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How to whip annoying Windows Updates into submission

Published Jan 26th, 2017 5:14PM EST
pause windows 10 update

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Microsoft really really wants you to have the most up-to-date version of Windows available. There are some great reasons for this, including timely security updates and patches that prevent bad actors from exploiting known holes, but it always seems like that little “Restart to Apply Updates” reminder pops up at the absolute least opportune time. Thankfully, there’s a few things you can do to get Windows 10 to play nice with its updates and minimize its impact on your daily routine. 

Set A Schedule

One of the easiest things to do to ease the friction between you and a constantly updating Windows computer is to tell it when you use your computer and when you don’t. You can do this by setting your active hours. Type “Settings” into the Start menu and then click Windows Update. Select Change Active Hours under Update Settings.

Here you can select up to a 12-hour window within which Windows 10 will not try to restart your computer to apply an update. It’s basically like telling your computer that it should chill out while you’re working and save the restarts for when you’re gone.

Your computer will still prompt you to notify you that an update is about to be installed when it needs to do its duties during your non-active hours, but if you’re not at your computer anyway it obviously won’t bother you, which is the whole point.

Customize Your Restarts

If you have your Active Hours set but want (or need) your PC to apply an update anyway — this might be the case if the update includes a crucial fix or new feature — you can select a custom restart time yourself.

From the Update Settings menu, click Restart Options and select your desired restart time. This is a great option if you want your computer to restart while you’re away at lunch or away from your keyboard for some other reason.

Update Manually

If you really want full control over when your computer restarts and when updates are applied you really have no other choice but to update manually. You can do this by typing “Check for Updates” into the Start menu. When you do this, Windows 10 will do a search and verify if your computer is up to date or offer you the chance to update if new software is available.

This is the best option if you like to just start your day off with an update check, so you can get it out of the way and don’t need to worry about being interrupted when you’re in the middle of something important.