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Older Win10 Versions Facing Forced Updates

In its Release Note for KB4503288 for Windows 10 1803, MS presents a clear warning. Those who get updates from the Windows Update service should expect a forced upgrade to 1903 starting next week. Aka the “Windows 10 May 2019 Update,” this is the latest and greatest feature upgrade for that OS. Here’s how that warning appears in the afore-linked release notes:

Microsoft’s motivation in moving the installed base to 1903 is clear at the end of the preceding text snippet. It reads “. . . to help ensure that we keep these devices in a serviced, secure state.”  Simply put, MS doesn’t want the installed base to fall too far behind the current branch. This reduces versions of Windows for them to support. It also present fewer disparate attack surfaces for them to monitor, manage, and patch. If it makes you feel any better, it’s a kind of enlightened self-interest. MS has decided. It’s dragging the retail users (of which about half is running 1803 or an older version) into the present day. Some kicking and screaming is inevitable. In fact, it will be fascinating to see how this unfolds, and what kinds of  “war stories” emerge from the trenches as 1903 rolls out to a pretty sizable population.

What If You Don’t Want to Uprade Just Yet?

MS itself says this is a phased process that will last from June until November (at least 4 months). Thus, you can (and perhaps should) opt to get the upgrade later rather than sooner. To do that, download and install David Thanatos’ excellent Windows Update Manager (WuMgr.exe). With this tool in place on a Win10 machine, you can set its “Auto Update” to “Block Access to WU Servers” or “Disable Automatic Updates” to avoid the upgrade until you’re ready to put it work on your PC. Prudent or wary admins who get updates from WU will find this level of control pretty much absolute and unshakeable. If getting ready for the 1903/Windows 10 May 2019 Update means putting it off for a while (short or long), this will let you do just that. Enjoy!

Windows Update Manager is a great tool, worth exploring and using.
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