On Windows 10, cumulative updates are no longer optional, they're mandatory, which means that they download and install automatically as soon as they're ready. Although this new mechanism is a convenient approach to ensure that every device has the latest security patches, bug fixes, and improvements, it's not an option that everyone likes.

If you have a computer running Windows 10, depending on the edition, it's still possible to regain some of the control and stop automatic updates using the Local Group Policy Editor or Registry.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to prevent automatic updates from installing on your device.

How to block automatic updates using Local Group Policy

If you're running Windows 10 Pro, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to change the system settings to prevent your device from downloading and installing updates automatically. Here's how:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and click OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  3. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update

  4. On the right side, double-click the Configure Automatic Updates policy.

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

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

Once you've completed the steps, Windows 10 will no longer download updates automatically, which can also save data when using a metered internet connection, and any future updates must be downloaded and installed manually from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.

Configuring automatic update options

Alternatively, if disabling the policy isn't working, you can also use the Group Policy Editor to configure the Windows Update options to prevent updates from installing automatically on your computer.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and click OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  3. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update

  4. On the right side, double-click the Configure Automatic Updates policy.

  5. Check the Enabled option to turn on the policy.
  6. Under 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.

    You should select the option that best fits your preference, but option 2 - Notify for download and auto install is the closest to permanently disable automatic updates.

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

Once you've completed the steps, Windows 10 will no longer download updates automatically, and once new updates become available, you'll get a notification to install them manually from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.

At any time, you can revert the changes using the same steps, but on step No. 5, make sure to select the Not Configured option. Then reboot your device to apply the changes.

How to block automatic updates using Registry

On Windows 10 Pro, you can alternatively stop automatic updates using the Registry. Here's how:

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_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 the newly created key, 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.

After completing the steps, your device will stop receiving updates automatically, but you can still go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update to force the download and installation of future updates.

Configuring automatic update options

If disabling the Windows 10 update service policy isn't working, you can also use the Registry to configure the Windows Update options to avoid updates from installing automatically on your device.

  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_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 the newly created key, 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 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.

    Similar to using Local Group Policy, you can select the option that best suits your preference, but setting the value to 2 is the closest option to disable Windows Update.

  11. Click the OK button.

After completing the steps, your device will stop receiving updates automatically. However, when new patches are available, you'll get a notification to download and install them manually from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.

If you no longer need to block automatic updates, you can revert the changes using the same steps, but on step No. 4, make sure to right-click the WindowsUpdate key (folder) and select the Delete option. Then restart your computer to apply the changes.

Wrapping things up

Although we're outlining the steps to prevent your computer from getting updates, it's important to make it clear that it's never recommended to skip them. The reason is that updates are crucial to keeping Windows 10 running correctly and your data safe.

However, there are scenarios when you may need to apply updates manually, schedule an install during a particular time, or just because you want to make sure that a particular cumulative update works correctly before installing it on your device.

This guide only blocks monthly cumulative updates, which usually patch security vulnerabilities and improves the overall performance of Windows 10. If you want to avoid automatic installs of feature updates, such as the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, 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: