the update packages from Microsoft servers.
Microsoft does not believe that data usage on Ethernet connections are capped, though, so the Metered connection setting only applies to wireless internet connections (WI-FI). If you use a cable to connect your PC to the internet, then you are out of luck – you cannot use this procedure.
Follow these instructions to set your network connection to metered:
- First, you have to open the Settings app. You can use the Windows logo button + letter I keyboard shortcut to do the job here.
- After the Settings application window comes up, you should see Network and Internet (one of the options available on the menu screen). Click on it.
- Check the options listed close to the left-pane area and click on WI-FI. On the following screen, you should see the WI-FI network your computer is connected to currently. Click on it to enter its menu screen.
If you intend to work on a different WI-FI network (not the one you are connected to currently), then you have to click on the Manage known network link to see the saved networks and then click on the WI-FI network.
- Assuming you are on the options screen for the WI-FI network, you should see a toggle under Metered connection. Click on the Set as metered connection switch (to put it on).
- You can perform this same operation on other WIFI networks that your computer uses or connects to so that your system never gets the opportunity to fetch Windows Update packages.
As long as you configured your computer correctly to see your wireless networks as metered connections, then Windows will not download its updates.
- You can close the Settings app and move on.
How do I permanently disable Windows 10 updates?
These procedures we are about to outline are much more effective in preventing the downloading or installation of Windows updates on computers for long periods, but some of them are exclusive to certain editions of the Windows 10 operating system. Windows 10 Home users, for example, still have fewer means to permanently disable Windows updates on their systems – if they even manage to do it at all.
How to disable automatic updates on Windows 10 through the Group Policy program:
Only Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise users get to use this procedure. Unfortunately, the Local Group Policy Editor program is inaccessible (by default) on computers running the Home edition of Windows 10. It can be installed or introduced manually, but the steps on doing that are beyond the scope of our work here.
The operations here are relatively easy to process, so they probably constitute the best method of getting Windows to stop downloading and installing updates. Follow these instructions to disable Windows updates permanently:
- First, you must open the Local Group Policy Editor program window.
Use the Windows logo button on your device’s keyboard (by tapping it once) or the Windows icon on your PC’s screen (by clicking on it) to display the Windows Start menu screen.
This time, Gpedit is the keyword you input into the text field (that shows up once you begin to type) to perform a search operation quickly. Edit group policy (Control Panel) will emerge as the main item on the results list, and you must click on it.
- Assuming the required program window is up, you must start from Computer Configuration (on the area close to the left pane), and then navigate through the following directories: Computer Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Windows Components \ Windows Update
- Go through the items listed on the area close to the right pane. You must find the Configure Automatic Updates policy. Double-click on it.
The properties window for Configure Automatic updates will be displayed now.
- Click on the radio button for Disabled (to select this option). This way, the policy gets turned off.
- Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button to complete your work on the window.
With the right policy disabled, Windows will no longer download and install updates automatically (without getting some input from you). However, you still can download and install updates manually by initiating the update check operation in Settings (using the Check for updates button).
Anyway, if you later change your mind on the job you did here, you can easily reverse the changes. You have to open the same Local Group Policy Editor, navigate through the appropriate path to locate the Configure Automatic Updates policy and set it to Not Configured (on its properties window).
If Windows still fetches and installs updates without your knowledge even after you disabled that policy, then you must customize Windows Update settings through the same policy. Go through these steps:
- Open the Local Group Policy Editor app (the way you did the job earlier). Navigate through the same path to see the available policies on Windows Update: Computer Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Windows Components \ Windows Update
- Again, you must double-click on the Configure Automatic Updates policy to enter its configuration pane. Click on the radio button for Enabled (to use this option).
- Now, you must move on to the Options section to do some work there. We can outline the available choices this way:
- 2 – Notify for download and auto install.
- 3 – Auto download and notify for install.
- 4 – Auto download and schedule the install.
- 5 – Allow local admin to choose setting.
- We recommend that you go with this option: 2 – Notify for download and auto install.
If any other option suits your needs better than the one we advised you to choose, you are free to select it now.
- Like before, you still have to click on the Apply and OK buttons to round up your job here.
With the new settings, depending on the choice you made, updates will be handled differently.
If you went with the option we recommended, for example, Windows will stop downloading updates automatically. Basically, when Microsoft releases a new update, you will get a notification to download and install updates manually (through operations performed on the Windows Update screen in the Settings app) and you can decide to proceed with things or turn down the request.
How to disable automatic updates on Windows 10 through the registry:
If you are used to working on the registry or just prefer doing things through the Registry Editor app, then this procedure is an alternative method of doing the same job (disabling Windows updates). The major catch here is the reminder about the risks or dangers of working on the registry.
Go through these steps:
- First, you must launch the Registry Editor program:
Bring up the Windows Start menu screen (using any of the methods we provided earlier). This time, regedit is the keyword you must input into the text field to perform a search operation.
Once Registry Editor (App) emerges as the main item on the results list, you must click on it to proceed.
Click on the Yes button on the UAC prompt (or confirmation window).
- Assuming the Registry Editor window is now up on your screen, you have to start with Computer (close to the top-left pane area) and then navigate through the following directories: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows
- Right-click on Windows (your destination folder) to see some options, click on New and then choose Key (from the sublist).
- You are about to create a new key. You must type WindowsUpdate into its field for Name and then hit the Enter key to proceed with things.
- Here, you must right-click on the newly created key, click on New (from the options) and then choose Key again (from the sublist). AU is the text you must fill into the field for Name this time. Tap the Enter button to save it.
- Now, you must do a right-click on the right-pane area (inside the AU key you created) to see some options and then click on New. This time, from the sublist, you must choose DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- You must type NoAutoUpdate into the field for Name (for the value) and then tap the Enter button to create the value.
- Here, you must double-click on NoAutoUpdate to force its Edit window to show up, input0 into its Value data field, and then click on the OK button to save the changes.
- Close the program you worked in and restart your computer.
Windows will no longer try to download and install updates automatically (without your knowledge). If you ever decide to install updates, then you can do the job using the Check update option in the Settings app.
If the introduced NoAutoUpdate value fails to do the job, then you must use the same instructions (above) to create a new value in the last folder there with AUOptions as its name and save it. You must then double-click on it and change its Value data using this guideline:
- 2 – Notify for download and auto install.
- 3 – Auto download and notify for install.
- 4 – Auto download and schedule the install.
- 5 – Allow local admin to choose setting.
Those options correspond to the ones used in the Group Policy; they even work the same way. We recommended that you use 2 as the figure for Value data. To restore your computer’s original settings, you must delete the keys and values you created.
The same caveats (under the 4th procedure) hold here.
While keeping your system updated is a good security recommendation, you must learn about other important things users do to keep their computers safe from viruses and malware. You can get a superb protection utility like Auslogics Anti-Malware to operate alongside your antivirus (or the security program you have running). This way, your computer gets furnished with more top-level protection layers and setups than before to keep out threats.