Windows 10 disable automatic updatesSource: Windows Central

On Windows 10, when new quality updates (also referred as cumulative updates) become available, they download and install automatically on your computer. Although the automatic approach ensures that every device receives security updates to patch vulnerabilities and performance as well as stability enhancements, it's one of the most controversial features.

Typically, the biggest reason is that updates are known to contain bugs that can negatively affect the experience, and they require a restart to complete the installation that can disrrupt the current workflow.

If you're always noticing problems as a direct result of updates, or you have a good reason to use a device unpatched, depending on your edition of Windows 10, you can stop automatic updates using the Windows Updates settings or permanently using Group Policy or 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

Usually, it's not necessary to disable the Windows Update settings permanently. If you want to skip an update, you can pause updates until the day you want to apply them. Using the Settings app, you can stop system updates for up to 35 days on Windows 10 Pro or Home.

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 Advanced OptionsSource: Windows Central

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

    Pause automatic updates on Windows 10Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, updates for Windows 10 will be completely disabled until the day you specified. When the device reaches the pause limit, you must install the latest updates available for the option to be available again.

You can always undo the changes with the same instructions outlined above, but on step No. 5, choose the Select date option. Another way to perform the same task is to click the Resume updates button on the Windows Update page.

In the past, the "Advanced options" page also included options to defer security and feature updates, but these options are no longer available with the latest version of Windows 10.

How to disable automatic updates using Group Policy

On Windows 10 Pro, the Local Group Policy Editor allows you to disable automatic updates permanently, or you can change the Windows Update policies to decide when updates should install on the device.

Disable updates

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

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for gpedit.msc and click the top result to launch the Local 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 and disable automatic updates permanently.

    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 the device. However, the ability to check for updates manually will continue to be available in Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. While on the page, you need to click the Check for updates button to download and install the most recent patches.

If you want to re-enable automatic updates on the device, you can use the same instructions outlined above, but on step No. 5, make sure to select the Not Configured option.

Limit updates

Alternatively, you can customize the policy to decide how you want to disable automatic updates using the Local Group Policy Editor.

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. Under the "Options" section, select the best settings to prevent updates from downloading and installing automatically 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.
    • 7 - Auto Download, Notify to install, Notify to Restart.

    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. If you choose option number 2, updates won't download or install automatically. Instead, in the Windows Update settings page, you'll now see an "Install now" button that you need to click manually to get the improvements.

    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 permanently disabled on Windows 10. However, when a new patch becomes available for the system, you'll be able to install it 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.

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.

Disable updates

To disable Windows 10 update permanently modifying the Registry, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for regedit and click 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 the New submenu, and then choose 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 the New submenu, and choose the Key option.

    AU Registry key to disable Windows UpdateSource: Windows Central

  7. Name the new key AU and press Enter.
  8. Right-click the AU key, select the New submenu, and choose 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 no longer install monthly updates automatically on Windows 10. However, similar to using the Local Group Policy Editor, you'll still be able to download and install updates as needed by clicking the Check for updates button in the Windows Update settings.

Limit updates

It's also possible to use the Registry to configure how updates are delivered for Windows 10 to prevent automatic installs.

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

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for regedit and click the top result to open the Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

  4. Right-click the Windows (folder) key, select the New submenu, and choose 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 the New submenu, and choose the Key option.

    AU Registry key to disable Windows UpdateSource: Windows Central

  7. Name the new key AU and press Enter.
  8. Right-click the AU key, select the New submenu, and select 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.
    • 7 — Auto Download, Notify to install, Notify to Restart.

    These options work identically to the Group Policy settings, and number 2 is the closest option to disable Windows Update on Windows 10 permanently on your computer.

    Windows 10 AUOptions Registry keySource: 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 when new updates are available, allowing you to install them 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 then reboot the device to complete applying the settings.

On Windows 10, like in any other platform, updates are essential to improve the experience, and they're critical to keeping your computer and data safe against malicious attacks and malware.

Typically, it's never a good idea to continue using a device without the latest patches, but there are some situations when disabling updates might be appropriate. For instance, if you want to have complete control when applying updates. You want to minimize the chances of running into problems due to bugs with cumulative updates. Or you're working with critical software and equipment that may stop working if updates are installed.

More Windows 10 resources

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