How to defer Windows 10 upgrades and updates

Windows 10 includes new settings to defer upgrades up to 12 months and up to 4 weeks for regular updates, and this guide will explain everything and how to delay updates as much as possible.

Defer upgrades and updates in Windows 10

Updates and upgrades have changed significantly in Windows 10. With the new operating system long gone are those days where you can fully control the way updates are installed in your computer. In Windows 10, Microsoft has taken a different approach by removing user controls and making Windows Update an automated process.

In the new operating system installing updates is a mandatory task that doesn’t require user interaction. However, depending on the edition you’re running in your computer, you still have some control over updates. For example, in Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Windows 10 Education, the software giant has introduced the concept of “Current Branch for Business” (CBB) that allows regular users and businesses to defer upgrades up to 4 months.

Windows 10 Home is a different story, as this edition doesn’t include an option to defer upgrades. In the Home edition of Windows 10, updates and upgrades will install automatically when they are released regardless you want them or not.

Of course, the problem with this approach is that if a Windows update or driver hasn’t been tested enough, it could cause issues with your device. But don’t worry, Microsoft has a workaround, you can check my previous guide on how to uninstall and block updates or driver on Windows 10.

However, the option to simply postpone upgrades for a few months wasn’t sufficient for businesses, as such in Windows 10 version 1511, Microsoft included new options to have more granular control over upgrades and updates through “Windows Update for Business” (WUB).

It’s worth noting that Windows Update for Business is not a new service or a product, it’s simply a new set of configurations to manage Windows Update that can be configured in one or groups of computers running a business grade edition of Windows 10, such as Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education to further delay updates and upgrades.

When configuring Windows Update for Business on one or more computers, you can defer upgrades up to 8 months and updates, such as security patches and enhancements, up to 4 weeks.

However, in order to configure Windows Update for Business, your computer needs to be in the Current Branch for Business, which you can configure manually by enabling the “Defer upgrades” option in the Advanced options for Windows Update.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when you enable “Defer upgrades” in the Settings app, Windows 10 will automatically defer upgrades up to 4 months, and if you configure Windows Update for Business, you can further delay upgrades up to an additional 8 months. As such, you can postpone Windows 10 upgrades up to 12 months (4 + 8).

If you like to take control of Windows Update, you can defer upgrades and updates using the new Windows Update for Business settings through Group Policy or Windows Registry. If you’re working in an organization, there is a third option that involves deploying the settings using Enterprise Mobility Management (Intune).

The steps below will guide through what you need to know to get your Windows 10 PC into the Current Branch for Business (CBB) and to configure Windows Update for Business (WUB) to defer upgrades up to one year or updates up to 4 weeks.

How to defer updates adding Windows 10 to the Current Branch for Business

The very first thing we need to do to make it all work is to add Windows 10 to the Current Branch of Business. You can do this by using the following steps:

  1. Use the Windows Key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.

  2. Open Update & security, navigate through Windows Update, and get into the Advanced options.

  3. Make sure to enable the Defer upgrades option.

    Current Branch for Business - Defer upgrades option for Windows 10

Keep in mind that we’re following these steps as a precaution, when enabling Windows Update for Business setting should automatically enable the Defer upgrades option (Current Branch for Business).

How to defer updates adding Windows 10 to the Windows Update for Business

Once you have configured Windows 10 for the Current Branch of Business, you need to configure Windows Update for Business to defer upgrades and updates by using Group Policy or Registry.

Defer upgrades and updates using Group Policy

  1. Use the Windows Key + R keyboard shortcut open the Run command, type gpedit.msc and hit Enter to open the Local Group Policy Editor.

  2. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update
  3. Inside Windows Update find and double-click the Defer Upgrades and Updates setting.

    Windows Update Group Policy in Windows 10

  4. In the settings box, make sure to select the Enabled option first. Under Options, choose for how long you want to defer upgrades. You can change the number of months from 0 to 8. Then choose for how long you want to defer Windows updates. You can change the number of weeks from 0 to 4.

  5. Finally, you will also notice that there is a “Pause Upgrades and Updates” option. If you’re on an organization and there are policies in place to delay upgrades and updates, the Pause option allows to pause this feature per-device basis. During the pause period, no updates or upgrades will be installed in the specified computer. However, if you don’t remove the pause after five weeks, updates will auto-resume.

    Defer Upgrades and Updates Group Policy in Windows 10

  6. After you have configured your choices, click Apply and OK to complete.

Defer upgrades and updates modifying the Registry

If you feel adventurous, you can accomplish the same results by using the Windows Registry.

Warning: It’s very important to note that modifying the Windows Registry can cause serious problems if not used properly. It’s assumed you know what you’re doing and you have created a full backup of your system before proceeding.
  1. Go to Start, type regedit, and hit Enter to open the Registry.

  2. Now browse the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate
  3. If you don’t see the WindowsUpdate key, right-click the Windows key, select New > Key, and name the key WindowsUpdate.

  4. Inside of WindowsUpdate, right-click on the right pane, select New > DWORD (32-bit), and name the key DeferUpgrade. Then double-click the key and change its value from 0 to 1.

    Create DWORD inside WindowsUpdate Registry key

  5. Repeat the previous step and create a key named DeferUpgradePeriod. Then double-click the new key and change its value. Here you can use 0-8, where each number represents a number of months you want to delay an upgrade.

  6. Repeat the previous step and create a key named DeferUpdatePeriod. Then double-click the new key and change its value. Here you can use 0-4, where each number represents a number of weeks you want to delay updates.

  7. If you’re working with an organization and you need to pause upgrades and update for a period of time. Repeat the previous step and create a key named PauseDeferrals. Then double-click the new key and change its value from 0 to 1.

    Regedit Defer Upgrades and Updates in Windows 10

Quick tip: Choose either the Group Policy or Registry method and stick with it, as things may not work as you would expect if you enable these settings in Group Policy and then you try to modify via the Registry.

In summary, at the beginning Windows 10 included only the Current Branch for Business mechanism to defer upgrades up to 4 months. Then in Windows 10 version 1511, Microsoft introduced a new set of settings that we know as Windows Update for Business, which allows Windows 10 to postpone upgrades for up to 8 months and updates up to 4 weeks.

In order for Windows Update for Business to work, Windows 10 must be added to the Current Branch for Business. As such, you can technically delay upgrades for up to 12 months, because you will be already delaying Windows 10 upgrades for 4 months when you enable “Defer upgrades” and you set “Windows Update for Business” for 8 months.

It could be obvious for many people, but remember that deferring upgrades will block you from getting new features and changes. As such, when the time comes and Microsoft releases a new major update, you need to disable the defer upgrade configurations before your computer can see the new changes.

In addition, if you disable Windows updates, you could potentially put your computer at risk, as the majority of the cumulative updates that Microsoft rolls out for Windows are to patch security vulnerability. However, it’s also understandable that you may want to defer upgrades and updates to avoid running into issues with a new version of the operating system or an update or driver that may cause problems with your device.

Update, April 7, 2017: If you’re trying to defer the Windows 10 Creators Update, and you’re running the Anniversary Update, the steps are a bit different — here’s how to do it.