As you use Windows 10, it will automatically update with new features and quality improvements. In most cases, this process runs automatically, ensuring that you always have the most recent version of Windows. We’ll show you how to pause Windows Update and why you might want to do so in this guide.
Open the Settings app and navigate to the “Update & security” section. Your next steps will vary depending on which version of Windows 10 you’re using. The October 2018 Update, version 1809, is the most recent public release of Windows 10. If you’re using a newer version, such as the Insider Preview builds for version 19H1, skip to the “19H1 Changes” section below.
1809 and older
The option to pause updates is only available in Windows 10 Pro in 1809 and older builds. Home users will have to wait until 19H1 is released – see the notes below for more information.
Launch the Settings app and select the “Update & security” category if you’re using Windows 10 Pro. Click the “Advanced options” link on the “Windows Update” page that appears.
To disable Windows Update, move the toggle button to the “On” position under the “Pause Updates” heading. The change will be in effect for 35 days, during which time no updates will be applied. When updates are re-enabled, the screen notifies you.
Return to the settings page and disable the setting if you want to remove the update block earlier than the 35-day period. Your device will automatically install all pending updates when the block is removed – whether manually or at the end of the 35-day period. You won’t be able to pause updates again until this procedure is finished.
This option allows you to pause any and all updates with just a single click. However, you should exercise caution before employing it. There are two types of updates, and you don’t have to suspend both.
Monthly quality updates are released, which include critical bug fixes and security enhancements. Your device may be at risk if you don’t apply these patches. However, quality updates – also known as cumulative updates – have been known to cause problems in the past. If you’re aware that a new update is causing problems for your device, pausing Windows Update may be the best option.
By scrolling down to the “Choose when updates are installed” header, you can choose to pause only quality updates. To choose how many days to delay updates, use the drop-down menu at the bottom of the screen. Quality updates can be disabled for up to 30 days without affecting other types of updates.
Every six months, a new feature update is released. They give Windows 10 new capabilities, as the name implies. They’re much larger update packages that include a new operating system build. Update times are longer, changes are more significant, and your device will restart multiple times as the new release is applied. Compatibility issues are most commonly found in feature updates, such as the recent October 2018 Update, which caused a slew of issues.
Using the selection box at the bottom of the “Advanced options” screen, feature updates can be delayed for up to a year. During the specified time period, Windows will not attempt any automatic build upgrades. This allows you to stay safe on your current build while new releases are discovered and patched for any issues.
In the current 19H1 Insider Preview builds, the “pause updates” experience has been revamped. The option to pause updates is now accessible from the main Windows Update settings page, rather than from the “Advanced options” section. For the first time, it’s also available to Windows 10 Home users, giving everyone more control over the update process.
Unfortunately, it appears that some of the more advanced aspects of the experience have been lost. Instead of the 35 days offered in version 1809, updates can only be paused for 7 days. Additionally, we discovered that the individual feature and quality update deferral options have been completely removed from the interface.
Due to the fact that 19H1 is still in development, it’s possible that these features will return before the public release. In its current state, 19H1 gives Home users control for the first time, but it is a step backward for Pro customers. We’ll keep an eye on the situation and update this guide as more information becomes available.
Related: How to Determine If You’re Running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 10
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