If you rather not have Windows silently downloading and installing updates in the background - you and I are on the same boat. For security reasons, it's a good idea to have the latest patches and fixes installed on your system but sometimes you might want to have some control of when you want those updates.

To do this, launch the Group Policy editor (note that this requires Professional, Enterprise, or Education versions of Windows 10) by typing gpedit.msc in the Run dialog (Windows Key + R).

Steps are as follows:

  • Go under "Computer Configuration" > "Administrative Templates" > "Windows Components" > "Windows Update"
    gpedit
  • Find the "Configure Automatic Updates" setting and double-click it
  • Toggle the setting to "Enabled" and choose your preferred setting ("Auto download and notify for install" or "Notify for download and notify for install" - I personally prefer this option)
    gpedit2
  • Finish by saving the changes

Go "Check for updates" in Windows Update then click on "Advanced options" - you'll see a message indicating "Some settings are managed by your organization" and this shows that the Group Policy changes you made are in effect.

To revert this change, simply go back in Group Policy and open up the "Configure Automatic Updates" setting and toggle it from "Enabled" to "Not configured" then hit Save. Repeat the "Check for updates" > "Advanced options" process and everything will be back to the way it was before (Windows Update only registers the change when you click the "Check for updates" button).

For the audience members that are comfortable with making registry changes, go under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU in Regedit. Make a new DWORD value called "AUOptions" under the AU key and assign it one of the following values:

  • 00000002 (Notify for download and notify for install)
  • 00000003 (Auto download and notify for install)
  • 00000004 (Auto download and schedule the install)

You may have to restart your machine and prompt Windows Update to check for updates again afterwards.