How to Manage Windows 10 Updates Like a Pro

Detailed guide on how to manage Windows 10 updates and optimize them according to your needs.

Windows 10, unlike its predecessors, is described as being as a service, which means, it gets regular feature updates. However, Windows Update is known to cause issues once it is installed.

So, how to fix issues or manage updates?

In this post, I am going to answer this and many other questions related to Windows Update. Though, Windows 10 has redefined updates that restrict you from selectively installing the updates. Nevertheless, there are still some options that help you manage updates, and we are going to discuss them below.

Configure Windows Update

You can use the available settings to manage the updates in Windows 10. Though there is not as much freedom as in previous versions, yet we can tinker around using these settings.

For this, you’ll have to open the Start menu go to Settings and choose “Update & Security“. Then check out the tips & tricks below.

Change active hours

Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs updates on your computer, but it does not restart your system while you are using it, fortunately. Also, it does not restart your computer if it knows you may need the system any minute.

That means you need to set your active hours so that it does not restart during your work. You can tell the system your active or work hours using the steps below:

  1. Click “Change active hours” under Windows Update.
  2. Change the start time and end time in the dialog and click Save.
Change active update hours in Windows 10

Optimize updates

Windows Update Delivery Optimization feature helps you to get updates quickly from other systems nearby that are running on Windows 10. What I find interesting is that it needs no configuration from your side except you need to enable it. I found it to be especially useful if you have lots of computers running on a single network.

In such a case, you can avoid downloading updates on each computer directly from Microsoft, instead, you can download it once and get it on all computers present on the same network from the primary machine. You can also allow to download/upload updates from/to unknown PCs. Below are the steps:

  1. Click “Advanced options” under Windows Update, then click the link “Delivery Optimization“.
  2. Toggle on the option “Allow downloads from other PCs” and choose one of the radio buttons below it.
Optimize update delivery in Windows 10

Pause updates

Although Windows 10 does not offer an option to switch off the updates altogether, but you can still pause updates for 35 days (only available to the users of Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise).

Moreover, after this period, Windows 10 will automatically switch on the updates, and you cannot pause it again until you download all the latest updates. Please find below the steps to pause the updates in Windows 10:

  1. Click the link “Advanced options” under Windows Update.
  2. Toggle on the option under “Pause Updates” on this screen.
Pause updates in Windows 10

Uninstall updates

Windows Update is known to cause problems (sometimes), and in such cases, you may think to uninstall the problematic updates to fix issues. Although it was possible before, now you cannot remove individual updates.

Of course, you can use the recovery options to fix problems from updates. While you are checking out Windows Update, click the link “View update history” > “Recovery options” to check the available recovery options.

Recovery options in Windows 10

Fix Windows Update issues

First of all, let me talk about fixing updates when common fixes like rebooting your computer and restarting the update process do not work. Windows Update, in my experience, usually works wonders, but every software has its flaws.

Windows Update may not work due to numerous issues, and Microsoft has released a troubleshooter to help you find and fix update issues easily.

Hack via Group Policy Editor

If the standard options to configure Windows Update is not enough for you, then you may wish to hack into Group Policy Editor. It allows tweaking a lot more settings, but here’s the catch: few options work if you are running Windows 10 Pro, Education, or Enterprise while others work in Windows 10 Home too.

You can click Win + R to open Run, type in “gpedit.msc” and press Enter to open the Local Group Policy Editor. In its left pane, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update to check the various configuration options.

Defer updates

In the editor, open the sub-folder named “Windows Update for Business“, and open the options named “Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received” and “Select when Quality Updates are received“. You can configure these options to defer feature updates by a maximum of 365 days (and choose readiness level) and quality updates by a maximum of 30 days.

Defer updates in Windows 10

Hack more options

In the folder “Windows Update“, you will see many more options that allow you to configure many aspects of the Windows Update. For example, “Always automatically restart at the scheduled time” will force restart the system after installing updates (after giving some minutes to save your work), “Do not include drivers with Windows Updates” lets you avoid driver updates, etc.

Windows Update in Local Group Policy Editor

That is all about configuring and managing updates in Windows 10. Hope these tips and tricks will help you in running your computer efficiently than before.