On Windows 10, quality updates (or cumulative updates) always download and install automatically as soon as they're ready for your device. While this approach makes sure that every computer has the latest security patches, performance, and stability improvements, it's also among one of the features that users complain the most.

Typically, it's because to apply updates, users are required to restart their devices, and because updates are also known to (sometimes) cause problems negatively affecting the user experience.

Whatever the reason it might be, depending on your edition of Windows 10, you can regain control and stop automatic updates using Group Policy and Registry.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to block Windows Update from automatically downloading and installing updates on your computer.

How to disable automatic updates using Settings

If you're looking to postpone updates, you don't need to disable the feature permanently. You can pause updates until you're ready to install them. Using the Settings app, you can pause updates up to 35 days.

Disabling all updates

To temporarily disable automatic updates on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Advanced options button.

  5. Under the "Pause updates" sections, use the Pause until drop-down menu, and select how long to disable automatic updates.

Once you complete the steps, your device will no longer receive updates of any kind until the day you specified. When your device reaches the pause limit, you must allow Windows 10 to download and install the latest updates to make the option available again.

If you want to undo the changes, you can use the same instructions, but on step No. 5, choose the Select date option. Alternatively, you can click the Resume updates from the Windows Update settings page.

Disabling security updates

In addition to temporarily disabling all updates, Windows 10 also offers an option to defer only quality updates up to 30 days.

To disable security updates on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Advanced options button.

  5. Under the "Pause updates" sections, use the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page, and select the number of days that you want to defer quality updates (if applicable).

After you complete the steps, your computer will not download and install monthly quality updates until the schedule reaches its limit.

How to disable automatic updates using Group Policy

On Windows 10 Pro, you can use the Local Group Policy editor to disable automatic updates permanently, or you can change the Windows Update settings to decide when updates should install.

Disabling updates

To permanently disable automatic updates on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for gpedit.msc and select the top result to launch the experience.
  3. Navigate to the following path:

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update

  4. Double-click the Configure Automatic Updates policy on the right side.

  5. Check the Disabled option to turn off the policy.

  6. Click the Apply button.
  7. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 will stop downloading updates automatically.

While automatic updates remains disabled, you can still download and install patches manually from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and clicking the Check for updates button.

If you change your mind, you can always revert the changes using the same instructions, but on step No. 5, make sure to select the Not Configured option.

Limiting updates

Alternatively, if turning off the policy isn't working, you can also try customizing the Windows Update settings using Group Policy to limit the availability of updates on your device.

To control Windows Update settings with Group Policy, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for gpedit.msc and select the top result to launch the experience.
  3. Navigate to the following path:

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update

  4. Double-click the Configure Automatic Updates policy on the right side.

  5. Check the Enable option to turn on the policy.

  6. In the "Options" section, you'll find a number of options to configure automatic updates, including:

    • 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.

    Quick tip: The closest option to disable automatic updates is the 2 - Notify for download and auto install option, but you can select the option that best fits your situation.

  7. Click the Apply button.
  8. Click the OK button.

After completing the steps, updates will stop downloading automatically. However, when a new update becomes available, you'll receive a notification to download and install updates manually from the Windows Update settings page.

How to disable automatic updates using Registry

If you're running Windows 10 Pro, you can also disable automatic updates in two different ways using the Registry.

Disabling updates

To permanently disable updates on Windows 10 modifying the Registry, use these 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.

To permanently disable Windows Update using the Registry, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for regedit and select the top result to launch the experience.
  3. Navigate to the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

  4. Right-click the Windows (folder) key, select New, and then click on Key.

  5. Name the new key WindowsUpdate and press Enter.
  6. Right-click the newly created key, select New, and click on Key.

  7. Name the new key AU and press Enter.
  8. Right-click on the right side, select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

  9. Name the new key NoAutoUpdate and press Enter.
  10. Double-click the newly created key and change its value from 0 to 1.

  11. Click the OK button.
  12. Restart your computer.

Once you complete the steps, Windows Update should stop trying to download and install updates automatically on your device.

If you want to update manually, you can perform this task from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and clicking the Check for updates button.

Limiting updates

In the case that using the Registry to disable updates isn't working as expected, you can also use the Registry to customize the Windows Update settings to prevent updates from installing automatically.

To customize Windows Update settings to block updates with the Registry, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for regedit and select the top result to launch the experience.
  3. Navigate to the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

  4. Right-click the Windows (folder) key, select New, and then click on Key.

  5. Name the new key WindowsUpdate and press Enter.
  6. Right-click the newly created key, select New, and click on Key.

  7. Name the new key AU and press Enter.
  8. Right-click on the right side, select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

  9. Name the new key AUOptions and press Enter.
  10. Double-click the newly created key and change its value (number only) using one of the following options:

    • 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 settings.

    These options work similar to the Group Policy settings, and number 2 is the closest option to disable Windows Update permanently. However, you can always select the setting the best suits your situation.

  11. Click the OK button.
  12. Restart your computer.

After completing the steps, Windows 10 will stop installing updates automatically. However, you'll receive notifications as soon as new quality updates are available, but they won't download and install until you approve them manually.

You can always use the same instructions to restore the original settings, but on step No. 4, right-click the WindowsUpdate key, and select the Delete option. Then reboot your device to complete applying the settings.

Wrapping things up

Updates are crucial to safeguard your device and data and to improve the overall experience, as such it's never recommended to use an unpatched computer. However, there are many scenarios when disabling updates could make sense. For instance, when you may need to apply updates manually, or you want to make sure that a particular update doesn't have any issues before installing it on your laptop or desktop PC.

Also, this guide only stops monthly updates, which usually fix security vulnerabilities and improves the stability of Windows 10. If you want to avoid automatic installs of feature updates, such as the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, when the current installation is nearing the end of service, you need to modify the settings to defer major releases.

More Windows 10 resources

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