How to Defer Updates in Windows 10

By | May 3, 2017

It seems like Microsoft is slowly giving us back control over Windows updates. With the Defer Updates options you can defer feature and quality updates for a certain amount of days, but allow security updates through. Note that only feature updates can be deferred in earlier Windows 10 builds. Furthermore, earlier builds only allowed you to defer updates for an unknown period.

Only Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise and Education Editions let you Defer Updates. Unfortunately, if you have Windows 10 Standard Edition you cannot defer updates.

Defer Updates in Windows 10

Currently, in Windows 10 Creators Edition you have the following options to defer updates:

  • Update deferrals can be applied to Current Branch (CB) or Current Branch for Business (CBB) – Choose the branch readiness level to determine when feature updates are installed. Current Branch means the update is ready for most people, and Current Branch for Business means it’s ready for widespread use in organizations.
  • Feature Updates can be deferred up to 365 days – A Feature update includes new capabilities and improvements.
  • Quality Updates can be deferred up to 30 days – A quality update includes security improvements.

As previously mentioned, in previous Windows 10 builds, you can only turn Defer Upgrades on or off. However, reaching the Advanced Update Settings page is roughly the same. To Defer Updates in Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app by pressing the Windows key + i.
  2. Click or Tap on the Update & Security icon.
  3. Click or Tap on the Windows Update link on the left side.
  4. Click or Tap on the Advanced Settings on the right side.
  5. Under Choose when updates are installed, you will find the various options to defer updates.
How to Defer Updates in Windows 10

Defer Windows 10 Updates Options in Windows 10

More About the Defer Updates Options

Personally, I like to know everything about a setting before changing is. Below are some technical jargon about the Defer Update options that will turn on the geek in you.

Feature Updates

With Windows 10, Microsoft will package new features into feature updates that can be deployed using existing management tools. Because feature updates are delivered more frequently than with previous Windows releases – two to three times per year rather than every 3-5 years – changes will be in bite-sized chunks rather than all at once and end user readiness time much shorter.

Quality Updates

Monthly updates in previous Windows versions were often overwhelming because of the sheer number of updates available each month. Many organizations selectively chose which updates they wanted to install and which they didn’t, and this created countless scenarios in which organizations deployed essential security updates but picked only a subset of non-security fixes.

In Windows 10, rather than receiving several updates each month and trying to figure out which the organization needs, which ultimately causes platform fragmentation, administrators will see one cumulative monthly update that supersedes the previous month’s update, containing both security and non-security fixes. This approach makes patching simpler and ensures that customers’ devices are more closely aligned with the testing done at Microsoft, reducing unexpected issues resulting from patching. The left side of Figure 1 provides an example of Windows 7 devices in an enterprise and what their current patch level might look like. On the right is what Microsoft’s test environment PCs contain. This drastic difference is the basis for many compatibility issues and system anomalies related to Windows updates.

Current Branch (CB)

In the CB servicing model, feature updates are available as soon as Microsoft releases them. Windows 10 version 1511 had few servicing tool options to delay CB feature updates, limiting the use of the CB servicing branch. Windows 10 version 1607, however, includes more servicing tools that can delay CB feature updates for up to 180 days. The CB servicing model is ideal for pilot deployments and testing of Windows 10 feature updates and for users such as developers who need to work with the latest features immediately.

When Microsoft officially releases a feature update for Windows 10, that update is marked for CB, making it available to any PC not configured to defer feature updates so that those devices can immediately install it. Organizations that use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, or Windows Update for Business, however, can defer CB feature updates to selective devices by withholding their approval and deployment. In this scenario, the content available for CB will be available but not necessarily immediately mandatory, depending on the policy of the management system. Only one CB build of Windows is supported at a time, so those clients not on the most current build will not receive quality updates (after a 60 day grace period) until the most current feature update has been installed. For more details about Windows 10 servicing tools, see Servicing tools.

Current Branch for Business (CBB)

Organizations typically prefer to have a testing cycle before broadly deploying new features to business users. For Windows 10, most pilot testing will be done using the CB servicing branch. In contrast, the CBB servicing branch is typically used for broad deployment. Windows 10 clients in the CBB servicing branch receive the same build of Windows 10 as those in the CB servicing branch, just at a later time. CB releases are transitioned to CBB after about 4 months, indicating that Microsoft, independent software vendors (ISVs), partners, and customers believe that the release is ready for broad deployment. Therefore, CB and CBB have an inherent “staging” effect. Both of these branches have a purpose in the overall deployment process for an enterprise, providing another layer of testing capabilities in addition to the traditional phased deployment methods to specific groups of machines. Microsoft will support two CBB builds at a time, plus a 60 day grace period. Each feature update release will be supported and updated for a minimum of 18 months.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you can Defer Updates to make sure they get tested before it gets installed on your computer. However, it is your choice whether you want to defer upgrades or not. Personally, I like to get the latest from Microsoft as soon as it is released. But, recommend that you wait a while before getting feature updates to allow for the bugs to be identified first. In result, there is no surprises when upgrading your Windows 10 computer.

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