Prevent Windows 10 or 11 from automatically downloading updates

Windows 10/11 logo

Windows 10 and 11 PCs automatically check for updates and install any updates they find. You can take some control over this and have Windows updates installed on your schedule, but these options are hidden. Windows Update really wants to update automatically on Windows 10.

Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 and Windows 11 have access to Group Policy and registry settings for this, but even Home editions of Windows 10 and Windows 11 give you a way to prevent updates from being downloaded automatically.

Prevent automatic download of updates on a specific connection

RELATED: What You Need to Know About Windows Update on Windows 10

When you set a connection as ‘metered’, Windows will not automatically download updates for it. Windows automatically sets certain types of connections — cellular data connections, for example — as metered. However, you can set any connection as a metered connection.

So if you don’t want Windows 10 or Windows 11 to automatically download updates on your home network connection, just set it up as a metered connection. Windows automatically downloads updates when you connect your device to an unmetered network, or when you reset the network it’s connected to as unmetered. And yes, Windows remembers this setting for each individual network, so you can disconnect from that network and reconnect whatever you want.

Do you have an internet connection with limited data? Just mark it as metered and Windows 10 won’t automatically download updates to it. If your connection offers unlimited downloads at a certain time, such as in the middle of the night, you can occasionally mark the connection as unmetered to download updates at these times and mark it as metered after the updates have been downloaded.

RELATED: How to Set Up an Ethernet Connection as Measured in Windows 8 and 10

To change this option for a Wi-Fi network, open the Settings app, go to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, and click the name of the Wi-Fi network you’re currently connected to. Click the switch for the “Set as metered connection” option on the properties page if you are using Windows 10. In Windows 11, click the switch next to “Data limit connection”. This option only affects the Wi-Fi network you are currently editing, but Windows remembers this setting for each individual Wi-Fi network.

To change this option for a wired Ethernet network, open the Settings app, go to Network & Internet > Ethernet, and click the name of your Ethernet connection. Enable the “Set as metered connection” option on the properties page.

Set the Teal connection to metered.

After you enable this option, Windows Update will say: “Updates are available. We will download the updates as soon as you connect to Wi-Fi, or you can download the updates via your data connection (you may be charged.)” By connecting Marking it as metered has tricked Windows into thinking it’s a mobile data connection: for example, you can link your PC to your smartphone, and you can click the Download button to download and install updates at your leisure.

Update status page.

Prevent Windows Update from restarting your computer automatically

RELATED: How to Set “Active Hours” So Windows 10 Doesn’t Reboot at a Bad Time

So maybe you don’t mind the automatic downloads, but you just don’t want Windows to reboot while you’re doing something. Windows 10 and 11 can help — each allows you to set a time window each day called “Active Hours” during which it won’t reboot automatically.

To set Active Hours on Windows 10, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Click or tap “Change Active Hours” under Update Settings. From there, set the times when you don’t want Windows to restart automatically.

In Windows 11, go to Settings > Update & security > Advanced options and choose an option under ‘Active hours’. By default, Windows 11 automatically sets your PC’s active hours depending on your actual use of your PC, but you can change this if you want.

Change active hours page.

You can also override those active hours to schedule certain restarts when an update is ready. You can read here how to do that.

If you’re using Windows 11, you can pause updates for up to five weeks at a time.

Prevent Windows Update from installing specific updates and drivers

RELATED: How to Remove and Block Updates and Drivers on Windows 10

If Windows 10 or 11 insists on installing a specific update or driver that is causing problems, you can prevent Windows Update from installing that specific update. Microsoft does not provide a built-in way to prevent updates and drivers from being downloaded automatically, but it does provide a downloadable tool that can block updates and drivers from downloading them. This gives you a way to opt out of specific updates – uninstall them and “hide” them from installation until you unhide them.

Select the specific update you want to prevent and then click "Next one."

Using Group Policy to Disable Automatic Updates (Professional Editions Only)

RELATED: Should You Upgrade to the Professional Edition of Windows 10?

Update: While this option still exists, it doesn’t seem to work anymore as of the Anniversary Update for Windows 10, but we’ve left it here in case anyone wants to try it. Proceed at your own risk.

You should really consider leaving automatic updates enabled for security reasons. But there is an option that lets you choose how updates are installed on your own schedule, but it is buried in Group Policy. Only the Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 have access to the Group Policy Editor. To access the Group Policy Editor, press Windows Key + R, type the following line in the Run dialog box and press Enter:


Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.

Locate "Configure automatic updates."

Locate the “Configure automatic updates” setting in the right pane and double click on it. Set it to “Enabled” and then select your preferred setting. For example, you can choose ‘Automatic download and notify before installation’ or ‘Notify before download and notify before installation’. Save the change.

Drop-down menu with options for update configuration.

Go to the Windows Update window, click on ‘Check for updates’ and then select ‘Advanced options’. Your new setting should be enforced here. You’ll also see a note that says “Some settings are controlled by your organization,” informing you that these options can only be changed in Group Policy.

To disable this later, go back to the Group Policy Editor, double-click the “Configure Automatic Updates” setting and change it from “Enabled” to “Not Configured”. Save your changes, go to the Windows Update window again, click on ‘Check for updates’, then select ‘Advanced options’. You will see that everything goes back to the default setting. (Windows Update doesn’t seem to notice the setting change until you click “Check for Updates”.)

Advanced options window showing that update settings are enforced by group policy.

Use the registry to disable automatic updates (Professional editions only)

Update: While this option still exists, it doesn’t seem to work anymore as of the Anniversary Update for Windows 10, but we’ve left it here in case anyone wants to try it. Proceed at your own risk.

This setting can also be configured in the registry. This registry hack does exactly the same as the Group Policy setting above. However, it also seems to only work on professional editions of Windows 10.

Download our Disable Automatic Updates on Windows 10 Registry Hack and double-click on one of the included .reg files to notify Windows Update to download and notify you to install, download automatically and notify you to install, or automatically download and schedule installation. There is also a .reg file that removes the registry value that the other files create so you can go back to the default settings. This only worked when we tried it on Windows 10 Pro, not on Home.

After changing this option, go to the Windows Update panel in the Settings app and click on “Check for updates.” You can then click on “Advanced options” and here you will see your new setting. (You must check for updates before Windows Update notices your changed setting.)

Group Policy that changes update behavior with a registry hack

If you want to do this yourself, find the exact setting you need to change under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdateAU – you need to create the last few keys there. Create a DWORD value called “AUOptions” under the AU key and give it one of the following values:

00000002 (Notify for download and notify for installation) 00000003 (Automatic download and notify for installation) 00000004 (Automatic download and schedule installation)

There is another “trick” doing the rounds for this. It involves disabling the Windows Update system service in the Windows Services administration tool. This is not a good idea at all and it will prevent your computer from receiving even crucial security updates. While it would be nice if Microsoft offered a little more choice about when to install updates, you shouldn’t opt ​​out of security updates completely. To prevent Windows from automatically downloading updates on each PC, set the connection to metered.

This post Prevent Windows 10 or 11 from automatically downloading updates

was original published at “”