How to Prevent Windows 10 From Installing Updates Automatically

If you have a metered Internet connection (such as a cell network, or an Ethernet connection that’s been configured to limit your data use), you may want to prevent Windows 10 from automatically downloading updates. This is especially true if you’re using an expensive or metered connection while traveling, as it can be very easy to run up huge bills with automatic downloads of multi-megabyte updates that Windows installs without warning. The good news is that Microsoft makes it relatively easy to disable automatic updates, even for non-home users.

While many people complain about how aggressively Windows installs updates, the reality is that it’s in everyone’s best interest to have the operating system keep up with security threats and other changes to keep the machine running at peak performance. The operating system will periodically check for updates and download them if possible. This ensures that the latest versions are installed and keeps the machine from becoming outdated or slow over time.

One of the main reasons to avoid the automatic installation of updates is that, in some cases, these updates can cause issues with the computer. This can be due to bugs in the software or changes made to support new hardware. If this happens, it’s important to be able to roll back the update to a previous version.

With the emergence of Windows 10, Microsoft has stopped characterizing the product as a numbered release and has focused on releasing semi-annual updates, allowing it to make regular changes that will eventually add up to a complete operating system upgrade. This is known as the “Windows-as-a-Service” delivery model, and it allows for more frequent and smaller updates with less impact on the user experience.

You can enable a limited form of the Windows 10 automatic update feature by changing a single registry key. This can be done on any version of the operating system, including the free Home edition. You can also modify the setting to postpone the installation of updates, if you prefer not to install them right away.

The registry key is located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdateAU and is named “Configure Automatic Updating.” This setting defaults to not configured, which means that the automatic updating option is enabled but doesn’t have any settings configured. To configure the setting, change its value to 2 – Notify for download and notify for install.

You can do this by opening the Settings app, tapping or clicking on the icon in the lower-right corner of the screen (or pointing to it with a mouse pointer), then selecting “Update and security,” and finally clicking or tapping on the “Check for updates” button. This will open the Windows Update pane, where you can select your preferred update settings.