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Controlling Automatic Updates in Windows 10

If you have already updated to Windows 10, then you are probably aware how Microsoft pushes updates. If you haven’t jumped on board the Windows 10 bandwagon, Microsoft’s new pushy update policy may be the reason. It’s like a waiter in a restaurant that decides what food to serve you, and when to bring it out. Essentially, the only choice you have is to schedule when the food is delivered.

Note: If you want to access the (for the most part useless) Advanced Options shown in Figure 1, click the Windows menu button to the left of your search box (bottom left corner of your Windows desktop), click Settings > Update & Security > Windows update > Advanced options.

Figure 1: Windows 10 “Advanced” update options leave much to be desired.

As SOLIDWORKS users, we can be a bit sensitive to Windows updates. There are documented Windows updates that are known not to behave well with SOLIDWORKS. Some of us may know stories of how a SOLIDWORKS user left for the weekend, only to return on Monday to find SOLIDWORKS is not working properly or doesn’t run at all. Perhaps this has even happened to you! Wouldn’t it be nice to have more control over Windows 10 updates like we did in Windows 7? The good news is you can, and I’m going to show you how.

Run Command Shortcuts

There are a few easy ways to access the Run command, which you’ll need to do first. Use either of the following shortcuts.

  • Right click on the Windows menu button and select Run
  • On your keyboard, press the Windows key + R

There are probably other ways to get to the Run command, but either of those two methods will suffice.

Group Policy Editor

Next, you will need to access the Group Policy Editor. To do this, type “gpedit.msc” in the Run window and click OK (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Type “gpedit.msc” and click OK.

Next, you’ll have to drill down to the appropriate area. Use Figure 3 as a guide. Under Computer Configuration, expand the Administrative Templates folder, then expand the Windows Components folder.

Figure 3: Expanding the folders.

Under Windows Components, you’ll need to scroll all the way down to the bottom. Look for the folder titled Windows Update (circled in red in Figure 4). Once Windows Update is selected, look for the setting titled Configure Automatic Updates (circled in green). Select Configure Automatic Updates, then click policy setting, circled in blue.

Figure 4: Find the Configure Automatic Updates setting.

If you’ve followed along this far, then you’re doing well and are almost done. You should be looking at the Configure Automatic Updates window. It will be set to Not Configured (see Figure 5), but you can change it to Enabled. Once you’ve done that, you can use the drop down menu (also shown in Figure 5) to select how you want to be notified. Setting number 2 will notify you prior to downloading, as well as prior to installing any updates. Setting number 3 (which is the default setting once Configure Automatic Updates is enabled) will download updates automatically, but will notify you prior to installing them. Next time Microsoft tries to push an update on you, you’ll be ready! Take back control of Windows updates, and decide which updates are installed.

Figure 5: Configuring Automatic Updates.

For a video walk through of how to change this setting, please see video below:

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