I feel like I have little control about how Windows updates itself.

I can't decide when it will download new updates, and I can't even check how big they are. My DSL connection is not super-fast and I'd like to have more control on the update process (like I used to do with Windows 8.1).

Is there a way to configure when Windows should update itself? And how can I check the size of what it's going to download?

P.S.: I read this question but it doesn't help.

  • Windows 10 is designed to be like this, users in general delay updates or disable them so MS moved to a more forceful hands off model. Return to 7 for real control. – Linef4ult Oct 6 '15 at 10:54
  • 1
    Windows 10 Professional allows you to defer upgrades. Windows Update has to my knowledge not indicate how large an update is, even so, what is reported for an update for Windows 10 has also slightly changed. – Ramhound Oct 6 '15 at 11:05
  • 1
    Here's a bit more detailed information about how Windows 10 updates. It backs up what was stated above plus a bit more detail. howtogeek.com/223068/… – Dale Oct 6 '15 at 11:11
  • You could just set your main connection to metered as a workaround. Or just block Windows Updates with the firewall though it's a pain every time you want to actually update – qasdfdsaq Oct 6 '15 at 11:12
  • Thank you @Ramhound, I'm using Windows 10 Pro and I saw that option, I was hoping it wasn't the only one – Manuel Durando Oct 6 '15 at 11:18

Unlike previous versions, with Windows 10, the update through the Control Panel is removed. As made clear here, the only way to update now is the Settings app under Update and Security and through Microsoft Store.

The differences from Update in previous versions of Windows are as follows:

  1. When you select "Check for Updates," it will automatically search for and download all the updates it finds, whether you want them or not. There is no selection.

  2. You no longer see a specific list of Updates when updating that way.

  3. It does not tell you what size your download is going to be, and it has been rumored Windows is removing Patch Notes as well, so you may not be able to find out from their website either.

  4. The new Edge Browser and things they consider "apps" or individual add-ons will not update from the Settings app but automatically from the Microsoft Store.

  5. Windows 10 uses peer-to-peer downloads for Update. You can toggle this on or off from Update & Security -> Advanced Options -> Choose how updates are delivered.

  6. Enterprise users (Windows 10 pro) have an added option called Defer, that allows them to delay the downloading and installation of updates for a couple months until the Updates are openly tested.

So you can't tell anymore how big updates are, but you can assert a modicum of control and still decide when you want to download updates, if at all. There are several ways of doing this.

Perhaps what will be the most commonly used way to avoid updates is to set your connection as metered, as stated in here:

  1. Connect to the Wi-Fi connection you don't want Update to run on. Note: this only works for a Wi-Fi internet connection.

  2. Open the Wi-Fi settings screen -> Network Settings -> Settings app -> Network & Internet.

  3. Scroll down the list of Wi-Fi networks and choose Advanced Options.

  4. Toggle the switch marked "Set as metered connection" to On.

Using the Microsoft Show or Hide Updates tool to see updates before installing them.

To view and select specific updates to install, you can use this separate tool provided by Microsoft found here whenever you decide to run updates.

Run the tool, select the option Show Hidden Updates and you will be able to select whether or not to download individual updates.

Stop Windows Update from updating in the background

There are also third party tools that allow you to manage Windows Update and background updating in general. One such tool can be found at updatefreezer.org

Run Update Freezer and you will be presented with several options on whether you want the service to notify you or stop updates entirely.

Update Freezer is free and also manages other updates you may not want running in the background, such as Adobe, Java, Google, and other programs you may have installed.

Using Group Policies for Windows 10 update notifications You need to be running Windows 10 as an Administrator to apply the following:

  1. Create a System Restore point. You want to do this every time you do any system tweaking.

  2. Open the Run box, type: gpedit.msc and hit Enter. This will open the Local Group Policy editor.

  3. Once open, head to: Computer configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update.

  4. Double-click on Configure Automatic Updates.

  5. In the Configuration box that opens, select Enabled.

  6. From the Configure Automatic Updating drop down menu, select Notify for download and notify for install.

  7. Click Apply, then Exit and Restart your computer.

You can also set Windows Update off or make it notify you before installation if you select one of the other options. This will not affect your ability to update at a time of your choosing through the regular Check for Updates button. You can also turn Windows Update off completely by modifying the service itself.

Turning Windows Update off in 3 easy steps. You need to be running Windows 10 as an Administrator to apply the following:

  1. Head to the Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services

  2. Scroll down to Windows Update, right click and select Properties. This will open the Windows Update Properties panel.

  3. In the Startup Type drop down menu, select Disabled.

To use the Windows Update service in future, you will need to follow the same steps to turn the service on before Checking for Updates. This is recommended as you may not be able to install new features without the prior updates.

One good thing however is that unlike previous versions where you need to download all the updates again after each fresh OS restore, Windows 10 allows you to choose to install an updated build when doing System Recovery. This includes all the updates to the present date, so you don't have to download the same updates every time you reinstall the OS.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    For the how can I check the size part of the question, is the (over)simplified answer just "you cannot"? – D A Vincent Oct 17 '16 at 5:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.