How to delay Windows 10 updates
Author : Matt Yarranton
22 July 2020

It is an undisputed fact that, to keep your computer secure, you should keep the software running on it up to date.  We go on about it again and again and again.  However, there is a balance between making sure that you have the latest Windows 10 updates, and also making sure that you are not on the bleeding edge which may cause more problems than it fixes.  In recent memory,  Windows 10 updates have been causing havoc with people’s computers, and there has even been a DEFCON system created for Windows updates where experts can give their opinion on whether they think it is safe to update or not.  If there are critical security updates released, then you should install these ASAP. However, the scheduled updates should be delayed so you can wait and see if they cause problems.

How to Delay Windows 10 Updates

To prevent unforeseen issues with new updates you can choose to delay Windows 10 updates.  This way, you are waiting for all of the bugs to be found first so you are not impacted by being an early adopter.  The best way to control the delay of Windows updates is to have this managed for you by your IT services and support provider.  They will use Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM) software or Windows Update for Business to control and monitor updates remotely.

If you do not have an IT provider who can do this for you, it is possible to configure these setting manually yourself using the instructions below.  It is important to point out that there is a big difference between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home in how you are able to control updates.  The Home version of Windows does not give you the level of control that the Pro version of Windows gives you.  We recommend using Windows 10 Pro for everyone, but if you are using your computer for business, you should definitely be running the Pro version of Windows.

Update: Microsoft has disabled the ability for people to easily delay Windows 10 updates for all editions of Windows 10 since version 2004.  Read this article for more information.

Types of Windows 10 Updates

Broadly speaking there are 2 types of Windows 10 updates:

Feature Updates

Feature updates are the big updates to Windows 10 that occur twice a year and change the version number (1809, 1903, 2004, etc).  These are major updates that introduce (or remove) features to Windows 10 and are akin to upgrading to a new version of the operating system.

You can defer Feature Updates for up to 365 days.

Quality Updates

Quality updates are monthly updates that contain bug and security fixes.  Each month there is one cumulative update that supersedes the previous month’s update, containing both security and non-security fixes.  Microsoft releases Windows Quality Updates on the second Tuesday of each month which is unofficially known as Patch Tuesday.

You can defer Quality Updates for up to 30 days.

How to Pause Updates

Available in all versions of Windows 10, it is possible to pause an update to prevent the update from being applied.  Clicking Pause will delay the updates in increments of 7 days from the day you click the button.  Updates can be paused for a maximum of 35 days.  For example, if today is the 22nd July and you click the button twice, any new updates will be applied on 5th August which is 14 days from when you clicked the button.

To pause updates go to Windows Settings > Update & Security and then click on Pause updates for 7 days

Pause Windows 10 Updates settings

Pausing updates is useful if you want to temporarily delay Windows 10 updates for any reason.  You can also override the ‘paused until’ date if you want to ensure patches get applied on a specific date.  However, this is manual and you need to make sure you remember to do this.

Deferring Updates

Deferring Windows 10 Updates is NOT available in Windows 10 Home and is different to pausing in that you can specify deferral windows that apply permanently unless changed.  It effectively tells Windows 10 to wait a specified number of days before applying the updates.  You can defer Quality Updates for a maximum of 30 days and Feature Updates for a maximum of 365 days.

To pause updates go to Windows Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Options and set the required number of days in Choose when updates are installed.

A screenshot showing how to defer Windows 10 Updates

How long you choose to defer the updates is a question of balance between the risk of not updating, and the risk of an update messing with your computer.  It is worth keeping an eye on the DEFCON level and adjusting this value to suit.  There are other ways to control the deferral of Windows 10 updates with a greater level of granularity using Group Policy Object (GPO).  We won’t go into detail on that in this article, but if you are interested you can find out more about this here.

In Summary

It is possible to both pause and defer Windows 10 updates to make sure that you are not rolling out an update immediately when it could cause issues.  These settings are easy to change if you know where to find them.  However, Windows 10 Home does not give you the level of control that the Pro and Enterprise versions give.

Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about how you should be controlling Windows 10 Updates in your business.

More Content

VIDEO: How to create a table of content in Word

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today's Two Minute Tech Tip was an idea given to me by my apprentice, George Borns. When asked what would be a good idea for a Tech Tip and without hesitation, George said "What about headings and tables of content in Word?" It is a great tip...

VIDEO: How to get the most out of Google searches

Hello everyone! Today's Tuesday Two Minute Tech-tip shows you how to get the best out of your Google searches. Google search is arguably the best in the world and gives us the internet at our fingertips, but it can be hard to find what you are looking for. This tip...

What are the benefits of outsourcing IT support?

Have you ever started a DIY task only to wish you had just called in an expert?  Your IT support should be no different. Many business owners think that they can handle their IT systems themselves.  However, unless they have the experience and finger on the pulse of...

VIDEO: How to use a Password Manager

This Tech Tip is a tip on how to manage your passwords. It's a long tip this week, but that's because there is a lot to tell! With so many things being done online now, passwords are needed constantly.  But with the advice that every password should be unique and not...

Serious Flaws Discovered in D-Link Routers

Researchers at Fortinet have uncovered serious flaws in four D-Link routers.  The router vulnerabilities were found to allow for remote code execution which means a remote attacker could gain control of your router, snoop on your traffic and redirect your browser to...

VIDEO: How to use Mail Merge

This Tuesday Two Minute Tech-tip shows you how to automate customised emails and letters using Mail Merge. Imagine; you need to send a letter or email to 10s, or even 100s of people with the same base content, but personalised for each recipient. You could manually...

Microsoft urge users to patch against critical vulnerability

Microsoft is warning of a recently discovered critical Windows DNS Server vulnerability that is described as “wormable”. DNS (Domain Name Services) is used by computers all over the world to find each other. The Internet could not work without it. Microsoft DNS is...

VIDEO: How to use footnotes and endnotes in Word

This Tech Tip is another tip for Microsoft Word. If you use Word to write documentation, contracts or any other type of detailed document, then this tip is for you. Usually, when you write such a document, you may need to expand on certain sentences without making the...

VIDEO: An overview of Microsoft Teams

Welcome to a new Tuesday Two Minute Tech Tip that covers the basics of Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams has become one of the 'go to' tools for collaboration since the start of the pandemic, but most people are only scratching the surface of what you can do with it....

5 Reasons why cybersecurity awareness training is a good investment

Cyber attacks are on the rise. Any business that has experienced any form of internet security breach knows that it can be costly in terms of time and money. The reputation of a business is also at stake if client data is compromised. Cybersecurity is an issue that...
Share This