Automatic Windows 10 updates can interrupt your work, take ages to complete and even cause errors. We show you how to take back control of when Windows 10 performs its updates.
We wouldn’t recommend blocking Windows 10 updates altogether – this could leave your PC vulnerable to attack or infection. But, by changing a few simple update settings, you can minimise the disruption they cause.
Active hours: stop Windows 10 updates restarting your PC
Thanks to a feature called Active hours, it’s possible to specify a time of day (up to 18 hours) when you definitely don’t want to be interrupted by an update. If you use your PC, say, between 8am and 8pm, set this as your Active hours period – it won’t be interrupted by updates.
Click Start > Settings > Updates & security > Windows update, then click Change active hours. Set a Start time and an End time for your Active hours and click Save.
Pause Windows 10 update restarts
Following the Creators Update - a suite of changes delivered in April 2017 - Windows 10 users now have some extra options to control updates.
When an automatic update requires a system restart, you'll now have more control over when the restart occurs. A pop-up window will offer options to Restart now, Pick a time or Snooze. You can choose to delay the update by up to three days at this point.
Why do Windows 10 updates freeze?
Sometimes, you may find that an update doesn’t install itself correctly. The process may freeze, or you may see an error message.
Some updates take longer to install than others, giving the impression that the update has become stuck. It’s potentially hazardous to restart your PC mid-update, so leave it for a while to see if the update eventually completes successfully.
Windows Update troubleshooter
If you see an error message saying that there was a problem installing the update, restart your PC and run the Windows Update troubleshooting tool.
To run this tool, click Start, type trouble, then click the Troubleshooting link. In the window that opens, click Fix problems with Windows Update under System and Security, then click Advanced. Make sure the Apply repairs automatically box is ticked. Click Run as administrator > Yes and then follow the remaining prompts.
Can I block Windows 10 updates?
While Windows 10 offers no official way to block updates, there are tricks that will allow you to do so. We don't recommend this, however, as you could miss out on security fixes.
If you designate your wi-fi network as a metered connection (click Start > Settings > Network & Internet > WiFi > Manage known networks, then click your network, select Properties and switch on Set as metered connection), this will tell Windows that your internet connection has a limited data allowance (even if it doesn’t). This trick only works with wi-fi connections, not cabled ethernet.
This will prevent your PC from downloading and installing automatically. The risk, however, is you could miss out on essential security fixes, so it’s not a wise move to make.
Pause updates in Windows 10 Pro
If you’re using Windows 10 Pro instead of Windows 10 Home, you’ll find an additional option to Pause updates in Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.
This will temporarily prevent major updates from being installed automatically, but it won’t block security patches or Microsoft’s regular cumulative updates. If you’re not sure which version of Windows 10 you’re using, click Start > Settings > System > About.
You can defer all automatic updates for up to 35 days if you're a Windows Pro user.