Disable automatic updates in Windows 10

Windows 10 introduced a bunch of useful features, but at the same time some principles changed in respect to the previous releases. Not all users are happy with these changes. This behaviour can be modified with a variety of workarounds, allowing you to disable updates in Windows 10 or schedule them.

If you need to completely disable Windows Update, or at least require your confirmation when Windows asks to download and install these updates, there are some workarounds to gain more control over Windows 10. You can also postpone them but is not the same, so we need to play fair here.

The first part of the tutorial talks about the Group Policy Editor, and how you can change the behaviour of Windows Update from there. Then we explain on the registry modifications you can do to reach the same result.

Some users try to disable Windows Update service from services.msc. But a lot of users reported that after manually disabling this service, it puts itself in automatic after the next restart, so we didn’t consider this alternative.

Disable automatic updates on Windows 10 by using the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc)

In case you have Windows 10 Home Edition, you don’t have access by default to the Policy Editor. If you have Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise, you can make use of the Group Policy Editor to modify the behaviour of Windows Updates.

A Reddit user posted a workaround to enable gpedit.msc on Windows 10 Home, but it’s at your risk to test it, and it’s not guaranteed it will work without issues because it’s an unofficial mod.

Disable updates completely

Continue by pressing Windows + R to open the Run command, then type gpedit.msc and press Enter.

Launch gpedit.msc from Run Command

There, click on Computer Configuration and navigate to > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update

Inside this category, find Configure Automatic Updates and double click on it

Group Policy Editor Windows Update

A property dialog shows where you have several options. By default, when is set to “Not Configured” it behaves like normal and downloads and installs all the updates without asking for confirmation. If you set it to “Disabled” you just stop the system from downloading and installing updates automatically, requiring manual intervention to not leave Windows outdated. But feature updates -new builds that are released- will still be forced to download automatically.

Disable Windows 10 automatic updates

Configure Windows Update behaviour

We encourage you to play more with these settings. You can also set them to Enabled, and by doing so you’re left with 4 options which we will briefly explain.

Configure Windows 10 automatic updates behaviour
  • 2– Notify before downloading and installing any updates

By choosing this option, Windows doesn’t download automatically any security, bug fixes or cummulative updates available, but notifies the user when it finds new ones with a popup that shows on the taskbar. This way, the user makes the decision of downloading and installing them now or leave it for later.

  • 3– Auto download and notify for install

With this option, Windows chooses to download all the updates available in the background, only consuming bandwidth but leaving it up to the user’s decision to install them later, so the work isn’t interrupted.

  • 4– Auto download and schedule the install

With this option, updates are silently downloaded, and these are only installed on a scheduled basis. You can select a specific day in the week, or a week of the month while setting an hour. If the user doesn’t specify this, installation will be made every day at 3 AM by default, and Windows will reboot if necessary, but it will show the user a notification giving the chance to postpone it.

  • 5– Allow local admin to choose setting

The last option is mostly intended for organizations that deploy configurations that widely affect a group of computers. Imagine that you can’t waste time configuring each computer individually.

Disable automatic updates on Windows 10 by using the registry (regedit)

You shouldn’t be intimated when interacting with the registry. After all, if you follow a series of steps and don’t stray too far from the path, you can easily reverse the changes made. Also, certain areas of the registry are restricted from modifications by default; this is also with the intention of reducing unwanted modifications made by malware.

Open your Start Menu, and search for regedit. Launch it and navigate to this path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

At the left, make a right click in Windows and select New > Key

Create Registry key for Windows 10 Update

Name this key with “WindowsUpdate” and press Enter

Inside the key you’ve created, you need to right click and create another one on it, this time naming it “AU

At the right side, make double click once more and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. This should be named NoAutoUpdate.

Create dword32 NoAutoUpdate
NoAutoUpdate value

You can edit it and set it’s value from 0 to 1 to stop the system from downloading and installing updates automatically. But you can play a little more and add another DWORD-32 key with the name AUOptions.

AUOptions value

Inside this AUOptions, you can asign a value from 2 to 5, each one offering different configurations options. These options were briefly explained in the »previous section«. In practice, they have the same effect as in the Group Policy Editor.

Wrapping things up

You can choose the setting that mostly suits your situation, but keep in mind that at least security patches should be considered to be checked regularly. A Windows 10 unprovided of the latest security patches is a more vulnerable system.


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