Microsoft Makes Windows 10 Updates Optional

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is going back to its old policy of letting users choose what Windows updates they get and when they get them, albeit with some restrictions. It's also going to put updates through more testing before rolling them out.

One of the biggest change (and perhaps most controversial) with Windows 10 was the abandonment of the old policy by which users could take a case-by-case approach to downloading updates. The default in Windows 10 for home users has been that everything downloads and installs automatically, though exactly when this happens varies from device to device.

That's partly because of the switch to Windows 10 having "continued updates," rather than having a few major Service Packs released every few years before a completely new version of Windows was released.

Feature Updates Now Optional

With the next big update, due May 2019, security and feature updates will be treated separately. Security updates will continue to go out automatically. With feature updates, the user will get a notification that an update is available.

The user will have the option to download the update but then delayed installation for seven days. They can repeat this process five times, but at the 35-day mark it will install automatically. It wouldn't be surprising if some users chose to delay updates to see if any significant problems become apparent when they start being used by the general public. (Source:

Testing Program Beefed Up

If the user chooses not to download the update, nothing will happen. The exception will be if their device is approaching the point where Microsoft stops updating it because it's no longer considered powerful enough to cope with the evolving demands of Windows 10 (for example). In this situation, the computer will automatically get what will be its last ever update. (Source:

There will also be some changes to the testing process for updates. They will spend longer in the "Release Preview" phase where real-world users can test the updates, then notify Microsoft if something might go wrong. Microsoft is also going to work more closely with computer makers and software developers to get feedback on specific compatibility problems and bugs with an update.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Microsoft right to change the updates process in this way? Do you plan to delay installing future feature updates or even avoid them completely? Do you pay much attention to updates or would you prefer everything to happen automatically?

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jamies's picture

Ok sarcasm ...
Re 35 day pause - but you have to do the pause 5 times at specifically 7 day intervals - I have 64 bit Pro and was deferring updates over the Xmas and new year period - when I get to do 14 hour days dealing with the EOY influx of updates - So amusing when a message panel on the screen appears where I can accept updates NOW - or reboot to get any access to the apps and work I was doing at the time - NOT even an option to save current work at that time.
Re Transparency - Already got that in that MS updates are applied, and removed with nothing being apparent about removal, and application only evident as, or after it happens. - well except for the ACCEPT NOW panel
I do get to know when update actions have been applied - a message to WAIT WHILE UPDATES ARE INSTALLED - and then (on my main development system) maybe 2 days of abysmal response and occasional weirdness as the changes are "integrated" into the installed software base.

I also was (NOT) amused to be told by a feedback response staff member that the response centre staff have no access to the developer/maintenance team staff, or their database of 'items to be addressed'
seems that MS are still addressing complainers rather than the problems complained about.

So -
I will still be keeping the not-allowed-access-to-the-web systems for some work.
I did like being to be able to do offline updates from downloaded sets of fixes faster and easier to manage than having to connect systems with confidential data on them to the web.

And - finally - the comment re no more updates for systems not good enough ...
Where can I find details of the specifications, as I assume the published
win-10 spec of 1GB RAM for 32 bit and 2 GB for 64 bit win-10 will not apply.
I already note that a system with 32GB of storage will run win-10, but not allow any major update, 64GB storage will allow major updates .... providing the user does a mass and very aggressive cleanup.
Recent incremental backups in the days up-to, of, and following the XMAS & updates
were about 40GB more than my actual usage

buzzallnight's picture

Windows 10 is still not ready for use.

They better start thinking about extending win 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nospam_5346's picture

The user should be able to refuse to install feature updates completely. I find most Windows "features" to be totally useless for me and how I use my computer. I usually spend a lot of time deleting and/or disabling as many of them as I can.

The ideal OS in my opinion would be modular where the user could pick and choose what, if any, features they want on top of a basic OS necessary to run the computer.

One of my biggest complaints with Win 10 is Cortana. Don't need it or want it on my desktop and even after turning it off it still runs and phones home often.