Windows 10 Updates

With Windows 10 we can no longer choose if we want Windows updates, let alone which ones we want

Windows10 - another logoThe option in the Windows control panel that used to allow us to choose how to receive Windows updates isn’t present in Windows 10. And that’s because we don’t really have a choice any more. Updates will be delivered to us more-or-less as and when Microsoft decide. What’s more, we can’t choose whether to accept updates for, say, Windows Defender but not for driver updates. We are just going to have to suck it up and accept whatever Microsoft give us (and don’t get me started on the rumours that Microsoft may soon start to include advertising in Windows – see this link on advertising in Windows, for instance).

Windows 10 - Setting a Metered Connection
Slide the switch to the right to turn off updating, but remember that this only applies to the wifi network to which you are currently connected
There is only one way to stop the updates and there is no flexibility in it: you either accept all the updates that Microsoft want to install on your computer or you accept none of them. If you accept none of them then you have to keep it that way. You can’t just turn the updates on so that you can get your hands on that one driver update that will allow you play that mega good addictive game again that suddenly broke a while back. If you turn the updates on for that one driver then ALL updates will be installed. True enough that you can turn the updates off again, but that only stops future updates. There’s no way to selective install or ignore updates that are currently available.

OK, so let’s assume for one moment that you are one of that allegedly large band of people who are so upset at this state of affairs that they will happily cut their noses off to spite their faces. How do you go about sticking your finger in the dyke that is Windows Updates? You have to configure Windows so that it thinks you are on a metered internet connection.

Before I list the steps involved in this, let’s be clear about the shortcomings:

  • You have to tell Windows every time that you connect to a new wifi network that this is a metered connection (but, thereafter, it is meant to remember for all time that that connection is metered).
  • It only applies to wifi connections. If you connect to your router via an ethernet cable then there’s no way of turning off the updates. I wonder how far up the Microsoft food chain someone decided “never mind those people who have data caps on their internet connection, our updates will come out of their data allowance whether they like it or not”?

There is one small (and it is small, really) exception to this if you have one of the enterprise or “professional” versions of Windows 10. In those versions, there is an option to delay the installation of updates. I’ve been unable to find out how long the delay is for, but I have read that it is “several months”. Clearly, the aim of this is to make us poor suckers with “home” versions of Windows 10 do all the road testing on updates before poor, under-resourced, enterprises have to contend with them.

OK, that said, this is how you go about telling Windows 10 that your wifi connection is metered:

  • Make sure that you are connected to your wifi network
  • Click on the Start Menu
  • Click on Settings
  • Click on Network & Internet
  • Click on Wi-FI
  • Scroll down below the list of available wifi networks and click on Advanced Options
  • Slide the switch below “Set as metered connection” to the right
  • Close the Settings window

Remember, though, that you need to repeat this for every new wireless network that you connect to.

Satya Nadella - CEO of Microsoft
Satya Nadella – CEO of Microsoft. Bully? Moi?

Am I the only one who gets an increasing sense that we are losing control of our own computers?

(Last updated 11/09/2023)