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How to manage Windows 10 updates to prevent them from ruining your life



How can I stop Windows 10 updates? Whether it's preventing Windows 10 from starting a critical update during a presentation or postponing Microsoft's Windows 10 feature update due to data loss concerns, it's a question we've all asked. You should not block all Windows 10 updates. But you can manage them.

Feature updates and security updates for Windows 10 provide a valuable service: they not only patch Windows, its apps and components, but provide new features and capabilities twice a year. Windows Update can also provide automatically updated drivers for hardware connected to your PC, such as a USB connected printer.

It is not an academic issue. Microsoft struggled with the consequences of the Windows 1

0 October 2018 Update, which apparently deleted and put on hold user data in an undisclosed number of cases, then resumed. Would you like to buy a car if it even had a 0.001 percent chance of exploding? Probably not – that's why it's good to know how to manage Windows 10 updates now and in the future.

  Microsoft Windows 10 windows update main Mark Hachman / IDG

This is the main Windows Update screen, which will notify you when updates are pending. If you click the Update Now button, Microsoft will be asked if updates are available.

Three Tools to Manage Updates with Windows 10 Home

When building a PC, you have two choices of Microsoft's Windows 10 Operating System: Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Home can be the cheaper alternative, at $ 139. But at $ 200, Windows 10 Pro also offers some benefits. (You may be able to take advantage of PCWorld's special deal: a Windows 10 Pro license for $ 40.)

We previously identified five features that would make you want to switch from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, but in this case we would add a sixth: the ability to more finely manage Windows updates. On the other hand, since Microsoft developed Windows, more control has also been given to Windows 10 Home users.

Normally, Windows 10 updates – both periodic security updates and bi-annual feature updates – will arrive on your PC almost as soon as they are released unless you tell Windows not to. Don't worry though, as both Windows Home and Pro users have some protection against an unexpected Windows 10 update: Active Hours, Restart Reminders, Measured Updates, and the ability to pause and defer updates.

  Update for Microsoft Windows 10 Windows Advanced Options Mark Hachman / IDG

Windows 10 Home users see this Advanced Options page. Always make sure that the "We will display a reminder" option is turned on, and it's not a bad idea to let Windows manage updates for other Microsoft products as well.

Let's talk first about your options for the periodic patches and security updates that Microsoft offers. To access them, first navigate to the Windows 10 Settings menu and then to Home> Update & Security> Windows Update> Advanced Options.

Active Hours can be a Windows 10 Home user's most powerful weapon against unexpected Windows 10 updates. (This setting can be found in Home> Update & Security> Windows Update> Change Active Hours.) Here you can tell Windows when you are actively using your PC and when Windows should not need to update. The default is office hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but you can set a window up to 18 hours later than the start time. Active hours should not allow the update to take place during that period. Be careful because the update can still start, for example, at 4am, when Active Hours is turned off and you're not on your PC.

  Microsoft Windows 10 Active Hours Mark Hachman / IDG [19659006] Active Hours are the other active defenses against an unexpected Windows update. Make sure they are turned on and configured when using the PC.

Even if that happens, however, you should receive a reminder via Windows restart reminders, the check box that tells you "We will show a reminder when we restart." Even if all else fails. , checking this box should prompt you with a message that Windows will eventually restart and install and update, giving you some time to save and shut down your work. An update was underway when I was sitting at the PC and working with active hours turned on Windows was not updated during active hours but I could remind myself to save everything before I left at night. via Cortana can help.)

It's not perfect: for example, if you are having lunch, the message may appear and it will be gone by the time you return, but at least one must be alert in your notifications that an update is on the way.

Preventing Windows updates from downloading from downloading through measured connections can be a sneaky way to avoid a potentially unwanted Windows update. Windows now recognizes that some users have measured data connections, with strict limits on the number of data they can download per month. Microsoft can politely prevent you from downloading updates over a metered connection, so you don't pay any extra fees.

  Microsoft Windows 10 measured connection Mark Hachman / IDG

You can set a wireless connection to "measured" ”To help limit unwanted Windows updates. Your router name will appear at the top.

However, Windows does not know whether a connection is being measured. (And yes, you can lie.) Designate your broadband connection as a metered connection by going to Settings> Network & Internet and then changing Connection Properties. Here you see a switch to Set as measured connection . Then you can go back to the advanced options of Windows Update and switch Updates on metered connections. .. to Uit.

Unfortunately, the default behavior when your PC is connected to Ethernet is to think that your PC has an unmeasured connection. And when you're connected to Wi-Fi, Windows is probably still downloading “ priority '' updates, so this can't really be considered a watertight solution. If you have multiple Wi-Fi connections available then you also have to set them all as metered which is a pain.

Pausing Updates: In Windows 10 Home, you can also pause and defer incremental updates. Microsoft has added a quick shortcut to the Windows Update screen, so you can easily "tap" on updates if you're on a short business trip.

Windows 10 Home also offers an option to defer the feature ] updates, such as the major Windows bi-annual updates such as the Windows 10 May 2020 update. Before, you couldn't postpone a feature update in Windows 10 Home. In 2019, Microsoft added the option to delay all updates, including feature updates, by up to 35 days. To enable this, enter the Settings> Windows Update and then click the Advanced Options button. Scroll down to & # 39; Pause updates & # 39; and select the desired date, up to 35 days off. However, that's as far as you can go.

A slightly more convenient option is Windows 10 Pro.

Windows 10 Pro allows you to defer updates

All of the settings and options above are available in Windows 10 Pro, but there are some additional options that let you choose when to install updates. If you own a Windows 10 Home PC, you can upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro for $ 99 from the Windows Store app, or you can use this Microsoft Store link from a Windows 10 Home machine . Our Windows 10 Pro license for $ 40 may also apply.

  windows 10 pro management options Mark Hachman / IDG

The additional red circled options have been made available with Windows 10 Pro, although they are now not visible to the average user.

Microsoft made some changes over time, hiding some of the complexity from Pro users and merging the experience with the Home edition during the 2019 feature updates. (If you're working on an Enterprise or Education edition of Windows, your experience may be different: your PC may be centrally managed by an IT department or another administrator who has set a specific policy for your PC.)

For example, Windows 10 Pro devices used to offer options for placing PCs in the semi-annual channel (targeted), and only in a vanilla semi-annual channel. These options may still be available, but only for your IT administrator in a business environment.

Essentially, Windows 10 Pro offers everything Windows 10 Home offers to manage incremental updates, plus additional control over managing feature updates for Windows 10. The main reason for upgrading to Windows 10 Pro, at least in terms of managing updates is the ability to delay Windows feature updates for up to 365 days. But the mechanism for doing this has now changed.

  Windows 10 Pro Postpone Feature Updates Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft still allows Pro users to postpone updates for up to 365 days, but this is also an outdated menu

You can always interrupt all updates via Windows for 35 days, just like Windows 10 Home. But before, you could interrupt feature updates for up to 365 days through the Windows Update menu of Windows 10 Settings. No longer

Yes, you can still postpone feature updates for up to 365 days. But Windows Pro users will now have to do it through the Group Policy menu, a control usually reserved for system administrators. This change is new to the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004), as explained in this Windows support document. While it applies to Windows Update for Business, Pro users are likely to suffer from it.

Here's how Microsoft describes the change. "Last year, we changed the update installation policy for Windows 10 to only target devices with a feature update version nearing the end of the service. As a result, many devices are only updated once a year. To ensure that all devices can make the most of this policy change and to avoid confusion, we have removed suspensions from the Windows Update Settings page Advanced Options from Windows 10 version 2004. "

Instead If To continue to take advantage of deferral, you must use the Group Policy checks, which are only available on Windows 10 Pro. The easiest way to access this is to simply type gspedit.msc in the Windows search box or edit group policy in the same box. From there you need to walk through the menus: Computer Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> Windows Update> Windows Update for Business> Select when to receive Preview builds and Feature Updates or Select when to receive Quality Updates.

  windows 10 pro local group policy editor Mark Hachman / IDG

Delaying Windows 10 updates now takes more effort than before.

The caveat in all of these things is, of course, that Windows 10 is an evolving platform and Microsoft occasionally adds, subtracts or modifies the behavior of various functions. Others, like our earlier tip on upgrading Windows, but to prevent it from restarting unexpectedly, may work now but silently shut down in the future. Fortunately, Microsoft seems to have adopted and applied some of the more useful elements of patching management from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro.

Updated June 30, 2020 to reflect the changes that were made to the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004)

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