Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs updates as they become available. To stop this, you can “pause” updates for up to 35 days with just a few clicks, even on Windows 10 Home. Here’s what you need to know about pausing Windows Update.
Pause updates for up to 35 days
First, launch the Settings screen. You can open the Start menu and click the “Settings”
Navigate to Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update.
Click on the option “Pause updates for 7 days”. Windows will not automatically download or install updates for the next 7 days.
You can click “Pause updates for 7 days” again to add more time to the pause period. When you reach 35 days, the option will be grayed out – that’s the maximum.
Note: When your pause period ends, Windows Update automatically downloads and installs all available updates before you can pause again.
Pause updates until a specific date
You can pause updates up to a specific date. In the Windows Update settings screen, click on ‘Advanced options’.
Scroll down to the Pause Updates section. Click on the “Select date” box and choose the date you want to resume updating Windows.
Scroll down this list and you can select a date up to 35 days in the future.
Note: When the date comes, Windows will automatically download and install all available updates before you can pause the update again.
How to Avoid Major Updates
Modern versions of Windows 10 give you more control over those major feature updates that Microsoft releases once every six months.
Windows will no longer automatically download and install these updates. If they are available, you will get them as options on the Windows Update screen. Just don’t click “Download and Install” underneath it, and it won’t install on your PC.
Note: Windows Update may eventually install these updates automatically, for example, if your current version of Windows 10 is near the end of its support period and your PC needs to upgrade to continue to receive security updates.
RELATED: Microsoft is leaving Windows 10’s constant forced updates
Pause updates longer
You can also take more control over updates by marking your connections as ‘metered’. This option is for connections where you have a limited amount of download data.
To mark a connection as metered, go to Settings> Network & Internet. Select “Wi-Fi” for a wireless connection or “Ethernet” for a wired connection. Click on the name of the network and activate the option “Set as metered connection”.
To stop Windows from automatically downloading updates on a metered connection, go to Settings> Update & security> Windows Update. Click on the “Advanced options” option and make sure that “Download updates over metered connections (additional charges may apply)” is set to “Off”.
Note: Windows Update will still automatically download updates on unmetered connections. For example, if you connect a laptop to another Wi-Fi network that is not marked as a metered network in Windows, the update will resume immediately.
RELATED: How, when, and why to set a connection as metered on Windows 10
Use Group Policy for more control
For businesses that want more control over updates, Microsoft offers a variety of “Windows Update for Business” options that can be configured in Group Policy or through MDM policies.
This policy requires a Professional, Enterprise, or Education version of Windows 10. It will not work with the standard Windows 10 Home software on most PCs.
However, you can change these settings through the Local Group Policy Editor on a Windows 10 Professional PC, and you can purchase a Windows 10 Professional upgrade from Microsoft to access Group Policy and other features, such as BitLocker Disk Encryption. So, if you are comfortable with Group Policy and are willing to pay extra for Windows 10 Professional, these options are available to home users.
In Group Policy, these options are located under Computer Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> Windows Update> Windows Update for Business.
For more information on how to configure these settings, see the official Microsoft Configure Windows Update for Business documentation.
RELATED: Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional
Make sure to set your active hours so that Windows 10 doesn’t reboot for updates at a bad time. You can pause the restart for updates during the hours you normally use your PC to prevent Windows Update from interfering with your PC usage.
RELATED: How to set “active hours” so Windows 10 doesn’t restart at a bad time