How To Change Windows Update Settings in Windows 10

Change How Important Updates to Windows 10 are Installed

Screenshot of the Advanced Windows Update screen in Windows 10
Windows Update Settings in Windows 10.

Windows Update is the only way to keep Windows 10 updated with the latest security fixes, feature improvements, and other patches.

Yes, some Windows 10 updates are available for individual installation from Microsoft but that manual process is confusing at best. Windows Update is the way to go.

That said, there are some ways in which you can customize how Windows Update works in Windows 10, which I explain below.

The following Windows Update settings tutorial applies to any edition of Windows 10, is easy to do, and should take less than a few minutes of your time:

Not using Windows 10? See How Do I Change Windows Update Settings? for links to steps specific for your version of Windows.

How To Change Windows Update Settings in Windows 10

  1. Tap or click on the Start button from the Windows 10 desktop.
  2. Choose Settings to open System Settings.
  3. Tap or click Update and security from the Settings window.
  4. Choose Window Update from the menu on the left, assuming it's not already selected.
  5. Tap or click on the Advanced options link on the right.

    This will open a window with a Choose how updates are installed heading.
  6. The various settings on this page control how Windows 10 will download and install updates from Microsoft.

    See my Explanation of Windows Update Settings in Windows 10 section below for help deciding which configuration will work best for you.

    Tip: While there are several options here, most people are best served by choosing Automatic (recommended) from the drop-down, checking Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows, and not checking the Defer upgrades check-box. More on all of those below.
  1. Changes to Windows Update settings in Windows 10 are saved immediately once you make them. Once you're done, feel free to close the Advanced Options window that's open.

Explanation of Windows Update Settings in Windows 10

Windows 10 gives you two options for how updates are handled via Windows Update:

  • Automatic (recommended)

    Choose this option to automatically download and install updates of all kind, both important security patches as well as not-as-important non-security updates, like feature improvements and minor bugs.

    Microsoft explains choosing this option like this: "Keep everything running smoothly. We'll restart your device automatically when you're not using it. Updates won't download over a metered connection (where charges may apply)."
  • Notify to schedule restart

    Choose this option to automatically download updates of all kind, security, and non-security. Updates that don't require a restart will install right away but ones that do won't restart your computer without your permission.

    Microsoft explains this option like this: "You'll be asked to schedule a restart to finish installing updates. Updates won't download over a metered connection (where charges may apply)."

Note: Previous Windows operating system versions granted finer control of the Windows Update process, including the ability to disable Windows Update altogether. There are various "hacks" and other methods out there that explain how to disable Windows Update in Windows 10 (like setting your Wi-Fi connection as metered) but I don't recommend any of them.

More Windows 10 Update Settings

The Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows. option is pretty self-explanatory. I recommend checking this option so other Microsoft programs you might have installed get updated automatically too, like Microsoft Office.

Tip: Update settings for the apps you've installed via the Windows Store are handled from there. Open Store, choose Settings and then toggle on or off the Update apps automatically option.

The Defer upgrades option, which is not available in Windows 10 Home, lets you wait several months or more before major non-security updates will automatically install, like the ones that introduce new features to Windows 10.

Just to be clear, Defer upgrades does not impact security related patches.

The Get Insider builds option, if you see 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.

The Choose how updates are delivered settings allows 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.