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How to handle Windows 10 updates

Step 1: Understand that there are updates, and then there are updates.

Microsoft Windows update arrows / progress bars
IDG Communications

Confused about how updates work in Windows 10? Join the club. Over the years, Microsoft has transformed what was once a straightforward procedure into an ever-changing, often complicated process that varies according to whether you have Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro or an enterprise or education edition — and that varies according to the specific version number of the operating system. As a result, there have been lots of misperceptions about how Windows Update works in Windows 10, and how to best use it.

With this article, we hope to make things clearer for you. We’ve delved deep into Windows 10 Update and come up with answers to users’ most pressing questions: whether you have to accept all updates, whether you can uninstall existing updates, and how to reduce the bandwidth some updates use. We’ve also included some extras, like how to stop all updates if you want.

win10 update settings 1903 IDG

You can check for new updates in Settings. (Click image to enlarge it.)

We have updated this article for the current Windows 10 release, the May 2019 Update (also called version 1903). With that version of Windows 10, Microsoft has given all Windows 10 users the ability to put off major updates, something that Windows 10 Home users couldn’t do before. Users of the April 2018 Update (version 1803) and the October 2018 Update (version 1809) now have those capabilities as well, although they may work a little differently than in the May 2019 Update. And as we’ll explain, there are some “gotchas” and caveats along the way.

Read on for details.

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