How to pause Windows 10 updates like May 2021 Update

Microsoft has started to slowly roll out Windows 10 May 2021 Update (version 21H1). The company will throttle availability over the coming weeks to ensure a reliable download experience, so the update may not be offered to you immediately. While this feature update is primarily about quality improvements and bug fixing, Microsoft does have a history of delivering buggy updates that cause problems to some users. If you want to stay safe, it’s a good idea to postpone this Windows 10 update for a while. Here is how to delay the May 2021 Update and other Windows 10 feature updates:

How long can you pause Windows 10 updates for?

Regardless of the Windows 10 edition you’re using, be it Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home, you can postpone updates. If you’re using Windows 10 October 2020 Update, you can only delay them for up to 35 days. If you’re using an older version of Windows 10 (from 2019 or earlier) and a more expensive edition, such as Windows 10 Pro, you can delay them for up to 365 days. If you don’t know what version and edition of Windows 10 is installed on your computer or device, check the Windows 10 version, OS build, and edition in “Settings -> System -> About.

Details about Windows 10

If you have a Windows 10 version from 2020, follow the next two sections of this article because they’re the ones that apply to you. If you’re using a version from 2019 or earlier and an edition like Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, or Windows 10 Enterprise, you get additional controls that allow you to defer updates for up to 365 days. Users of these editions should read the BONUS section at the end of this guide.

How to access Windows 10’s update settings

Open the Settings app: a quick way is to click or tap its shortcut from the Start Menu. If you prefer using the keyboard, simultaneously press the Windows + I keys on it. In the Settings app, go to Update & Security.

In the Settings app, go to Update & Security

By default, Windows Update should be selected on the left. If it is not, click or tap on it. Here you see how Windows 10 updates work. You can pause them for 7 days, change your active hours, so that Windows Update doesn’t bother you during that interval, view your update history, and access advanced configuration options. To pause Windows 10 updates, click or tap Advanced options on the right side of the window.

In Windows Update settings, go to Advanced options

This action opens the Advanced options for Windows Update, where you decide how, when, and which updates are delivered to your Windows 10 PC or device.

Advanced options for Windows Update

If you use a Windows 10 version older than May 2020 Update and an edition like Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, or Windows 10 Enterprise, you have more options.

Pause Windows 10 updates from being installed

Scroll down the list of Advanced options until you get to the Pause updates section. Here, Windows 10 lets you delay updates from being installed for up to 35 days. To do so, click or tap on the “Pause until" drop-down box.

The Pause updates section for Windows Update

Select the date until when Windows 10 updates are delayed. The maximum available is 35 days from today.

Choose the date until when Windows 10 updates are delayed

Your delay options end here. If you’re using an older Windows 10 version and editions such as Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, or Windows 10 Enterprise, keep reading this tutorial.

NOTE: If you click the Delivery Optimization link under Pause updates, you can set whether you want to allow Windows 10 to download updates from other PCs on your network or the internet.

Remember that you can’t delay Windows 10 updates forever

When you pause updates, Windows 10 respects the settings you make. However, when the delay period ends, you can no longer pause updates again until Windows 10 installs its latest available version on that date.

If you want to configure when Windows 10 is allowed to install updates and restart your PC, read about how to set the Windows 10 update schedule.

Setting active hours for Windows 10 updates

BONUS: Choose how long you want to defer Windows 10 feature and quality updates in older versions

In older versions of Windows 10 Pro, Education, or Enterprise up to November 2019 Update, you can defer feature updates for up to 365 days (one year). In “Settings > Update & Security > Advanced options,” scroll until you find a section called “Choose when updates are installed.” It should be right under the Pause updates section.

Choose when updates are installed in Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise

The first setting says that “A feature update includes new capabilities and improvements. It can be deferred for this many days.” Click or tap on it, and choose to delay feature updates for up to 365 days (one year).

Feature updates to Windows 10 can be postponed for up to 365 days

The second setting is about Windows 10 quality updates, also known as cumulative updates or cumulative quality updates. These are mostly fixes and patches for bugs and vulnerabilities. Such updates do not include new features, changes to the user interface, or significant improvements to the operating system. If you want to stop quality updates from being installed on your Windows 10 PC, click or tap on this setting and choose how many days to delay them for. The maximum amount of time you are allowed to defer quality updates is 30 days.

Quality updates can be postponed for up to 30 days

You can now close the Settings app and relax. Windows 10 will no longer install updates as soon as they become available, waiting instead until the time you selected.

Why do you want to delay Windows 10 updates?

Feature updates for Windows 10, like the May 2021 Update, bring new features, bug fixes, and improvements to the operating system. However, sometimes, they may also cause stability problems for some computers or devices. That’s why it's preferable not to install those updates immediately and wait for at least a month or so. Before closing this tutorial, tell us what made you decide to pause Windows 10 updates. Did you encounter any problems in the past? Comment below, and let’s discuss.

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