By default Windows 10 looks for updates continuously, downloads them when available and even initiates the install process without any human intervention. It might be handy for most people as they are relieved from the work of manually updating their PC’s and laptops. But it could cause some proper trouble for others, for example, the device needs to restart after most of the updates and this could cause some down time in the work which could be a deal-breaker for many people. Also, sometimes we tether the phone connection and use it with the PC or a laptop and if Windows tries to update itself on a mobile data connection then you might have a heavy bill waiting for you.
After hearing from many of our users about how Windows 10 updates are hogging their bandwidth and how the computer justs restarts itself for the update, and about the trouble faced by them becuase of the above two reasons, we decided to write an article to fix some of the issues.
Professional, Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10 have a group policy and registry settings to disable this, but even the Home edition of Windows 10 gives you a way to stop the updates from downloading automatically.
Prevent automatic updates on a Specific Connection
Fortunately, Windows 10 has an option to set a connection as a metered one which will prevent the updates from getting downloaded automatically. Windows 10 automatically sets the cellular connections as a metered connection, but there is a way to manually set any Wi-Fi connection as a metered connection which would prevent it from downloading the updates on the connection.
If you have a data connection with a limited quota at your home then you can set up your home Wi-Fi network as a metered connection and Windows 10 will automatically download updates only when the device is connected to an unmetered connection. Windows will also remember the list of connections that you have flagged as a metered one so you don’t have to bother configuring it each time.
If your connection gives unlimited data at particular times, for example during the nights then you can temporarily mark the connection as unmetered so that the device updates itself.
To set a connection as metered open the Settings app and then head towards the Network & Internet section and click on Manage Known Networks. Choose the Wi-FI network that you wish to mark as a metered connection and then click on the Properties, here you should find an option to set it as a metered connection. This will change the settings only for the Wi-Fi network that you modified, but Windows will remember the setting for each individual network and manage the downloads accordingly.
Unfortunately, there is no direct way to set an ethernet connection as metered but you can use a registry hack to enable it
After setting a network as a metered connection, Windows Update will notify you when future updates are available but it won’t download them automatically in case you are on the metered connection. By marking a connection as metered, you trick Windows into believing that you are on a cellular connection and would disable automatic updates on that network. You can still manually hit the download button to manually install the update if you wish to.
Prevent Windows Update from automatically rebooting your computer:
In case you have an unmetered connection at home then the downloads shouldn’t be an issue, but the problem might be with the fact that Windows restarts itself for every update. Imagine yourself in the middle of something important and Windows chooses to restart itself just because it has found something new.
To prevent this, Windows has given you an option to set the active hours, during which, Windows would never restart automatically for an update. To set the Active Hours, head to the Settings app and open the Update & security tab. Here you should be ale to modify the active hours by selecting the Change Active Hours option under the Update settings. Here, set the time that you don’t want to be disturbed by an update, and Windows will remember not to restart the device during the given the time.
Use a group policy editor to turn off Automatic Updates:
It is highly recommended to leave Windows updates on for security reasons, but there is still an option which would let you choose how and when the updates happen. However, this option is buried in group policy and only the Professional, Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10 have access to the group policy editor.
To access the group policy editor, press the Windows Key + R and type “gpedit.msc” in the run box and press enter to launch the group policy editor window.
Go to Computer Configuration and open the Administrative Templates folder which should contain the Windows Components folder, here look for Windows Update and open it.
Look for the Configure Automatic Updates setting on the right pane and double click it, set it to enabled and then choose your preferred choice of setting from the options drop down menu based on your preferences. You can either choose to Auto download and notify for install or Notify for download and notify for install or Auto download and schedule the install and save the changes.
You can then go back and visit the Windows Update Pane and click on the Check for updates option and select the Advanced Options. There will be a note telling you that Some settings are managed by your organisation which means that the setting set using the group policy editor has been applied.
If you want to revert the changes, go back to the Group Policy editor and navigate Windows Update and change it from Enabled to Not Configured, save the changes and visit the Windows Update panel again to make sure that everything has been reverted to default settings.
Using the registry editor to disable Automatic Updates:
The above setting can be configured using the registry editor too, but it works only for the professional version of the Windows 10. To do this press the Windows key + R together and type the following and hit the enter key. Then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU and create a DWORD value name AUOptions under the previous key that you just created. Give it a value of 00000002 if you want it to notify before download and notify before installing. 00000003 if you want it to download automatically and notify you for the install or 00000004 if you want it to download automatically and schedule the install.
It is however highly recommended to keep the Windows updated all the time as Windows does issue some major security bug fixes once in a while. Do let us know in the comments below about which method you found easier and if you have any other easier methods in mind, let us know about the same so that we can update the article with it.