Hold the upgrade

How to prevent Windows 10 from installing version 21H1, May 2021 Update

Here are the settings to block Windows 10 21H1 (May 2021 Update) to delay installation until you're ready.

Windows 10 version 21H1 block settings

On Windows 10, every semi-annual release (such as version 21H1) is a new version designed with new features and changes to improve the overall experience and security. The only problem is that the new version may contain bugs, compatibility issues with drivers, and issues with new or existing features during the early days.

Although feature updates no longer download and install automatically until you decide to upgrade, as the previous release nears the end of support, Windows 10 eventually try to force the update to keep the device supported.

If you are not planning to upgrade any time soon, Windows 10 includes some options to prevent the device from upgrading to version 21H1 (May 2021 Update) or another release automatically using Group Policy or a metered connection.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to block Windows 10 from installing the 21H1 update on your device.

Important: Using the Settings or Group Policy options won’t interfere with monthly updates. Microsoft will be releasing version 21H1 during the second half of 2021, but it’s recommended to apply the settings to delay the upgrade before the next version becomes available.

Block Windows 10 21H1 using Group Policy

Whether you use Windows 10 Pro or Home, version 21H1 won’t install until you manually start the upgrade process. In other words, the easiest way to prevent Windows 10 from installing the first feature update of 2021 is to avoid clicking the “Download and Install now” option on the “Windows Update” settings page. However, you can also use the Group Policy Editor to block feature updates for up to 365 days since the day it was original released to prevent an unintended upgrade.

Windows Update for Business

Use Group Policy to defer the Windows 10 21H1, May 2021 Update, with these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 10.

  2. Search for gpedit.msc, and click the top result to open the Local Group Policy Editor.

  3. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business
  4. Double-click the “Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received” policy.

    Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received
    Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received
  5. Select the Enabled option.

  6. Under the “Options” section, use the drop-down menu, and select the Semi-Annual Channel option.

  7. Select the number of days (up to 365) to defer upgrades.

    Block Windows 10 version 21H1 install
    Block Windows 10 version 21H1 install
  8. Click the Apply button.

  9. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 won’t try to install version 21H1 until the number of days you specified in the policy.

Select target feature update

The Settings app no longer includes the option to defer new releases of Windows 10. However, you can configure the “Select the target Feature Update version” policy to set the target version to stay on a specific release until it reaches the end of service or to specify the next version to upgrade.

If the computer has Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can use the Group Policy Editor to set the target feature update on version 1803 and later.

Set the target feature update version with Group Policy with these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for gpedit and click the top result to open the Group Policy Editor.

  3. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business
    
  4. Double-click the Select target Feature Update version policy.

    Select the target Feature Update version
    Select the target Feature Update version
  5. Check the Enabled option.

  6. Under the “Options” section, specify the target version of Windows 10. For example, “2004” or “20H2” to stay on the May 2020 Update or October 2020 Update, depending on the release you have. 

    Windows 10 set target version to block 21H1
    Windows 10 set target version to block 21H1
  7. Click the Apply button.

  8. Click the OK button.

After you complete the steps, the device will continue in the same version until it reaches the end of service. If you specified another feature update, then once it becomes available, it will download and install automatically.

Block Windows 10 21H1 on Home edition

Windows 10 Home does not have the Group Policy Editor, but you can always use a metered connection for Wi-Fi or Ethernet to prevent or delay the upgrade to the May 2021 Update.

Set Wi-Fi as metered to delay May 2021 Update

Configure a Wi-Fi connection as metered to block Windows 10 updates with these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Network & Internet.

  3. Click on Wi-Fi.

  4. Select the Wi-Fi connection to access its settings.

    Windows 10 Wi-Fi settings
    Windows 10 Wi-Fi settings
  5. Turn on the “Set as metered connection” toggle switch to block and delay the Windows 10 version 21H1 upgrade.

    Set Wi-Fi connection as metered on Windows 10
    Set Wi-Fi as metered on Windows 10

Set Ethernet as metered to delay May 2021 Update

Configure a Ethernet (wired) connection as metered to block version 21H1 with these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Network & Internet.

  3. Click on Ethernet.

  4. Select the wired Ethernet connection.

    Windows 10 Ethernet settings
    Windows 10 Ethernet settings
  5. Turn on the “Set as metered connection” toggle switch to enable and restrict background data usage.

    Set Ethernet as metered on Windows 10
    Set Ethernet as metered on Windows 10

A metered connection will block all the available types of updates for the operating system, which means that your device won’t receive Windows 10 updates until you disable the metered connection.

While this guide shows you multiple ways to delay installing a new release of Windows 10, you should only use these recommendations if you know something is wrong with the update or have a good reason not to upgrade. Although updates can cause more problems, they are essential to protect the device and files from malware and hackers.