Windows 10’s twice-a-year updates mean more new features, more often. Unfortunately, major updates can also break things. If you’d rather wait until the bugs are squashed, tweak this setting and delay those updates until they’ve gone through more testing.
Starting with the May 2019 Update (version 1903), Microsoft won’t force these updates on you quite as strongly as it once did. Instead of automatically installing big feature updates, you’ll see an option in the Windows Update settings to download and install the update at your leisure.
Microsoft won’t force it upon you until the version you’re currently running is nearing end of support. So if you’re still running version 1803, you might get a new feature update foisted upon you this summer.
Thankfully, you have a few options for delaying updates big and small. Open the Settings app and select Update & Security > Windows Update, where you can download new updates as they’re made available. You’ll also find a “Pause updates for 7 days” button.
Windows lets you click this up to five times for a total of 35 days. If you’re running an older version of Windows Pro and don’t yet have a pause updates button, click Advanced Options, where you can turn on Pause Updates.
Those with Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education, meanwhile, have even more power in this Advanced Options menu. Testing every single piece of hardware and software for conflicts is nearly impossible for Microsoft, so Microsoft has a deferral feature that lets you delay all updates for up to 365 days after they’re released. This allows businesses to test major feature updates on a few machines, make sure everything works, then roll it out to the rest of the company when they’re ready. Since many of us have Windows 10 Pro on our home desktops and laptops, we can also take advantage.
From that Advanced Options menu, scroll down to Choose When Updates Are Installed. The first drop-down controls those big feature updates. Choose a number to delay all feature updates that many days. It’s unclear exactly how this works with Microsoft’s new rollout rules, but we’ll have a better idea as the next feature update approaches this fall.
You can also delay security updates—which Microsoft calls “Quality Updates”—but we don’t recommend doing so.
Of course, the longer you defer updates, the longer you’ll miss out on new features, so this is best used for those mission-critical machines you can’t afford to lose. You can then test the update on a secondary machine, if you have one, to see if it’s stable enough for your daily work, and update your other computers accordingly.