Windows updates are very important for your PC or laptop, but they can arrive at inopportune moments. If you're in the middle of a work day, for example, it's unlikely you'll want to take an hour out to install a security patch.
Previously, there was no way you could prevent this, besides periodically postponing the restarting of your device. to stop your device from restarting. However, Microsoft has been gradually giving users more control over when and how they want updates to be installed.
First came active hours, which allowed you to specify set times of day when you'd be using your PC and so it couldn't be updated. For even more control, you can also now download a troubleshooter that will prevent any broken updates from causing problems on your device. Here's how to make the most of them on Windows 10.
How to set active hours in Windows 10
Active hours is another way of saying the time when you're using the device and don't want updates to be installed. For example, if you're working a regular 9-5, you can make sure you're not bombarded with notifications about the latest update.
Here's how to set it up:
- Head to Settings > Update & Security
- Click the 'Windows Update' tab in the left pane if it's not selected already
- Under 'Check for updates' you should see four options. Click 'Change active hours', which is second in the list
- From here, you can choose a specific start end time (up to a maximum of 18 hours) or set Windows to automatically adjust active hours depending on your usage. The latter will get better over time, but you still may be disturbed from time to time
How to hide and stop Windows 10 updates
Of course, simply setting active hours isn't sufficient to prevent Windows updates getting installed. One of the issues with the forced and automatic updates in Windows 10 is that, occasionally, a broken update will be included and fail to install. When this happens, Windows will try to download and install it each time you shut down or start your PC.
The good news is that you can download an optional tool for Windows 10 called the Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter. Under 'Choose your automatic updates', click the link to download it.
You install this like any other program after downloading it, by clicking on the downloaded file in your browser, or heading to your downloads folder and double-clicking it. The troubleshooter should start and show a welcome screen. Click Next to perform a scan and find out if there are any updates which you can temporarily prevent from being installed.
If it finds any, simply click 'Hide updates' and you'll see a list of the updates which you can stop. Tick the box next to each one you want to stop. It's best to search online to see which is the troublesome update, instead of blocking them all. The updates bring not only bug fixes and new features but important security patches to help keep your device secure.
Click 'Next', and after a few seconds you should see a screen like the one below showing that it has successfully suppressed the update(s).
It's a good idea to keep tabs on when Microsoft has fixed the broken update so that you can use the same tool to unhide the update so it can install. The process is the same, as you'd expect. Just use the Show hidden updates option, and click the box beside those you want to un-hide.
While on the subject, here's how to use automatic updates most effectively.