Windows 10 disable automatic updatesSource: Windows Central

On Windows 10, quality updates (cumulative updates) download and install automatically as soon as they're ready. Although this approach makes sure that every device has the latest security patches, performance, and stability enhancements, it's among one of the most controversial features.

Usually, it's because to apply updates, users must restart their devices interrupting the current workflow, and because a lot of times updates are also known to cause more problems negatively affecting the experience.

Whatever the reason, depending on the edition of Windows 10 installed on your device, you can regain control and stop automatic updates using the Windows Updates settings or permanently using Group Policy and Registry.

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

How to disable automatic updates using Settings

In case you want to delay the installation of a new update, it's unnecessary to disable the service permanently. You only need to pause updates until you're ready to apply them to your device. Using the Windows Update settings, you can stop updates for up to 35 days, whether you use Windows 10 Pro or Home.

Disabling all updates

To disable automatic updates temporarily, use these steps:

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

    Windows Update settings advanced optionSource: Windows Central

  5. Under the "Pause updates" sections, use the Pause until drop-down menu, and select when to resume automatic updates on Windows 10.

    Disable Windows 10 Update for 35 DaysSource: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, updates will be disabled until the day you specified. When your device reaches the pause limit, you must install the latest updates to make the option available one more time.

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 button from the Windows Update page.

Disabling security updates

Windows 10 also offers an option to defer only quality updates for 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.

    Windows Update settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Under the "Pause updates" section, use the drop-down menu, and select the number of days you want to defer quality updates (up to 30 days).

    Disable Security Updates on Windows 10Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, your computer won't download and install monthly quality updates until the schedule reaches its limit, or you change the setting back to zero.

Disabling feature updates

In addition, the advanced settings also let you disable feature updates from downloading and installing automatically, even though, these updates are now optional.

To disable feature updates for up to a year, use these steps:

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

    Windows Update settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Under the "Pause updates" section, use the drop-down menu, and select the number of days you want to defer a new feature update.

    Disable feature updates on Windows 10Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: This option may not be available for everyone at the time they want to use it.

Once you complete the steps, the device won't receive feature updates until after the day you specified in the settings.

Microsoft no longer automatically forces new feature updates, and it's now a process that you must initiate manually. However, there are still some situations where you may want to use this option to disable these types of updates.

How to disable automatic updates using Group Policy

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

Disabling updates

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

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for gpedit.msc and select the top result to launch the Group Policy Editor.
  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.

    Windows Update group policy settingsSource: Windows Central

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

    Group Policy disable Windows UpdateSource: Windows Central

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

After you complete the steps, Windows 10 will stop downloading updates automatically on your computer. However, you'll continue to be able to install patches manually from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and clicking the Check for updates button.

If you want to re-enable automatic updates, 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 disabling the policy isn't working for you, it's possible to customize the automatic updates policy using the Group Policy Editor to limit the availability of updates on your device.

To manage Windows Update automatic downloads 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.

    Windows Update group policy settingsSource: Windows Central

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

    Windows Update configure automatic updates policySource: Windows Central

  6. In the "Options" section, select the option to configure automatic updates on Windows 10:

    • 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 any other option that best fits your situation.

    Windows Update notify download and auto install update policy optionSource: Windows Central

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

Once you complete the steps, automatic updates will be disabled on Windows 10. 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

On Windows 10 Pro, you can also disable automatic updates using the Registry in at least two different ways.

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 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. Open Start.
  2. Search for regedit and select the top result to launch the Registry Editor.
  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 the Key option.

    Windows Update registry keySource: Windows Central

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

    AU Registry key to disable Windows UpdateSource: Windows Central

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

    Windows 10 NoAutoUpdate Registry key to disable automatic updatesSource: Windows Central

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

    Disable Windows Update permanently using RegistrySource: Windows Central

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

After you complete the steps, Windows Update will stop trying to install updates automatically on Windows 10.

If you must check, download, and install a new update manually, you can perform this task from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update by clicking the Check for updates button like when using the Group Policy.

Limiting updates

Also, you can use the Registry to customize the Windows Update policy 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 the Key option.

    Windows Update registry keySource: Windows Central

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

    AU Registry key to disable Windows UpdateSource: Windows Central

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

    Windows 10 AUOptions Registry keySource: Windows Central

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

    • 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 best option to disable Windows Update on Windows 10 permanently. However, you can always select the configuration that best suits your situation.

    Windows 10 stop automatic updates using RegistrySource: Windows Central

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

Once you complete 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 until you trigger the install manually.

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

Updates for software are essential to enhance the overall experience and, more importantly, to safeguard your device and files against attacks and malware. It's never advised to use an unpatched computer, but there are many scenarios when disabling updates could make sense.

For example, when you want to delay the installation of a new cumulative update until you're sure it doesn't contain any problems. You want to update your system manually proactively, or you're working with a device with critical software and equipment that may stop working if new updates are applied.

More Windows 10 resources

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