How to Disable Automatic Windows Update in Windows 10

When Windows 10 was released, many users were frustrated to see that there is no option to block or completely stop automatic Windows Updates in the Control Panel and Windows Settings. While previous operating systems had it. However, it is still possible to fool the system and disable Windows Update in Windows 10. It does not require special skills – you can just follow our instructions written in this guide.

Before we start, we should answer one question that comes to mind – why would you want to deactivate Windows updates? Well, in earlier Windows versions this feature was configured differently:

  • Automatic update installation (Recommended).
  • Downloadable updates with the option to install when the user wants.
  • Automatic update checks with the option to choose what to install and when.
  • Disabled update checks (Not Recommended).

With these options, everyone could schedule their Windows updates. Let the system do it all for you, or have full manual control over updates – the choice was yours. But in Windows 10 you won’t find such options in the Update & Security Settings menu.

Microsoft promised to deliver updates in two different methods for two different types of clients.

Users with the Home edition of Windows 10 don’t have the option to ignore updates. The system downloads the package with new files and fixes whenever it is available. Furthermore, it also starts installing it right off the bat without asking the user. If you were working on something big and heavy, your computer would be noticeably slowed in some cases. At least they didn’t give Windows permission to reboot the computer automatically after the installation of updates. The system will be restarted only if you are not working on something at the moment and will patiently wait for the scheduled time to reboot your PC. When the system informs the user about rebooting time, they must save their working progress, complete the reboot procedure, and only after that go back to their work. Windows allows users to defer reboot but not the update download in the background. In some cases, that may slow your work as well.   

Owners of the Windows 10 Enterprise edition, on the other hand, receive the option to defer updates up to the time when they don’t need to use their PC for work. Enterprise edition users receive updates from Microsoft less frequently to minimize downtime. It is important for many real-time users (ATMs, hospitals, etc.). 

With that said, you now see that Home/Professional Windows 10 users don’t have a very simple (and needed) option to defer updates. A new update is available on Microsoft servers – it is already downloading by our system. At least those updates are tested first by Windows Insiders. All Windows Insiders with Home and Professional versions of Windows 10 have the priority to get new updates. Usually, it takes two or three days of testing to detect possible problems with the update. If everything goes well, it becomes available for other users.

So, as you see, your options are limited, and everything has been decided for you. Windows 10 starts the download whenever it wants, and it eats your PC resources in the process even if you may need to keep the optimal performance for other tasks at the moment. That is why so many users want their legal rights to update the system when they feel like it back, while others find frequent updates to be very annoying. Hence, the urge to download only critical patches and so on. As we said in the beginning, it is impossible to deactivate updates in the Control Panel menu or Windows Settings, but there is another way around.  

Four Methods to Turn off Windows Updates in Windows 10

Here are our options for a workaround:

  1. Disable Windows Update & Windows Update Medic Services
  2. Use the Group Policy Editor and perform minor tweaks with it.
  3. Change your network connection to “Metered.”
  4. Use utilities to block automatic updates.

Now let’s talk about each option in details.  

Method #1

Windows 10 has a tool called Windows Services Manager. You can use it to disable the Update Service. Open Service Manager by clicking the Start menu and selecting Run, where you need to type services.msc and hit Enter. When in the tool’s menu, scroll down till you see the line Windows Update. Now you need to disable it. Right-click the process to open its Properties. Look for the Startup Type option with a drop-down menu. Open the menu and select Disabled. Now it will prevent Windows Updates automatic installation on your PC.  

But remember that you need to keep your system updated periodically as Microsoft releases multiples patches and fixes that improve the user experience. If you need to install a new build or download a package with new features, you will need the earlier updates on your machine. So, if you choose this method, you will need to use Windows Services Manager from time to time to enable the Updates service and let it download the required files.

Also, you will have to deactivate WaaSMedicSVC (also known as the Windows Update Medic Service). This service was introduced in latest versions of Windows 10. It was added to perform repairs on Windows Update components that may have suffered damage and became unable to receive updates. 

When you turn the Windows Update Service and go to Windows Update in your computer Settings, a message will appear informing you that updates were not installed due to the stopped computer. Just click Retry and let the system to download all available updates and install them. Note: you will probably have to “Check for Updates” twice or thrice. When there is nothing more to download and install, you will see a message saying that your computer is up to date. Now you can go back to Windows Services Manager and disable the Windows Update service. Perform this routine next time you want to get fresh updates and have enough free time.

Method #2

Another tool that will come in handy in this scenario is called Group Policy Editor. To launch it, go to the Start Menu and select Run. Now type gpedit and hit Enter. When the GPE’s menu appears on screen, go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.

On the right side, you will see Configure Automatic Updates. Double click it and change its settings (five different options are available).

We would not recommend disabling Windows Updates completely in Windows 10 if your computer can manage the background downloads efficiently and it does not affect the working process. If you are experiencing major performance dropdown during updates, try using the previous method first.

Method #3

The easiest method on the list. When your network connection is “Metered,” Windows 10 cannot automatically download most updates. To choose this setting, you need to open Settings, go to Network & Internet, select Wi-Fi, and click on Advanced options. Here you need to enable Metered connection by simply moving the slider. Important note: this method will prevent most Windows Updates from downloading but not all. Priority Updates will be automatically downloaded while you are on the Metered connection.

Method #4

Here are a few tools that can help you to deactivate automatic updates on Windows 10:

  • StopUpdates10: ensures easy blocking of updates in a few clicks. Also stops WaaSMedic.exe.
  • Windows Update Blocker: an efficient tool that prevents all kinds of Windows 10 updates. Also neutralizes WaaSMedicSVC.
  • Win Update Stop: a free utility that let’s disable updates not only on Windows 10 but in Windows 7/8 as well.

After a while, Microsoft also released their own instrument – Show or Hide Updates – that lets your target specific unwanted updates and block them or hide in the Windows Updates center. It is also very simple in use, so if you think that you really don’t need a specific update on your machine, use this tool.