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4 Ways to Easily Disable Windows Updates in Desktops and Servers

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Windows updates are essential to keeping your system safe with access to the latest tools and features. Updates provide bug fixes, performance improvements, and, perhaps most importantly, security patches that protect your device from potential threats.

Still, there are a few reasons why you may want to disable Windows updates—either temporarily or permanently. Are you wondering how to turn Windows updates off? Find out all the details below.

Why should you disable Windows Update?

Disabling Windows updates comes with pros and cons. The advantages of disabling Windows updates include:

  • Higher stability: If you rely on specific applications or devices that aren’t fully compatible with the latest Windows updates, you may run into instability or functionality problems. Disabling Windows updates can help your system run smoothly and without disruption.
  • Greater convenience: Windows updates often require system restarts, which can interrupt your workflow and lead to productivity losses—especially if you’re working on a critical project or in a time-sensitive environment. By disabling Windows updates, at least temporarily, you can have more control over when and how your system installs new upgrades.
  • Full control: Some users have specific reasons for not wanting to install updates automatically, such as concerns about data usage or privacy. In these cases, disabling Windows updates provides the freedom to choose which updates to install manually, giving users greater control over system maintenance.

However, there are significant downsides to disabling Windows updates as well. The disadvantages that you’ll experience when you turn off automatic updates in Windows include:

  • Security risks: Disabling updates exposes your system to potential security vulnerabilities, as you miss out on crucial security patches and bug fixes. Without regular updates, your computer becomes an easy target for malware, ransomware, and other malicious attacks.
  • Performance slowdowns: Windows updates often include performance improvements that can enhance the overall functionality and speed of your computer. Failing to install the latest upgrades will mean that your system won’t be getting a boost.
  • Compatibility issues: Compatibility can be a problem for systems running software that is too new and too old. Outdated systems may face compatibility issues with newer software or hardware that require updated Windows versions.

Temporarily switching off Windows updates can help you deal with issues like program incompatibility and productivity concerns. For most users, however, there is little to no benefit from permanently disabling Windows updates. Instead, these users will likely want to turn off Windows updates temporarily by following one of the four methods in the next section.

How to disable Windows 10 Update

Windows 10 offers several methods to disable Windows updates. Let’s explore four of the most effective ways:

Disable the Windows Update service

One way to disable Windows updates is by stopping the Windows Update service. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “services.msc” and press Enter to open the Services window.
  3. Scroll down and locate the “Windows Update” service.
  4. Right-click on the service and select “Properties.”
  5. In the Properties window, change the “Startup type” to “Disabled.”
  6. Click on “Apply” and then “OK” to save the changes.

By disabling the Windows Update service, you prevent Windows from automatically checking for and installing updates. However, remember that this method only disables the service temporarily and will not prevent updates from being installed when the service is enabled again.

Change Group Policy Editor settings

Learning to stop Windows Updates through the Group Policy Editor is also helpful. Here’s how you can use this method:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “gpedit.msc” and press Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.
  3. Navigate to “Computer Configuration” > “Administrative Templates” > “Windows Components” > “Windows Update.”
  4. Double-click on “Configure Automatic Updates” to open the settings.
  5. Select the “Disabled” option to turn off automatic updates.
  6. Click on “Apply” and then “OK” to save the changes.

Using the Group Policy Editor allows you to have more granular control over Windows updates. You can choose to disable automatic updates entirely or configure specific update settings according to your preferences.

Meter your network connection

Windows 10 includes a feature called “Metered Connection,” which can be used to limit the data usage of certain network connections. By setting your network connection as metered, you can effectively prevent Windows from automatically downloading and installing updates. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open the “Settings” app by pressing the Windows key + I on your keyboard.
  2. Click on “Network & Internet” and select “Wi-Fi” or “Ethernet,” depending on your connection type.
  3. Scroll down and click on “Advanced Options.”
  4. Toggle the switch under “Metered Connection” to turn it on.

When your network connection is set as metered, Windows will not automatically download or install updates. However, keep in mind that this method can also prevent other apps from downloading updates or syncing data, so use it judiciously.

Use the Windows Registry

The Windows Registry allows you to turn off automatic updates by modifying various system settings. Here’s how you can disable Windows updates using the Registry Editor:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “regedit” and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate
  4. Right-click on the “WindowsUpdate” folder and select “New” > “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
  5. Name the new value “AUOptions” and set it to “2” to disable automatic updates.
  6. Click on “OK” to save the changes.

Using the Windows Registry to disable Windows updates provides a more advanced method for controlling update behavior. However, modifying the Registry can be risky if not done correctly, so exercise caution and create a backup of your Registry before making any changes.

Should I permanently disable Windows Update?

While temporarily disabling Windows updates may have benefits, permanently disabling them is generally not recommended. Windows updates are crucial for maintaining the security and stability of your device. Permanently disabling updates exposes your system to potential vulnerabilities, and your system misses out on important bug fixes and performance improvements.

This means you’ll need to balance having control over system updates and ensuring your computer’s security. Consider reenabling updates during non-working hours or using tools with more granular control over the update process.

In most cases, reenabling Windows updates is as simple as disabling them in the first place. For example, when changing the Group Policy Editor settings, you should select the “Enabled” option rather than “Disabled.” You can adapt the instructions above depending on your preferred method to turn on Windows updates.

Rather than permanently disabling Windows updates, consider utilizing tools like NinjaOne to manage your updates effectively. NinjaOne provides patch management software that offers a robust suite of features, including automated remote patch management, a patch status dashboard, and compliance reporting. Watch a demo or sign up for a free trial today.

Next Steps

Building an efficient and effective IT team requires a centralized solution that acts as your core service deliver tool. NinjaOne enables IT teams to monitor, manage, secure, and support all their devices, wherever they are, without the need for complex on-premises infrastructure.

Learn more about Ninja Endpoint Management, check out a live tour, or start your free trial of the NinjaOne platform.

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