[Windows 10 Tip] Change Windows Update Download and Installation Related Settings

Imagine a situation when your system administrator or a 3rd party software or a malware disabled/restricted Windows Update settings page. In such situations, you won't be able to change Windows Update download and installation related settings because all available options would be grayed out or completely removed.

Same thing happened with Windows 10 operating system. Microsoft has disabled customization of Windows Update settings in Windows 10 by removing all options related to Windows Update downloading and installation. They did this because they wanted Windows 10 to automatically download and install all updates and hotfixes. Microsoft didn't want Windows 10 users to modify Windows Update settings, the company wanted to prevent them from disabling Automatic Updates in Windows 10.

In Windows 10, you can't change settings of automatically download and install Windows updates in its settings page. Now Windows 10 will automatically download and install new updates without your knowledge and you'll have no idea when and which updates Windows were installed. If you open Windows Update settings page in Windows 10, you get following screen:

Windows_Update_Settings_Disabled.png

You can see in above screenshot, Windows 10 is showing that available updates will be downloaded and installed automatically.

If you are on a limited bandwidth or slow Internet connection, you may want to change the settings to notify you before downloading and installing the updates so that you can select which updates do you want to install and when.

If you are using Windows 10 and want to be able to change Windows Update settings, this guide will help you.

Today in this article, we are going to tell you methods to remove this restriction and to become able to modify Windows Update download and install related settings. After following these methods you'll be able to force Windows 10 to notify and ask you before downloading new updates as shown in following screenshot:

Change_Windows_Update_Settings.png

You can see in the above screenshot, Windows Update is showing that you'll be asked to download available updates which means it'll not download new updates automatically. You'll be notified about available updates first. Once you click on Download button, Windows will start downloading available updates otherwise not.

Proof: Forcing Windows 10 to Always Notify Before Downloading Updates

Good news is that we can remove this restriction from Windows Update settings using following 2 methods:

  • METHOD 1: Using Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc)
  • METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor (regedit.exe)

So without wasting time lets start the tutorial:

METHOD 1: Using Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc)

1. Press WIN+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box. Now type gpedit.msc and press Enter. It'll open Group Policy Editor.

2. Now go to:

Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update

3. In right-side pane, look for "Configure Automatic Updates" option.

Configure_Automatic_Updates_Options.png

4. The option would be set to Not Configured. Double-click on it and set it to Enabled.

Now select any of the given options according to your requirements:

  • 2 - Notify for download and notify for install
  • 3 - Auto download and notify for install
  • 4 - Auto download and schedule the install
  • 5 - Allow local admin to choose setting

Allow_Windows_Update_Settings_Customization.png

PS: Select the last option "5 - Allow local admin to choose setting" to be able to choose options in drop-down box on Windows Update settings page.

That's it. Apply changes and open Windows Update settings page. Now you'll be able to change desired settings.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

After applying changes in Group Policy Editor, open Windows Update page in Settings app. Now click on "Check for updates" button to force Windows 10 to apply your changes. After that the new settings will be applied successfully.

METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor (regedit.exe)

If you are using Windows 10 Home edition, you'll not be able to run gpedit.msc command because this edition doesn't come with Group Policy Editor. But you can enable Group Policy Editor in this edition using this tutorial.

If you can't use or don't want to use Group Policy Editor, you can take help of Registry Editor for the same task. Just follow these simple steps:

1. Press WIN+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box. Now type regedit and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

3. Create a new key under Windows key and set its name as WindowsUpdate

4. Create another new key under WindowsUpdate key and set its name as AU

So the final key path would be:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

5. Now select AU key and in right-side pane create a new DWORD AUOptions and set its value to any of following according to your requirements:

  • 2 (To notify for download and notify for install)
  • 3 (To auto download and notify for install)
  • 4 (To auto download and schedule the install)
  • 5 (To allow local admin to choose setting)

Remove_Restrictions_Windows_Update_Settings.png

PS: Set the value of AUOptions to 5 to be able to choose options in drop-down box on Windows Update settings page.

NOTE: If you are using 64-bit edition of Windows, you'll also need to follow steps 3-5 for following Registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

6. Close Registry Editor and open Windows Update settings page. Now you'll be able to change desired settings.

PS: If you are not familiar with Registry editing tasks, we are also providing ready-made Registry script to do the task automatically. Download following ZIP file, extract it and run .REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it. Restart your computer and Windows will always notify you before downloading new updates:

Registry Script to Force Windows to Notify Before Downloading Updates

IMPORTANT NOTE:

After applying changes in Registry Editor, restart your computer. After reboot, open Windows Update page in Settings app. Now click on "Check for updates" button to force Windows 10 to apply your changes. After that the new settings will be applied successfully.

Further Read:

Fixing Windows 10 Automatic Updates Install Problem

[Windows 10 Tip] Disable Automatic Driver Updates Installation via Windows Update

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Comments

  • unrelated but important to me question...

    i was using Windows 7 without major problems... I wanted to try Windows 8 and found it better for my needs

    i had a registry file based on ShellBagView for folders settings... its job was to reset folder settings to default... unfortunately it go deleted during installation...

    can you please help me with the same?

  • VG

    ^^ Here you go:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-fix-annoying-folder-view-type-problem-in-windows-vista/

  • Awesome. I was using Windows 10 and I was very annoyed by this behavior. I wanted full control on Windows update because I am using USB modem connection with 2 GB limit.

    Thanks VG. Worked like a charm. :D

  • its working
    To turn on Automatic Updates yourself, follow these steps:
    1 Click Start, click Run, type wscui.cpl, and then click OK.
    2 Click Automatic Updates.
    3 The following options are available:
    -Automatic (recommended)
    This option lets you select the day and the time that updates are automatically downloaded and installed. This can be every day, or it can be on a specific day and time.
    -Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them
    This option automatically downloads updates, but requires user interaction to install them.
    Notify me but don't automatically download or install them
    This option notifies you that there are updates available. It requires user interaction to download them and install them.
    -Turn off Automatic Updates
    This option disables Automatic Updates. It provides a link to the Windows Update Web site where you can manually select, download, and install updates.

  • Great solution on Windows 2008 server with regedit. Thanks.

  • Gosh vishal, thanks for your article! Windows 10 had been installing extremely buggy video card drivers on my laptop every time it did a windows update, and this would cause my pc to only display a black window. And i could not stop windows from doing it!

    But thanks to your article, now i can make sure this does not get installed again. Thanks vishal!

  • Thanks alot for your help! Method 2 works! People like you make internet great!

  • Thank you very much for the TIP and help.

  • Hi,

    I made a minimal windows start and I repeat operation and it worked :)

  • Thank you and thanks google leading me here =) you saved me a lot of time and hassle! Keep up the good job! /b

  • Thanks for this great help. I can only assume a malware program changed the windows update settings so that it no longer checked for windows updates at all. As the only user and even with administrative rights, I was not able to change this setting, until I followed these steps.
    Worked perfectly fine for me, so thank you.

  • Thanks for the help.It was very very useful to fix the problem.Thanks again!!!!!!!!

  • thank you makes alot of sense kind regards

  • Thanks for the help I followed the directions having a little problem entering the 5 choice in the AU folder. Now all is working great
    Thanks again

  • thanks by me a lot . i am really happy with ur help after i followed ur instructions i have just fixed my problem , u are friendly , now i can updates my updates , it made me so upset i thought my windows 8 laptop is going have big problem.
    again thanks

  • I've been looking solution for the same problem and found this bam! nice. it works on my win 8.1 using method 2. thanks!

  • The whole thing worked except I had to delete a key in windows update named"disablewindowsupdate" for it to work.

  • Thank you so much. A malware of some sort changed my registry and disabled my windows update.I have found and deleted it and everything's fine.

  • Thank you so much for this! you saved my day!
    This helped me while installing .NET Framework 3.5 in windows 8.1
    You are my hero!

  • THANK YOU!!!!!! this info was amazing for someone who's never opened registry editor before. Took many hours of troubleshooting to reach this page. live n learn :)

  • Thank you...
    It works and help me to get my option back.

  • I don't have GP editor so used the Reg Edit method. Followed all steps rebooted then opened updates page and clicked on check for updates but no change happened. Did it again several times rechecking I did it correctly then did it using the downloadable script with same result. For some reason no matter how many times I try this my updates remain on automatic. Any suggestions?

  • I have the same issue - I followed the tutorial above carefully (set DWord to 5) but automatic updates remain in place with no option to change it

  • I'm on 1607 Home BTW

  • Hi Vishal,
    Thanks for the info about windows update settings options by registry edit. unfortunately the settings are not enabled even after modifying the registry as above/ merging the ready made script in to registry.
    Windows 10 Pro (x64)
    done this for x64 systems as per your advise and restarted.. but..
    Pl help
    thank you

  • hey its not happening bro
    i m not getting anything unless "SOME OPTIONS ARE HIDDEN OR MANAGED BY YOUR ORGANIZATION".
    pls help it updates at any time and installs at staring up or shutting down and its annoying .

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