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How to check for updates from the right-click menu on Windows 10

Although Windows 10 automatically checks for updates periodically, sometimes you may need to check for new updates manually, such as when trying to download a new Windows Insider Preview build or a driver update when setting up a new peripheral. However, the process requires a bunch of clicks just to get to the settings — even more, if you're trying to see update history or trying to change the restart options.

Luckily, you can customize the desktop right-click context menu to include additional options to check for updates and access different settings, such as update history to see if an update has been installed correctly. You can do this using some tweaks to the Registry.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to add new options to the right-click context menu to quickly check for updates. In addition, we'll show you the steps to add more options for quick access to update history, restart options, advanced options, and more.

How to add 'Check for updates' option to context menu

To add a new "Check for updates" option to the right-click context menu use the following steps:

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that editing the registry is risky, and it can cause irreversible damage to your installation if you don't do it correctly. It's recommended to make a full backup of your PC before proceeding.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type regedit, and click OK to open the Registry.
  3. Browse the following path:HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell
    • Quick Tip: On the Windows 10 Creators Update, you can now copy and paste the path in the new Registry's address bar to quickly jump to the key destination.
  4. Right-click the Shell (folder) key, select New, and click on Key.

  1. Name the key Check for Updates and press Enter.
  2. Right-click the newly created (folder) key, select New, and click on Key.

  1. Name the key command and press Enter.
  2. Right-click the command (folder) key, select New, and click on String Value.

  1. Name the new string DelegateExecute and press Enter.
  2. Double-click the newly created string and type the following value:{556FF0D6-A1EE-49E5-9FA4-90AE116AD744}
  3. Click OK.

  1. Right-click the Check for Updates (folder) key, select New, and click on String Value.

  1. Name the string SettingsURI and press Enter.
  2. Double-click the newly created string and type the following value:ms-settings:windowsupdate-action
  3. Click OK.

  1. Right-click the Check for Updates (folder) key, select New, and click on String Value.
  2. Name the string Icon and press Enter.
  3. Double-click the newly created string and type the following value:%SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll,-47
  4. Click OK.

Once you've completed the steps, without having to restart your system, you can right-click on the desktop to open the context menu to see the new option. When you click the new option, it'll open the Windows Update page and trigger an update check without further steps.

At any time you can use the same instructions to revert the changes, but on step No. 4, expand the Shell key, right click the Check for updates key and select Delete.

Alongside the direct access to check for updates using the instructions above, it's also possible to speed up the download process for Windows 10 Insider Preview builds using this guide.

How to add quick access to Windows Update settings to the context menu

You're not limited to add only an option to check for updates. You can also create additional options to access other Windows Update settings using the following steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type regedit, and click OK to open the Registry.
  3. Browse the following path:HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell
    • Quick Tip: On the Windows 10 Creators Update, you can now copy and paste the path in the new Registry's address bar to quickly jump to the key destination.
  4. Right-click the Shell (folder) key, select New, and click on Key.

  1. Name the key with the settings page name you want to open and press Enter. For example:
    • Update History
    • Restart Options
    • Advanced Options
    • Windows Update
  2. Right-click the newly created (folder) key, select New, and click on String Value.

  1. Name the string SettingsURI and press Enter.
  2. Double-click the newly created string and type the action you want for the context menu option. For example:
    • ms-settings:windowsupdate-history: Opens the Update History settings page.
    • ms-settings:windowsupdate-restartoptions: Opens the Restart options page.
    • ms-settings:windowsupdate-options: Opens the Advanced options settings page.
    • ms-settings:windowsupdate: Opens the Windows Update settings page.
  3. Click OK.

  1. Right-click the option key (folder) you created, select New, and click on String Value.
  2. Name the string Icon and press Enter.
  3. Double-click the newly created string and type the following value to add an icon to the new context menu option:%SystemRoot%\System32\bootux.dll,-1032
  4. Click OK.

  1. Right-click the option key (folder) you created again, select New, and click on Key.

  1. Name the key command and press Enter.
  2. Right-click the command (folder) key, select New, and click on String Value.

  1. Name the string DelegateExecute and press Enter.
  2. Double-click the string and enter the following value:{556FF0D6-A1EE-49E5-9FA4-90AE116AD744}
  3. Click OK.

  1. Repeat the above steps to add any additional options you want.

After completing the steps, you don't need to restart your computer, right-clicking on an empty space on the desktop will open the context menu, and you should now see your new quick access to the settings page you configured.

If you no longer want to keep this configuration, you can use the same instructions, but on step No. 4, expand the Shell key, right click the key configure and select Delete.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

10 Comments
  • Awesome tips :)  
  • Thanks for the tip, but I personally just hit the Windows-button and type "upd" + enter, and I can do that no matter the app I'm currently using.
  • That's easy!  Thanks for the tip.
  • Exactly how I'd do it.
  • Did it, but when I click it, it just goes to the main settings control panel. It doesn't open the Windows Update portion specifically. Build 16275.
  • You can also pin the Update page to the Start menu.
  • Would be nice to have same, but for Store updates (at least to open update page in one click).
  • If you want more options, check out Microsofts web page on URI addresses for ms-settings
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/launch-resume/launch-settings-app Remember you can also create shortcut links from GodMode and use those in the Win-X (right click on Start Button) or as above.
    Create a new folder on your desktop called GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
    Then drag with right click to Desktop the shortcut you wish to create, and then use that in your configuration of Win-X or like the example above.
  • This is actually an awesome tip! Thanks!
  • Hello, I would like to know if anyone knows what record I change to try to put Windows 10 on my Lumia 2520. Well maybe if I change the search address for updates of it, Windows 10 will come via Windows Update. Thanks!