How to Change Windows Update Settings (2023)

What to Know

  • Windows 11: Go to Settings > Windows Update > Advanced Options.
  • Windows 10: Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options.
  • We recommend turning on updates for other Microsoft products, and enabling metered connection downloads.

Windows Update exists to help make it easy to keep Windows up to date with the latest patches, service packs, and other updates. How easy depends on how Windows Update is configured to download and apply updates.

When you first turned on your new computer or were finishing your Windows operating system install, you told Windows Update how you wanted it to act—a little more automatic or a little more manual.

If your original decision isn't working out, or you need to change how it works to avoid repeating an auto-update issue, like what happens on some Patch Tuesdays, you can simply adjust how Windows receives and installs updates.

Depending on your version of Windows, this could mean downloading but not installing the updates, notifying you but not downloading them, or even disabling Windows Update completely.

Time Required: Changing how Windows updates are downloaded and installed should only take you a few minutes at most.

Microsoft made changes to the location and wording of Windows Update and its settings almost every time a new version of Windows was released. Below are three sets of instructions for changing/disabling Windows Update: one for Windows 11, one for Windows 10, one for Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista, and one for Windows XP.

Not sure what version of Windows you're running? Use the Lifewire System Info Tool to find out:

If you're changing Windows Update settings on another device and not sure what version it's running, see What Version of Windows Do I Have? for help.

How to Change Windows Update Settings in Windows 11

The Windows Update settings in Windows 11 didn't change much from Windows 10, aside from small things like different names for the options and the method you take to get to the settings.

  1. Right-click the Start button, and choose Settings. You can also left-click the Start button and search for Settings.

    How to Change Windows Update Settings (1)

  2. Choose Windows Update from the menu on the left.

  3. Select Advanced Options.

    How to Change Windows Update Settings (2)

  4. The options here control how Windows 11 will download and install updates for the operating system and, if selected, other software from Microsoft.

    How to Change Windows Update Settings (3)

    We highly recommend that you do the following: turn onReceive updates for other Microsoft products and turn onDownload updates over metered connections. All things considered, this is the safest way to go.

    (Video) How to Disable Windows Automatic Updates on Windows 10 Permanently (2021)

  5. Changes you make to Windows 11's Windows Update settings are saved automatically. You can close the Settings window when you're finished customizing the settings.

Here are more details on all these settings that are available to you in Windows Update for Windows 11:

Receive updates for other Microsoft products: Just as it sounds, you can have Windows Update deliver updates for other Microsoft programs that you have installed, such as Microsoft Office.

Get me up to date: Your PC will restart ASAP so that updates will finish installing as quickly as possible. You'll get a restart prompt 15 minutes before it happens so that you can save your work.

Download updates over metered connections: You'll receive automatic updates even if you're connected to a data-limited network. Most people, especially home users, are on unlimited data plans, so this is only relevant for people on a limited network, like through a mobile data plan.

Notify me when a restart is required to finish updating: A restart prompt will appear when Windows Update is ready to reboot your computer.

Active hours: Change this if Windows is rebooting your computer while you're using it. Telling Windows that your active hours are, say 9 AM to 5 PM, will force it to not reboot for updates during that time frame. The automatic option will choose the active hours based on your activity.

Delivery Optimization: Set download and upload speed limits to ensure that not all of your network bandwidth is used for updates. You can also allow or deny letting your PC send already-downloaded Windows updates to other devices on your local network.

On the main Windows Update screen are some other options:

Pause updates: If updates are getting in the way of your computer usage, you can pause them for anywhere from 1 week to 5 weeks. Windows will resume updates after the pause period is up.

Windows Insider Program: This lets you receive early versions of major updates to Windows 11. This is the fastest way to get the newest features as they become available, before everyone else. However, depending on the option you choose after enabling this, you might end up using an unstable version that isn't fit for public use just yet. This is accessible from the main Windows Update screen.

How to Change Windows Update Settings in Windows 10

Beginning in Windows 10, Microsoft simplified the options available to you regarding the Windows Update process, but also removed some of the finer control you may have enjoyed in earlier versions.

  1. Select Start and then choose the settings icon.

    How to Change Windows Update Settings (4)

  2. Choose Update & Security.

    How to Change Windows Update Settings (5)

  3. Choose Windows Update from the menu on the left, assuming it's not already selected.

  4. Select Advanced options.

    How to Change Windows Update Settings (6)

  5. The various settings on this page control how Windows 10 will download and install updates for the operating system, and perhaps other software, from Microsoft.

    How to Change Windows Update Settings (7)

    (Video) How to Change Windows 10 Update Settings [Tutorial]

    We highly recommend that you do the following: turn on Receive updates for other Microsoft products when you update Windows, turn on Download updates over metered connections (extra charges may apply), and don't enable any deferred/pause updates options (if you see them).

  6. Changes to Windows Update settings in Windows 10 are saved automatically once you make them. Once you're done selecting or deselecting things, you can close the Advanced options window that's open.

Here are more details on all the "advanced" Windows Update settings that are available to you in Windows 10:

Update notifications: Choose this option to automatically download updates of all kind—security and non-security. You'll be told when Windows needs to restart to apply them, so that you can prepare by saving work, etc.

There is no official way to turn off automatic updating in Windows 10, nor is there a straightforward way to disable Windows Update altogether.

Here's what some of that other stuff on the Advanced options screen is for:

Receive updates for other Microsoft products when you update Windows: This is pretty self-explanatory. We recommend checking this option so other Microsoft programs you have installed will get automatic updates, too. (Updates for your Windows Store apps are handled in the Store. Open Settings from the Store and then toggle on or off the Update apps automatically option.)

Pause Updates: Choosing one of these options will stop Windows from updating your computer for several days, up to 35. When that time period is over, Windows Update will be forced to install the newest updates before you can pause them again.

Defer upgrades: There are two deferred update options in Windows 10, letting you delay feature updates and/or quality updates. Doing so lets you wait several days or months before these updates will automatically install. Deferring upgrades isn't supported in Windows 10 Home.

On the primary Windows Update screen is another option:

Change active hours: If Windows is restarting for updates when you're using your computer, you can adjust this setting to tell Windows when you're on your computer, to make sure that updates don't force-restart during that time. Pick the automatic option and Windows will choose the active hours based on your activity.

Depending on the version of Windows 10 you're running, you might also see the options listed below.

Choose the branch readiness level: Windows Update lets you choose when to install updates. You can pick Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) which means the update is ready for most people, or Semi-Annual Channel which refers to updates that are ready for widespread use in organizations.

Choose how updates are delivered: These options, if you see them, allow you to enable or disable the downloading, as well as the uploading, of Windows Update related files around your local network or even the entire internet. Participating in the Updates from more than one place program helps speed up the Windows Update process in Windows 10.

Get insider builds: If you see it, it allows you to sign up to get early versions of major updates to Windows 10. When enabled, you'll have Fast or Slow options, indicating how soon after these Windows 10 test versions are made available that you'll get them.

How to Change Windows Update Settings in Windows 8, 7, & Vista

Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 in January of 2020. That means no more updates. Windows 8 support ended in 2016 and Vista ended many years before that. If you are still running one of those versions of Windows you have nothing to worry about because there won't be any updates.
Windows 8.1 will still get updates until January 10, 2023.

These three versions of Windows have very similar Windows Update settings but we'll call out any differences as we walk through the process.

How to Change Windows Update Settings (8)

(Video) Fix Some Settings Are Managed By Your System Administrator [Can't change windows Update Settings]

  1. Open Control Panel. In Windows 8, the WIN+X Menu is the quickest way, and in Windows 7 & Vista, check the Start menu for the link.

  2. Select System and Security, or just Security in Windows Vista.

    If you're viewing the Classic View, Large icons, or Small icons view of Control Panel, choose Windows Update instead and then skip to Step 4.

  3. Choose Windows Update from the System and Security window.

  4. Select Change settings on the left.

  5. The settings you see on the screen right now control how Windows Update will look for, receive, and install updates from Microsoft.

    We recommend that you choose to Install updates automatically (recommended) from the drop-down and then check all the other items on the page. This will make sure your computer receives and installs all the updates it needs.

    You can also customize the time that downloaded updates are installed. In Windows 8, this is behind the Updates will be automatically installed during the maintenance window link, and in Windows 7 & Vista, it's right there on the Windows Update screen.

  6. ChooseOKto save the changes. Feel free to close any open windows related to Windows Update.

Here's a bit more on all of those options you have:

Install updates automatically (recommended): Choose this option to have Windows Update automatically check for, download, and install important security patches.

Download updates but let me choose whether to install them: Choose this to have Windows Update automatically check for and download important updates but not install them. You'll have to explicitly choose to install the updates either from Windows Update or during the next shutdown process.

Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them: With this option, Windows Update will check for and notify you of available updates but you'll need to manually approve the download and installation of them.

Never check for updates (not recommended): This option disables Windows Update completely in Windows 8, 7, or Vista. When you choose this, Windows Update won't even check with Microsoft to see if important security patches are available.

Here are what some of those other checkboxes mean, not all of which you'll see, depending on your version of Windows and how your computer is configured:

Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates: This option gives Windows Update permission to treat patches that Microsoft "recommends" the same way as patches thought to be "critical" or "important," and download and install them as you've selected in the drop-down box.

Allow all users to install updates on this computer: Check this if you have other, non-administrator accounts on your computer that actually get used. This will let those users install updates, too. However, even when unchecked, updates installed by an administrator will still get applied to those user accounts, they just won't be able to install them.

Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows: Check this option, which is a bit wordier in Windows 7 & Vista, if you own other Microsoft softwareand you want Windows Update to handle updating those as well.

Show me detailed notifications when new Microsoft software is available: This is pretty self-explanatory—check it if you want to get notifications, via Windows Update, when Microsoft software you don't have installed is available for your computer.

How to Change Windows Update Settings in Windows XP

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP many years ago. There will be no more updates. For your archives, here's how it worked back when they did still send updates.

(Video) How To Turn Windows Update Service On Or Off In Windows 10/8/7

Windows Update is more an online service than an integrated part of Windows XP, but the update settings can be set from within the operating system.

How to Change Windows Update Settings (9)

  1. Open Control Panel, usually via Start, and then its link on the right.

  2. Click Security Center.

    If you're viewing Control Panel in the Classic View, you won't see this link. Instead, double-click Automatic Updates and then skip to Step 4.

  3. Click the Automatic Updates link near the bottom of the window.

  4. These four options you see in the Automatic Updates window control how Windows XP gets updated.

    We highly recommend that you choose the Automatic (recommended) option and the everyday choice from the drop-down that appears underneath, along with a time you're not using your computer.

    Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and so they no longer push updates to Windows XP. However, considering that exceptions could be made in the future and that you still might not have the most up to date patches and features, we recommended keeping the "automatic" settings enabled.

  5. Click OK to save your changes.

Here are more details on what those four choices actually mean for your Windows Update experience in Windows XP:

Automatic (recommended): Windows Update will automatically check for, download, and install updates, with no input from you needed.

Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them: Updates will be checked for, and downloaded, from Microsoft's servers, but they won't be installed until you manually approve them.

Notify me but don't automatically download or install them: Windows Update will check for new updates from Microsoft, and let you know about them, but they won't be downloaded and installed until you say so.

Turn off Automatic Updates: This option completely disables Windows Update in Windows XP. You won't even be told that updates are available. You can, of course, still visit the Windows Update website yourself and check for any new patches.

Disabling Windows Update & Turning off Automatic Updates

While it is possible, at least prior to Windows 10, we do not recommend completely disabling Windows Update. At the very least, choose an option where you're notified of new updates, even if you choose not to have them automatically download or install.

And on that thought...we also do not recommend turning off automatic updating. Letting Windows Update check, download, and automatically install updates is a very good way to make sure you're protected from being exploited by security issues after they're discovered. Yes, at least in Windows 8, 7, and Vista, you could compromise by making that critical "install" part up to you, but that's just one more thing you have to remember to do.

Bottom line: we say keep it simple by keeping it automatic.

How to Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates


How do I fix Windows Update settings? ›

If you get an error code while downloading and installing Windows updates, the Update Troubleshooter can help resolve the problem. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters.

How do I change Windows Update schedule? ›

Select your own active hours
  1. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update , then select Change active hours.
  2. Next to your current active hours, select Change. Then choose the start time and end time for active hours.

How do I find Windows Update settings panel? ›

To double check that your device is up to date, open Start > Settings > Windows Update and see your update status and available updates.

Can I choose which Windows 10 updates to install? ›

To Choose How Updates are Installed:
  • Click the Start button at the bottom left of your screen.
  • Select Settings.
  • Once the Settings screen appears, scroll down, and choose Update & Security.
  • Then choose Advanced Options under the Windows Update category.
Mar 30, 2022

How do I turn off automatic updates in Windows 10? ›

Go to "Computer Configuration" > "Administrative Templates" > "Windows Components" > "Windows Update". Double-click "Configure Automatic Updates". Select "Disabled" in Configured Automatic Updates on the left, and click Apply and "OK" to disable the Windows automatic update feature.

How to turn off Windows Update? ›

I am currently using Microsoft Update. How can I access Windows Update?
  1. On the Microsoft Update site, click Change Settings.
  2. Scroll down the page, click to select the Disable Microsoft Update software and let me use Windows Update only check box, and then click Apply changes now.
  3. You receive the following message:

Is it good to disable Windows Update? ›

Permanently disabling automatic updates in Windows 10 may cause security and stability problems, so you may prefer to “pause” to install them at a more convenient time.

Should Windows Update be set to automatic? ›

It is recommend setting for Windows 10. One loads automatically at boot. The manual loads when a process needs it (may cause errors on services that need an automatic service). Was this reply helpful?

How do I permanently turn off automatic updates in Windows 11? ›

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update. Double-click to open the “Configure Automatic Updates” policy. Choose the “Disabled” option to disable Windows Update permanently. Click the Apply button.

Do Windows updates download during active hours? ›

Change Your Active Hours

In Windows 10, Microsoft automatically downloads your updates and restarts your computer to install them, but with Active Hours, you can automatically set the times you do NOT want it to update. 1 . Click the Start Button, search for settings and open the Settings app.

How do you control the frequency of updates with Windows as a service? ›

Organizations can target which devices defer updates by selecting the Defer upgrades check box in Start\Settings\Update & Security\Advanced Options on a Windows client device. Windows Update for Business includes control over update deferment and provides centralized management using Group Policy or MDM.

Should I download Windows 10 update version 21H2? ›

Windows 10, version 21H2 is designated for broad deployment. As always, we recommend that you update your devices to the latest version of Windows 10 as soon as possible to ensure that you can take advantage of the latest features and advanced protections from the latest security threats.

Is it possible to disable automatic updates? ›

To disable or enable automatic updates of applications in Software update
  1. From your Home screen, tap the Application screen icon.
  2. Find and tap Settings > About phone/tablet > Software update > menu button (three vertical dots) > Settings.
  3. Tap Auto-update apps and select the relevant option.
Sep 4, 2022

How do I turn off all automatic updates? ›

Open the Play Store and tap your profile picture on the top right. Go to Settings, select Network preferences, and go to Auto-update apps. Select Don't auto-update apps and tap DONE. You could also select the Over Wi-Fi only option if you'd prefer automatic updates on Wi-Fi.

Can I refuse a Windows Update? ›

You cannot refuse updates; you can only delay them. One of the fundamental features of Windows 10 is that all Windows 10 PCs are completely up to date.

Are all windows updates really necessary? ›

Software updates are always a hassle, but every time you ignore Windows' updates, your operating system becomes more vulnerable. Operatng system updates are constantly being released to keep your system up to date with top-of-the-line features, and they're worth the download when you have the time.

What happens if you don't do Windows updates? ›

Potential consequences of not installing security updates are damaged software, loss of data, or identity theft. Every year, malware causes damage of millions of dollars worldwide.

Is it OK to use computer while updating? ›

The UpGrade process will take 100% control of the computer during the upGrade process. It may even automatically reboot several time before the final reboot and present the Setup Assist. You also can not use it while installing an update.

Is it safe to leave a computer updating overnight? ›

You can schedule virus scans and system updates to run overnight (or whenever you're not using your PC). This way, you can focus on whatever you're doing on your computer without being interrupted. For gamers, it's good to leave your PC on overnight to download large updates or full games.

Why do Windows updates sit at 100%? ›

There have been reports by users that the system updates get stuck at 100% and prevent the PC from restarting automatically. This issue can be caused by a number of reasons such as unexpected hardware changes, malware, interference of a third-party program, and corruption errors.

How do I change iOS update settings? ›

Go to Settings > General > Software Update. The screen shows the currently installed version of iOS and whether an update is available. To turn off automatic updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates.

Where do you go to update settings on iPhone? ›

Go to Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Automatic Updates, then turn on Download iOS Updates. Turn on Install iOS Updates. Your device will automatically update to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.

How do I get rid of Apple update settings? ›

6 tips to fix “update Apple ID settings stuck” on iPhone/iPad/Mac
  1. 1#. Force restart your iPhone. ...
  2. 2#. Sign out Apple ID and sign back in. ...
  3. 3#. Reset your Apple ID password. ...
  4. 4#. Update related Apple ID Information. ...
  5. 5#. Update iOS to the latest version. ...
  6. 6#. Reset all settings.
Sep 9, 2022

How do I change Google update settings? ›

You can manage Google Update settings using the Group Policy Management Editor. You can see the values of Google Update policies set for a computer in the Chrome policy list at chrome://policy.
  1. Go to Google Google Update Applications.
  2. Turn on Update policy override default.
  3. Under Options, select Disable updates.

How do I turn on automatic updates in Windows 10? ›

You can do this through the Microsoft Store.
  1. Open the Start Menu and type in “Microsoft Store”.
  2. Select the Microsoft Store icon to open it.
  3. In the top right hand corner, select your Account icon.
  4. Select App settings (App Settings in Windows 11).
  5. Make sure App updates – Update apps automatically is turned on.
Oct 7, 2022

Can you force updates on iOS? ›

If you didn't turn on automatic updates when you first set up your iPhone, do the following: Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates. Turn on Download iOS Updates and Install iOS Updates.

What are carrier settings updates? ›

Carrier settings updates are small files that are installed on iOS devices. The carrier settings include updates to Access Point Names (APNs), MMS settings, features like tethering and default apps. Having the most up to date carrier settings is recommended for the proper functionality of the device.

Where are updates in settings app? ›

How to update all Android apps automatically
  • Open the Google Play Store app .
  • At the top right, tap the profile icon.
  • Tap Settings Network Preferences. Auto-update apps.
  • Select an option: Over any network to update apps using either Wi-Fi or mobile data. Over Wi-Fi only to update apps only when connected to Wi-Fi.

How do I update my Windows 10 to Windows 11? ›

Install Windows 11

To check if Windows 11 is ready for your device, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and select Check for updates. If the upgrade is available for your device and you want to proceed, download and install it.

How do I uninstall Apple Windows update? ›

In Control Panel, click "Uninstall a program." The Programs and Features Control Panel will open. Alternately, if you don't see "Uninstall a program," click Programs and Features. Select iTunes. Click Uninstall.

Can you turn off Apple updates? ›

How to turn on or turn off automatic updates on your Mac. Open the App Store. From the menu bar at the top of the screen, choose App Store > Settings or App Store > Preferences. Select or deselect Automatic Updates.

Can you refuse an Apple update? ›

Apple is pretty determined that you update. You just have to keep telling it not to update. Avoid saying "later" because then it will just do it while you sleep; ask for details or something like that and then back out of the window sequence from there.

How do I remove the Windows 10 update from Google? ›

Method 1: The System Configuration Utility
  1. To open MSConfig, open the Run prompt. ...
  2. Once it opens, type msconfig and hit Enter.
  3. Open the Services tab.
  4. Look for the two following items: Google Update Service (gupdate) and Google Update Service (gupdatem). ...
  5. Uncheck both Google items and click OK.
Sep 20, 2022

How do I update Google settings on my PC? ›

Change your search settings
  1. On your computer, go to your Search settings.
  2. At the top right, find your Google Account profile picture to check that you're signed in to your Google Account. If you get a "Sign in" option, you're not signed in.
  3. Choose your search settings.
  4. At the bottom, click Save.

How do I uninstall Chrome update on Windows 10? ›

We had to brute force the downgrade of Chrome with the following steps:
  1. On your Windows search bar, type Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Navigate to Add or Remove Programs. ...
  3. Type Chrome into the Search box in the Add or Remove Program screen.
  4. In the Add or Remove Programs, on Google Chrome, click on the Uninstall button.


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