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  • 2000016: Guide for Windows Update Settings for Windows 10

    Home Forums Knowledge Base 2000016: Guide for Windows Update Settings for Windows 10

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    This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  PKCano 6 hours, 35 minutes ago.

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      PKCano
      Da Boss

      2000016: Guide for Windows Update Settings for Windows 10

      By @pkcano

      Published February 17, 2020 Rev. 1.05

      The following is not aimed at Business/Enterprise Users who are supported by IT Departments. It is for the Consumers and Small Businesses that are patching their own computers without technical support.

      Before you make any major changes to your computer, it is advisable to make a full disk image, a separate backup of your User data, and have a bootable Rescue disk available. . Without these things, you do not have a way to recover if the install/update/upgrade renders you computer unbootable or unusable.

      Section 1 – Windows Update terminology:

      + Feature Update – the large twice-yearly upgrades that result in different versions of Windows 10.
      + Quality Update – the monthly Security Cumulative Update and other updates released by Microsoft on the second Tuesday of the month (Patch Tuesday).
      + Optional Install Updates – the non-Security Cumulative Updates released on C, D, E, and possibly A weeks (and at MS’s whim) between Patch Tuesdays. They are meant for testing (by IT Departments, for example) of the non-security fixes that will be added to the following month’s Patch Tuesday Security updates.
      + Servicing Stack – the Update for the Windows Update mechanism itself.
      + Other Updates – the above updates are for the Operating System. “Other Updates” may include updates for .NET, Flash, Office, MSRT, Defender, etc.

      + Pause updates – the Pause period begins when you click “Pause” and lasts for as many days as you set, up to a maximum of 35 days. If you Pause updates immediately before they are released by MS, the updates will not be available in Windows Update for that period. If you Pause updates at any other time, for “X” number of days, they will download and install “X” days after you set the Pause time, or when you manually end the Pause period (unless you are using Metered connections).
      Also, under “Advanced Settings” there is a pulldown for Pause Updates – this allows you to set an ending calendar date for the “Pause.” Remember, when the “Pause” date arrives, you will get the updates. This can be a convenience if you want the update, say, on the weekend.
      You cannot use Pause again until the pending updates have been installed. You will have to manually reset the Pause period after every use. Be especially aware of the when the Pause period ends, counting from when you first clicked “Pause” – mark that day on your Calendar!

      + Defer Updates – the Deferral Period begins when the update(s) is released and lasts for the number of days set up to a maximum of 30 days. It is automatically reset without intervention at the release of new updates.

      + wushowhide.diagcab – an MS tool that allows you to check what updates are pending and hide Windows updates you don’t want to install (driver updates, for example). Run wushowhide by double clicking on it, then click on “Advanced” then uncheck the box to “apply changes automatically.” You can hide or unhide updates.
      Wushowhide uses the Windows Update Service to search for updates and will not run if the Service is Disabled. When you hide updates, you may have to clear the Windows Update queue in order to prevent hidden upates still appearing in the Windows Update queue from installing. Instructions for clearing the Windows Update queue are found in AKB2000013. After clearing the Update queue, you may have to wait until Windows Update checks for updates again (DO NOT click on “Check for updates”).
      Hidden updates (like hidden updates in Win7/8.1) will not show up in the pending updates. You must “unhide” the updates to be able to install them.

      + “Check for Updates” does not mean “Check for updates.” It initiates a download/install of the pending updates. Don’t click “Check for updates” unless you want everything that’s out there.

      + If updates are Paused, Deferred, or hidden, they will not show up in Windows Update.

      + Metered connections – the setting tells MS you have a data cap on your Internet connections and pay extra for an overage (even if you really don’t). The settings for metered connections are in the Settings app under Network.

      ******************

      Section 2 – For Win10 Home Users: You have several means of controlling updates.

      + Pause – You can pause updates up to 35 days in 7-day increments. Remember when you do, they will not show up in Windows Update or  wushowhide, so you will not be able to see what is pending. At the end of the Pause period the updates will download and install (unless you have set metered connections). You can increase the “Pause” period at any time by clicking “Pause” again, up to the maximum of 35 days. You can end the “Pause” whenever you want to do so.
      The “Pause” period begins when you click “Pause.” If you click “Pause” three times (for example), it will pause updates for 21 days. This should delay updating long enough to see if there any real problems with the patches. Mark the end-of-pause date on your calendar because that’s when your computer will update.
      Also, under “Advanced Settings” there is a pulldown for Pause Updates – this allows you to set an ending calendar date for the “Pause.” Remember, when the “Pause” date arrives, you will get the updates. This can be a convenience if you want the update, say, on the weekend.

      + Metered Connections – setting your Internet connections to “Metered” will prevent the large CUs from downloading. You must turn “Metered” off when you want to update.

      + wushowhide – this can be used to hide updates. If you hide the updates, be sure to clear the Windows Update queue of the hidden updates, only if they still appear in the queue, before installing. See AKB2000013.

      + The “Download and install now” section – will let you decide when to download and install Optional Updates and Feature Updates (except when MS deems the version you are running is near EOL). See illustration here.
      Note: If updates are Paused, Deferred, or hidden, they will not show up in Windows Update. The “Download and install now” section will not be available.

      *********************

      Section 3 – For Win10 Pro Users: You have the above controls available to Home Users, plus additional ones in the GUI and in Group Policy.

      GUI Settings – In Windows Update, under “Advanced Settings” there are three pulldowns.
      + Pause Updates – this allows you to set an ending calendar date for the “Pause.” Remember, when the “Pause” date arrives, you will get the updates. This can be a convenience if you want the update, say, on the weekend.
      + Feature update deferral – This setting allows you to defer Feature Updates (twice-yearly version upgrades) for up to 365 days. The deferral starts from the day a Feature Update is released for general use.
      It can apply to several Feature updates at a time. Say, for example, version A was released  220 days ago and version B was released 30 days ago. Setting the deferral to 200 days will allow version A to be available to Windows Update, but not version B. Setting the deferral to 20 days will make version B available. You can choose which version you want to install by setting the appropriate number of deferral days. See Chasing the elusive upgrade for Win10 Pro v 1803 as an example.
      A deferral setting of 120 or 180 days will usually take you past the “Beta testing/Guinea Pig” stage of a new version. By then, the version will probably be mostly stable. But you have to be careful with this setting because, if you set Feature deferral at 365 days, for example, you may find that the version you are running is EOL before the deferral period is up.
      If you use this setting, Feature Updates and Optional Install updates will not show up in Windows Update for the deferral period.
      + Quality update deferral – This setting allows you to defer Quality updates for up to 30 days. The deferral period begins when the updates are released by Microsoft. Quality updates refer to the Security updates released on Patch Tuesday. Setting Quality updates at 21 days deferral, for example, will give time for problems to be reported with specific patches and will probably get you through the patch Beta testing stage.

      Group Policy Setting – using gpedit.msc
      In general, the use of Group Policy settings for Windosw Update and Windows Update for Business are not recommended for the average user. If you use these settings, the settings in the GUI may become grayed out and unavailable. There is only one setting that is recommended:
      Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update
      Configure Automatic Updates = Enabled, value = 2 (notify download/install)
      With this setting, updates show up in the Windows Update queue the day they are released. But the setting prevents the updates from downloading/installing until you click on the “Download” button. If the updates are not on your computer, they can’t be installed.

      *********************

      These are the settings I use.

      I recommend these GUI settings and this (only ONE associated with Windows Update) Group Policy setting. Semi-Annual channel setting is no longer available.

      Feature Update deferral = 365 days. To upgrade to a new version, with the settings I use, the only thing required is to lower the deferral deferral number and wait for the system to check for updates on its own. See Chasing the elusive upgrade for Win10 Pro v 1803. I always move to the next version when I want to, but if you use this, you have to keep in mind that you need to upgrade to a newer version before the current version is EOL. At 365 days your version could become EOL.

      Quality Update deferral = 0 days. This has to be coupled with the Group Policy setting below to be effective. If you set Quality Update deferral to zero, the updates are immediately available and pending. They will show up in the Windows Update queue on Patch Tuesday, so you KNOW immediately what is being offered to the computer. But they DO NOT download until you click the “Download” button.
      If there are updates you do not want to install, you can use wushowhide to hide them. If they still appear in the update queue after hiding, you should clear the update queue before updating. Instructions in AKB2000013.

      Group Policy setting under Windows Update – Configure automatic updates = Enabled, value 2 (notify download/install).
      What this does is hold the updates in the queue until you click the “Download” button. Since the Quality updates are not deferred, they will show up in the queue immediately after release but will not download. If there are updates you do not want to install (MS drivers, microcode), you will SEE them. You can then use wushowhide to hide them. If they still appear in the queue after hiding, clear them from the update queue using the method in AKB2000013.
      This is the ONLY Group Policy setting related to Windows Update I recommend. All others should be set to the default. Other settings under Windows Update and Windows Update for Business can cause the GUI settings to become grayed out and unusable.

      Pause – I do not use the Pause settings in Win10 Pro because the other controls are more trouble-free (are less of a hassle).
      If you use the above setting, and you then Pause updates too, the updates will disappear from the Windows Update queue as expected. If you then Resume updates, or the pause period ends, the updates will download/install. They do not respect the “2” (notify download/install) setting.

      With these settings you do not have to keep fiddling with Windows Update. Deferrals are automatically reset. You can see what updates are pending, but they don’t download without your intervention. You can choose which upgrade you want and when to install it by simply lowering the deferral days appropriately.

       

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