Windows Update is Microsoft’s service for sending security patches, bug fixes, and new features to Windows users over the internet. While the updates are often meant to fix problems, sometimes they introduce new ones — especially if they conflict with third-party software running on your PC.

Up until now, you’ve had the option to disable automatic updates. This lets you choose if and when to apply updates. But starting with Windows 10, it looks like Microsoft won’t make it easy to disable updates… at least for some versions of Windows 10.


The latest pre-released build of Windows 10 (like pretty much every earlier build) lack the option to disable automatic updates. Now the folks at The Register have noticed language in the Windows 10 EULA that explicitly states “by accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice.”

In other words, when you agree to the terms of use for Windows 10 Home or Pro, you agree that Microsoft can automatically (and silently) send updates to your computer.

This is generally a good thing, since it will help keep your computer secure even if you’re too lazy to occasionally check for updates manually. But there is always a chance that Microsoft will push an update that could cause issues… which is why this will most likely only apply to Windows 10 Home and Pro and not Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions.

Microsoft has already stated that Enterprise and Education users will be able to postpone and schedule updates, thanks to Windows Update for Business or by using the Long Term Servicing option which lets them postpone updates for up to a few years.

Windows 10 Pro users will have the option to switch to the Business schedule, which allows them to delay some updates for a little while, but not for as long as folks with an Enterprise license.

via Ars Technica

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38 replies on “Windows 10 automatic updates can’t be disabled”

  1. Well there is a reason not to get windows 10. Looks like Microsoft are aiming for even bigger losses.

  2. Chant with me…LINUX! LINUX! LINUX!

    Been using it for 15 years, and more glad every year.

    1. Well, Linux quickly becoming the only option if you don’t want to have stupid things pushed on you all the time.

  3. Sygate Personal Firewall 5.6 on XP without any of the service packs was the last thing able to keep Microsoft out of your Windows, they made sure that mistake wont happen again.
    In this “Big Data” economy it’s impossible to stay relevant without being a hunter gatherer company.
    Playing nice with the intelligence community is what won Google the war, Microsoft now has to redesign itself to fit the new order of things, which means keeping a direct pipe in to you and making sure you can’t shut the valve off so your emanated data vapor reaches their cloud and most importantly… only their cloud!

    1. I would hope there is an option to disable One Drive (Microsoft’s cloud data option). I know there is on Win 8.1, I have it disabled on my laptop running that OS.

      If you are concerned about receiving updates that are faulty and minimally tested buy the Professional version of Win 10 (a $99 upgrade if you currently run the Home version). Non-security updates are supposed to be (optionally I think) postponed for about four months with the Pro version. It is not a great thing Microsoft is doing here (at least for non-security updates) but there is a way to prevent an update from bricking your computer and that is likely why they are doing it. With forcing updates on users of the Home version they get guniea pigs to test them and also sell 250 million more Pro upgrades in the process (at $99 each that is $2.5 billion in added revenue this year plus hundreds of millions more in added revenue each year thereafter as people either purchase with Win Pro on it or automatically upgrade to Pro as part of their use preparation process). I run Win 7 Pro on my desktop and ran XP pro on my last one (admittedly with a Buntu Linux in a dual-boot system), it isn’t different enough in basic use to cause problems for a home user. Win 8.1 is a problem for most (I have it on my laptop, setting it up took the better part of two days, a chat session with a Microsoft tech and many Google searches because it is so different — I made sure my recently purchased desktop came with Win 7 Pro) but that is true whether it be the Home or Pro version, that is part of what Win 10 is supposed to rectify (the other part is increasing their revenue stream by essentially forcing many to buy Win Pro either as an upgrade or with their computer).

  4. This is a bad decision. Theres been a few times I’ve woke up to with an old or incorrect graphics driver installed or the computer rebooted loosing valuable work thanks to automatic updates. Now its the first thing I turn off on my systems. I review all updates weekly before I install them. Systems I do for other people always have automatic updates on unless they ask otherwise. Microsoft should have made automatic updates on by default with an option to disable with appropriate warnings. I’m sure there will be third party software to disable auto updates but you run the risk of security or compatibility problems. You’d think Microsoft would have learned from Windows 8. People are going to find ways to use their computer the way they want to (Classic Shell / Classic Start). Theyre just annoying experienced users by pushing stuff down our throats.

  5. In theory, this is a fine thing. In practice, er… As of 8.1, Windows Update STILL reboots regardless of whether a process is running. Before disabling automatic updates, there were many, many times when an overnight video render I’d left running had been terminated by that freaking menace. That’s a whole lot of lost time and work. Is it that hard to insert a bit of code that checks to see if rebooting is SAFE?

  6. If they force automatic updates on people, they better be well damn sure that:

    (1) The updates are thoroughly 100% tested and will not cause issues. I forgot how many times Windows updates included drivers that broke my video drivers, and I had to boot in safe mode, and reinstall the drivers from the manufacturer website.

    (2) The updates must be small in size. My last set of Windows 8 updates was over 1.2GB.

    (3) It won’t force a restart if the PC is doing something.

    1. Or what? What do they care about your rules?

      That is what a monopoly is…

  7. I am willing to bet there is a way to stop it. The goal is to make it just hard enough that people who are not technical will leave it on so improperly managed machines will get security updates.
    I know that every post title is click-bait these days, but we need to wait and see what how RTM version works. I run a WSUS server for almost 10,000 desktops (mostly Win7 now), and in the last 6 years, we have blocked 4 updates. When it comes to Windows Update, MS is batting 999 from my experience.

  8. Windows is not like the Apple OS’s that runs in a handful of tightly controlled hardware. It is not a phone that can be swopped out. It is critical for many businesses, who will be using the Pro version ( enterprise is not used by most businesses). The hardware, software, usage scenarios and regional variations – windows has to support them all.

    The FTDI driver update fiasco showed why this is a bad idea.

  9. You should be able to set your ethernet/wifi connection as ‘metered’ and disable downloading of updates on ‘Metered Connections’ in the settings to disable it. Not easy, but doable.

  10. There’s actually another problem with this other than updates which present new bugs/conflicts:
    Right now there are many machines which are “basic”, like the HP stream laptops and so many cheap tablets that have limited hard drive space (i.e. 32GB). These updates can eat up hard drive space like crazy, so what happens when the drive is full?

    This is actuality why I have updates turned off on my computer (HP Stream 14).

    At least with Android updates don’t dramatically increase the size of the OS (even if it requires a more active role from the user in its installation).

    1. Run Disk Cleanup elevated and check all the boxes… it even gets rid of the Windows.old folders created by Win8 or Win10 upgrades.

      1. That’s ridiculous, that’s like having contract workers come to upgrade your house and you have to clean up all the crap they leave behind.

        1. It you actually run low on space, the wizard will pop up and ask you if you want it to clean up.
          If they did it proactively, there would be torches and pitchforks in threads just like this complaining because Microsoft is deleting stuff off their computers without asking. They can’t win.

          1. “They can’t win.”? Sure they can. Don’t force updates for the hundreds of reasons given over the Net.

            They are the ones causing problems.

          2. No, that would be same as now, where tens of thousands of Windows machines are missing security updates and folks are blaming Microsoft.
            There will be plenty of ways to prevent updates, they will just be technically complicated enough so that novice users will leave it alone and actually keeps their machines up to day.
            It has been working great on Google’s Chromebook.. this is no different.
            For those who don’t like it, buy the Pro SKU. This only applies to the Home version as that version tends to have the least technical savvy users.

  11. Absolutely 100% the right decision. Although I completely expect the type of people who visit this blog to not understand because of how stuck in the past most of them are. It’s like the IGN audience still preferring disc-based games.

    Progress is always about conformity, your either conform now or your conform later, but eventually you will always conform.

    1. Maybe it’s hard to understand that some people still do value individual freedom and control over their lives, including the software that they use on their computers. I totally disagree that progress is always about conformity. History is completely filled with examples of the opposite. Especially in cases of deeply entrenched entities that wish to impose their will on others. For me, I’d rather be stuck in the past than doomed to repeat it.

      1. The history of Windows is filled with millions of users that do not keep their machines patched. Sounds like you want enough control that you would be happier in Linux.

        1. As a matter of fact, I do have linux on some of my machines, which is great. The problem though, is that windows is so ubiquitous that there’s almost no way to avoid it completely. Despite the best efforts of a lot of folks, there’s just some software that doesn’t run well/at all on linux. I’m also not so naive that I think the strategic decisions of a multi-billion dollar company like microsoft are for my best interest.

          1. 🙂 I will certainly agree on that.. their decisions are all intended to make their shareholders money.

          2. I’m in the same boat. I will not be able to avoid Windows completely because there is some software (games mostly) that only runs (well) on Windows. But decisions that this (we’re not going to allow you to make choices on how to use your computer) push me further towards Linux. I’m no fanboy. I’ve been using Linux for 7 years and I’ve had some rocky patches (driver issues mostly), but overall I have been happy using it. (Reinstalling Windows because of a virus isn’t fun either.) I highly recommend Linux (UbuntuMint) to people with simple needs. Windows 8 really accelerated my Linux usage, looks like Windows 10 won’t slow it down.

          3. Bryce, I agree. With a reasonably equipped machine (excluding older Celerons and Pentiums as well as all Atoms, low-power AMDs as well as all AMD E1s and certain Nvidia video cards) Linux will run well assuming the UEFI will allow an install and boot (HP computers equipped from the factory with Win 8 or 8.1 are designed to foil Linux use at the UEFI level, there is a work-around but it isn’t easy to do). However, there are two websites I use where the videos will only run properly using a current version of Windows Explorer which is not available for Linux. Therefore, I need to run Windows for those sites.

          4. run puppy on these machines mentioned and you’re happy.
            ever tried explorer under wine?

          5. I have run Linux on all of those low-powered machines you mention, and have since AMD had a K6-2 out. You can prune Linux down until it’s lightning-fast. You just need to select different options during installation. Takes about 2 minutes of googling.

          6. Have you tried enabling “Legacy Boot” in the BIOS of HP machines? I obviously can’t speak for every HP machine (since they tend to make a bunch of different models), but it’s worked well for the ones I’ve tried.

    2. You misunderstand what “progress” is. There are many possible paths, and the people on each call theirs “progress”.

  12. I agree with Kary. This is a bad idea for Microsoft, and another reason I’m not biting on the “free” upgrade to Windows 10. I think a lot of folks are going to rue the day that they agreed to that, and honestly, I think Microsoft is being way too coy to be trusted right now.

  13. Horrible idea. Back in about 2006 Microsoft accidentally tagged a video driver as being an important upgrade on a Dell machine I had. It caused the machine to not reboot, so had to run recovery and disable that update. It sounds like with this policy that machine would have just been toast because it would have repeatedly upgraded and then not rebooted.

      1. Huh? So you think it’s impossible that an upgrade would cause issues? That’s the point of this article.

        But if you want a more current example, the Windows 10 upgrade reminder is a reasonably current Windows Update. To get rid of the reminder you need to uninstall that update. With this policy you probably couldn’t. On my wife’s machine that reminder caused her to miss a notice about our backup program–it pushed it into the hidden area.

        1. I have visions of iOS where Apple pushes all kinds of crap that many/most users don’t want or need. All updated iphones have the app for the Apple watch regardless if they ever plan on buying the watch. Microsoft has already done this with Skype. Think about all the crapware installed on carrier locked smartphones. You think Microsoft will be able to resist the temptation to force their game/video/music services on their customers? No thanks.

          1. The problem is that even Apple doesn’t force their updates on people. I have an iPhone 4s that my daughter now uses as an iPod that is still on iOs 6 because I knew that updating the os beyond that would make the phone less usable. On the older os, the phone still runs great: no lag, great battery life. I still think that this is just a prelude to Microsoft making Windows a SAAS model and charging annual/monthly usage fees. Hopefully I’m wrong.

      2. How so, Troll? I work in the industry and this is extremely common.

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