Manage Microsoft Windows 10 Updates

The Complete Guide: How To Manage Windows 10 Updates

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One thing that sets Window 10 apart from previous versions is the increased simplicity of the periodic Windows 10 Updates. In this short article, we’ll show you the ins-and-outs of your Windows 10 Updates. In just a few minutes, you’ll discover how to customize your Update settings to get the most out of your PC.

First Off – What’s New?

Do you remember the days of those annoying restart reminder popups? Or when Windows restarted in the middle of your unsaved project? Your mind may fill with the horror of losing your work and having to start again from scratch. But do not be worried – those days are now over. Today:

  • You can set a timeframe (active hours) in which automatic restarts never happen (phew – you definitely want to do this!).
  • It’s not possible to skip updates, which keeps your PC secure (you can say goodbye to your security worries).
  • You can download updates more quickly, not only from Microsoft’s servers but also from strangers’ PCs on the internet.

Can’t Find The Settings For Your Windows 10 Updates? We’ll Show You Where They Are!

In previous versions, you could find the settings for Windows Updates in the Control Panel. Navigate to the Control Panel in Windows 10, and you may be surprised (or maybe shocked!) not to find any update settings there.

Microsoft’s effort to minimize the Control Panel has led to moving the feature enabling you to manage Windows Updates to the Settings menu. This is annoying for old-time users who were familiar with quickly finding them in the Control Panel.

Basically, to access Windows 10 Updates, you now have two ways:

  1. Access Windows 10 Updates From The Settings Menu:

Start > Settings > Update & Security -> Windows Update 

  1. Access Windows 10 Updates Using The Search Function:

Start > Search > Type in: ‘Windows Update’ > Windows Update settings

Managing & Customizing Windows 10 Automatic Updates

Once you open Windows Update, it’s time to configure it so that it is perfect for you. We’ll show you all the latest tips & tricks, and show you how you can take advantage of each feature based on your needs.

In the welcome screen, you can see the date when updates were last performed at the top, along with any updates that are currently in progress. If no updates are in progress, a button exists which you can click to “Check for updates”. You don’t necessarily have to check manually though; your PC automatically does it.

Active Hours

Right below you have the link where you can configure your active hours. Remember – don’t forget to do this! It is important to set those to your working schedule to prevent your computer from restarting in the middle of your work. That’s why we recommend setting active hours to cover all your waking time. That way, you never risk losing your work in an automatic restart. Your peace of mind is essential, so do this right away!

View Update History

Below the active hours link, you can view your update history. Here you can check for any previously installed updates. At first, you may be wondering – what are all the different kinds of updates? It’s important to know that Windows 10 has four types of updates.

You have more substantial Feature Updates, which add new functionality and happen two times a year (in March and September), and smaller Quality Updates which improve existing functionality and repair bugs which occur monthly. Most of your security updates are Quality Updates – and it’s vital to make sure your PC gets those updates. You don’t want to become a victim to the latest malware out there!

You also have Driver Updates, which update any of your existing drivers and improve the performance of your PC. Lastly, there are definition updates, which mostly include updates to your Window Defender malware database. If you want to learn more about the kinds of Windows 10 updates and how they are delivered, click here.

Remember – make sure you verify this section from time to time to make sure all updates are successful. If you see an update that wasn’t completed successfully you can search for its error code to see why it failed. Also, you should verify that the install is successful the next time around. Doing this may take some work – but it’s well worth the effort, and will actually save you time & money in the long-run.

Advanced Options

Below “View update history” there is the Advanced Options link. Here you can control how your updates happen.

An important feature you generally want to leave on is the first one: to receive updates from other Microsoft products (such as MS Office) along with your Windows updates.

Since everyone (well almost everyone) wants to avoid extra charges, you probably want to leave the option to download updates over a metered connection off.

And if you have set your active hours correctly as recommended above, you can leave the additional reminder before a restart off.

For the other settings, you should generally stick with the defaults. However, if reliability is crucial to you, then you may want to switch the Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) to Semi-Annual Channel. Doing this installs feature updates more slowly, only after they have been tested for a longer time (usually 4 months later). Click here to learn more about the difference between the Targeted channel and the other variant!

The options to defer updates are only available for Windows 10 Pro, Education & Enterprise editions. So, if you’re running Windows 10 Home, you need a workaround to defer updates – we’ll show you one at the end of this guide, though we don’t recommend it.

Delivery Optimization

In this section, you can control whether your downloads happen just from Microsoft’s server, or also from other PCs. We recommend that you leave this setting on, and choose the last option to speed up your updates. The faster, the better!

Delivery Optimization > Advanced Options

In the Advanced Options, you can control how much of your bandwidth your PC uses for downloads and uploads to other PCs.

If you are using your PC for activities that consume a lot of bandwidth, such as gaming, we recommend you limit bandwidth for downloads that occur in the background and set the percentage to around 10-20%. Afterall, you don’t want your other activities to be slower due to background downloads.

If you would like to disable uploading updates from your PC to other PCs on the internet, we recommend setting your bandwidth limit and monthly update limit to the minimum.

Delivery Optimization > Activity Monitor

In the Activity Monitor, you can view where your downloads are coming from, the average download speed, and any upload statistics. The addition of this report increases the transparency of Windows updates and how they occur. This is Microsoft’s response to a common complaint about previous Windows 10 builds.

BONUS: How To Turn Windows Update Off (NOT RECOMMENDED)

We don’t recommend you do this, but if you want to turn Windows Update off, you can do so by following the instructions in the video here.

Wrap Up

So, there you have it. Now you know how to fully customize & manage your Windows 10 Automatic Updates to get the most out of your PC!

Tudor is an internet entrepreneur with extensive experience in the information technology industry. Building on a lifelong passion for computers he loves helping others better understand how software and hardware can improve their lives. Tudor currently is the owner of the online marketing & copywriting agency Tanda Copywriting.

Tudor F. Dumitrescu

Tudor is an internet entrepreneur with extensive experience in the information technology industry. Building on a lifelong passion for computers he loves helping others better understand how software and hardware can improve their lives. Tudor currently is the owner of the online marketing & copywriting agency Tanda Copywriting.