If you want to prevent Windows 10 from downloading updates automatically, we’ll show you how to do it.

A lot of software these days is updated automatically, including web browsers and the operating system on Google Chromebooks. They’re more services than software, and although Windows has always had fairly regular updates, Windows 10 has been unpopular with users because Microsoft really forced those updates out and restarted PCs even if you were in the middle of something.

Things are better now thanks to a feature called Active hours that lets you set a period of time each when Windows won’t restart. We’ll also explain how to use this.

Windows 10 Home users can’t defer updates like Pro users, but no-one can put them off forever, and nor should they. Plenty contain important security patches and bug fixes.

How to stop Windows 10 automatically downloading updates

One way to stop updates being downloaded is to set your internet connection as ‘metered’. This is a common thing on phones, where you wouldn’t want app updates eating up all your data allowance. And you can do the same thing in Windows 10.

To do this, open the Windows 10 Settings (the cog icon on the Start menu) and click Network and Intenet.

Stop Windows 10 Updates

Click on Wi-Fi in the left-hand menu, then click on the network to which your laptop, tablet or PC is connected (sadly, you can’t do this for wired Ethernet connections).

Stop Windows 10 Updates

Scroll down and you’ll see the option for Metered connection, and below it the switch to turn it on. 

Stop Windows 10 Update

This will reduce data usage and stop Windows updates from being downloaded.

Naturally, this will also prevent them from being installed, which means it’s a cunning way to defer updates if you have Windows 10 Home, which most home users do.

Since this setting is made per wireless network, you can choose whether to allow updates to download on some networks and not others – you may even find the setting useful if you tether your phone or tablet to your laptop.

These settings are all remembered by Windows, so once you’ve set them up the rules will then automatically apply every time you connect to that network. If you ever want to revert back to your normal state, then just turn off the Metered connection option.

How to prevent Windows 10 restarting when updates are installed

If you haven’t done already, it’s well worth setting up Active hours. In the Settings app choose Update & security, then scroll down and click ‘Change active hours’.

How to stop Windows 10 restarting

Between the hours you choose, Windows won’t automatically restart. And even outside those hours, it will check to see if you’re using your computer and warn you of the impending shut down.

How to stop Windows 10 restarting

Windows 10 Professional Edition: Defer upgrades

While Home users are stuck with having to work around automatic updates, Professional users have a built-in option that allows them to defer updates for several months. The best part of this option is that security patches are still applied, it’s just system updates that are held back.

Stop Windows 10 Updates

To enable the feature go to the Start Menu and type Settings, then select the top option. From Settings go to Advanced Options and there you’ll find the Defer Upgrades tick box under the Choose How Updates are Installed section. Click on this and you won’t have to worry about updates for a while.

Stop Window 10 Updates