This content is part of the Essential Guide: Windows 10 how-to guide

Can I change the Windows Update settings?

Windows Update can reboot machines at the worst times, but in Windows 10 you can schedule updates.

Using the default settings, Windows Update tends to be disruptive, but there are settings you can change to control updates and reboots.

Previous versions of Windows had a bad habit of forcing a reboot at the most inopportune moments. Windows 10 performs reboots in the wee hours which is better, but can still be disruptive. Consider an all-nighter being disrupted by an unwanted reboot, or coming into the office in the morning to discover something you were working on was lost to an unanticipated reboot. This is a problem for users and IT administrators alike.

To change Windows Update settings in Windows 10, click the Start button then Settings, followed by Update and Security. When the Update and Security screen opens, select the Windows Update tab and then click on the Advanced Options link. Go to the Choose How Updates are Installed section and select the Notify to Schedule Restart option. This will force Windows to ask you to schedule a reboot rather than the operating system taking it upon itself to reboot automatically.

Some updates are downloaded automatically, and in most cases, it's a good idea to let Windows automatically download updates. But if you have a compelling reason to avoid automatic updates, you can. There's no "do not download updates" setting, but the previously mentioned Advanced Options screen has a workaround. This screen says that updates won't be downloaded over a metered connection, or one where there is a charge for bandwidth consumption. If you want to put a stop to automatic updates, you can trick Windows into thinking that you are using a metered connection, and you will still be able to manually download updates. Keep in mind that metering is configured on a per-adapter basis.

Next Steps

What is Windows Update?

Use GPOs to control Windows 8 and 8.1 updates

Everything we know about Windows Update for Business

Dig Deeper on Windows 10