With the number of hacking attempts on the rise, it is prudent to have your computer fully patched up and upgraded to the latest version. With Windows 10, Microsoft chose to go the extreme route by force-updating everybody which results in unexpected restarts and therefore work losses. Which leaves many people howling and wondering if it is possible to disable automatic Windows updates in Windows 10.

The answer is yes – to a point.

Disable Automatic Windows Updates & Do It On Your Own Schedule

Windows 10 is designed to push security and system updates out as soon as they are available. So permanently switching automatic updates off completely is not possible.

However, you can check for updates when you have a convenient moment, as well as temporarily halt all updates for a maximum of 35 days.

You can also tell Windows 10 not to restart your computer during what is called “Active Hours“. So this would take care of the possibility of losing unsaved work if your computer suddenly decides to restart.

Check For Updates Manually

Open up your Windows menu and start typing “check for….” and “Check for updates” will appear. Choose that.

Now click “Check for updates”.

And it will start looking.

If there is anything to download, you can then begin the download and restart the computer manually when it is finished.

By doing things yourself at a time of your own choosing, you are reducing the chances of an unexpected update and restart.

Make a Desktop Shortcut To Make Checking Easier

It’s obviously not that difficult to bring up the Windows menu and start typing “check for…“. But if you are more of a mouse or trackpad kind of person, maybe you would prefer a desktop shortcut instead?

Right-click on the desktop and choose New–>Shortcut.

A new shortcut icon will appear, along with the box to enter the details. In the location box, type the following :

ms-settings:windowsupdate

The next box will ask you to give the shortcut a name. Give it one and then click “Finish”.

You now have a desktop shortcut which, when clicked, leads to the Windows Update screen in the Control Panel.

Change “Active Hours” For Automatic Restarts

If you choose to let your system automatically download and install updates, then you can mitigate any inconvenience by telling it when NOT to restart the computer.

Active Hours refers to the times when you are most active on the computer. By specifying these times, the computer will not reboot during this time.

However, if the computer is off outside active hours, then it won’t restart either (obviously). One solution is to keep the computer on for 10-15 minutes after the end active hours time.

Go back to the Windows Update screen, as shown above, and scroll down to “Change active hours”.

On the next screen, enter the start time and end time, and click “Save”.

Choose a Specific Time For Restarting

You can go one better and choose a specific time for restarting the computer after an update. So if you are out for lunch at midday (for example), you can set the restart time for 12.05pm. You can also specify a certain day.

Temporarily Halt All Updates For Up To 35 Days

The only scenario where you can halt ALL automatic updates is to go into the Advanced Options in Windows Update and scroll down to “Pause Updates”.

As the screenshot below says, you can only pause it for up to 35 days, and you cannot pause it again until all of the postponed updates have been installed.

Conclusion

Microsoft is caught in a no-win situation here because they are trying to protect their users with up-to-date security patches. But at the same time, they are being criticised for unannounced restarts which infuriates people who forget to hit the save button or who have no time to wait for the updates to be installed.

The lesser of two evils is to embrace the security Windows 10 offers. But these shortcuts will help to lessen the pain somewhat.