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Pausing Windows Updates

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

If you have a Windows computer, you are probably aware that recent Microsoft Windows Updates have not worked smoothly. The scheduled May 2020 major upgrade also appears to have problems. I decided to pause updates on my computers, in hopes Microsoft will fix the issues before I am forced to install additional updates.

You can pause updates for up to 35 days. However, once the 35 days have passed, Microsoft will begin installing updates automatically and will not let you pause again until you have installed the currently available updates.

To pause updates, you must go into Settings>Updates & Security. There are a couple ways to get there: 1) Click the Windows Start button or click the Search box to the right of the Start button or tap the Windows key on your keyboard and begin typing “updates” without quotes. You should see “Check for updates” appear at the top of the Start menu. Click it. 2) Click the Start button, then click the Settings button (a gear icon) that appears, then click Update & Security.

On the Windows Update screen, click Advanced Options. On the next screen, scroll down and click the Pause updates box. Scroll the date list and make your choice for resuming updates. The last date in the list is 35 days into the future. Click the small arrow in the top left corner and you will go back to the Windows Update screen. You should see a Resume Updates button you can use in case you need to resume updates early. The date on which automatic updates will restart will also be displayed.

There is a downside to pausing updates. If an important security update is issued while updates are paused, that update will not get installed until the scheduled resume date. You must decide how to handle these situations – keep updates paused or let them resume prematurely to install the security update. Hopefully, Microsoft will soon have better update quality control and eliminate the problems we have seen over the past several months.


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