System update

How to install updates on Windows 10

You can install updates manually on Windows 10 using Windows Update or Microsoft Update Catalog – here's how.

Windows 10 install updates

On Windows 10, the ability to check and install updates is an efficient method that ensures your device includes the latest security patches, error and bug fixes, and new features.

Although the Windows Update service regularly applies updates automatically, sometimes, you may still need to check and install them manually for many reasons. For example, if the Windows Update service is not working, and you need to apply the latest patches to resolve the issue. The device is missing some important improvements, and you don’t want to wait. You need to install a newer driver update for a device. Or you want to upgrade to a new version of the operating system, and more.

Whatever the reason it might be, Windows 10 allows you to install updates in several ways using the Windows Update service or the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

Microsoft offers three main types of updates, quality, optional, and features updates. Quality updates are available every month, and they include security and non-security fixes and improvements. Optional updates are not critical, but necessary, and they include drivers and product updates. Finally, feature updates are new versions of Windows 10 (such as version 20H2), they include new features, changes, and fixes. Windows 10 receives two feature updates per year, and they usually require reinstallation and multiple restarts.

In this guide, you’ll learn the different ways to download and install updates to patch security vulnerabilities, fix problems, and improve the overall experience of Windows 10.

Install quality updates on Windows 10

The easiest way to manually check for updates on Windows 10 is using the Windows Update settings page.

To update Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Windows Update.

  4. Click on Check for updates button.

    Windows 10 check and download updates
    Windows 10 check and download updates
  5. Click the Restart now button. (If you’re not ready to restart, continue with the steps below.)

  6. (Optional) Click the Schedule a restart option.

  7. Click the Change option.

    Change active hours
    Change active hours
  8. Select the time when you’ll be actively using the device to prevent reboots.

    Active hours settings
    Active hours settings
  9. Click the Save button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and install any available security and non-security updates for your computer. If no updates are available, it’s a normal behavior, it probably means that you already have the latest updates already installed.

Install quality updates manually on Windows 10

Windows Update isn’t the only way to update Windows 10. Microsoft also allows you to download and install updates manually using the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

To install Windows 10 updates manually, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Update.

  2. Type the knowledge base (KB) number of the update. For example, KB4579311.

    Microsoft update Catalog search
    Microsoft update Catalog search
    Quick tip: You can check the Windows 10 update history page to determine the number of the update you want to download.
  3. Click the Search button.

  4. Click the Download button for the quality update you want. For example, if you have the 64-bit version of Windows 10 Pro or Home, you would choose the “x64 based” option.

    Windows 10 download updates manually
    Windows 10 download updates manually
  5. Click the .msu link to save the update on your device.

    Windows 10 .msu update file
    Windows 10 .msu update file
  6. Double-click the .msu file to launch the installer.

  7. Click the Install button.

  8. Click the Restart button.

Once you complete the steps, the update will install on Windows 10 applying the most current patches as well as any previous fixes available before the update you selected.

Install optional updates on Windows 10

Optional updates are updates that are not critical to Windows 10, but they may be necessary for other functionalities. Usually, these updates are available for Microsoft and non-Microsoft products, feature updates, and third-party drivers (such as printers, cameras, network adapters, graphics card, and other USB or Bluetooth peripherals).

To download and install optional updates on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Windows Update.

  4. Click the View optional updates option.

    Windows 10 view optional updates
    Windows 10 view optional updates
    Quick note: If the option isn’t available, then Windows Update doesn’t have any additional drivers for your device.
  5. Click the category to see the optional updates. For example, Driver updates.

  6. Check the optional updates you want to install.

    Windows 10 install optional updates
    Windows 10 install optional updates
  7. Click the Download and install button.

After you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and install the packages on your device.

In the previous versions, you were also able to install optional driver updates using Device Manager, but the option has been removed, and now, all the updates are available through the Windows Update settings page.

Install feature updates on Windows 10

Feature updates are technically new versions of Windows 10 that include new features and significant changes. These updates are optional, and you must install them manually to upgrade to a new version.

The instructions below provide an overview of the installation process, but since these updates may cause problems during and after installation, before proceeding, you should create a full backup in case something goes wrong and you need to rollback.

To install a feature update (such as version 20H2 or 2004), use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Windows Update.

  4. Click on Check for updates button (if applicable).

  5. Under the “Optional updates available” section, click the Download and Install now button.

    Windows 10 feature update install
    Windows 10 feature update install
  6. Click the Restart now button.

In addition to Windows Update, you can also install feature updates using the Media Creation Tool using an in-place upgrade or clean installation. Also, you can use the Update Assistant, which is a tool that allows you to install a new feature update using an in-place upgrade.