We’ve taken the time to explore Windows Update settings in Microsoft’s latest operating system to help you decide whether to leave Windows 10 Update settings as they are or customize them to best suit your needs.
Windows 10 Updates: How are they different?
One of the hot (or controversial) topics surrounding Windows 10 is how updates are delivered. From a functional standpoint, very little has changed since Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. The most drastic change with version 10 is the limited amount of control you as the user have over the updates. The updates are no longer optional; as we’ll see in the article, you still have control over when updates are installed, but that’s all. Another item of interest is that by default, Windows 10 sets your computer to act as an update server over the Internet for other computers. In other words, it could be using up your Internet bandwidth. It’s likely limited so it doesn’t use much, but we haven’t tested that theory. Read on to see how to change this setting and others.
This article applies to all version of Windows 10. If you’re using a work-issued computer, check with your IT department before making any changes as they can affect how your computer works.
Access Windows 10 Update Settings
(Note: you’ll need to be logged into your computer with an administrator account in order to change these settings.)
To access Windows Update settings, first open the Start menu (yes, it’s back!) shown above by clicking the Windows icon in the lower left of your taskbar and then typing settings in the search box. Wait a few seconds for the search results to display and then click the first item in the list, Settings, which opens the new Windows Settings app.
When the Settings app (shown above) opens, click the Update & security tile.
The first category that displays in this app is Windows Update, which is where you want to be. You won’t see any settings here however, so click the Advanced options link in the center of the window.
If you’re coming from Windows 8 or 8.1, some of the settings show above may look familiar.
The Choose how updates are installed drop-down has the following self-explanatory settings:
- Automatic (recommended)
- Notify to schedule restart
Unlike previous versions of Windows, you don’t have a choice whether or not to install updates – the choice is now whether they’re installed as you’re working or if Windows should wait until you restart. Most users will be best off with the Automatic setting because it’s the least intrusive; the issue with the Notify option is that it’s too easy to put off installing updates, not to mention the fact that Windows will nag you to restart the computer when it needs to do so. On the other hand, using the Notify option might work out best if you restart your computer on a daily basis. Your call; updates are going to be installed either way.
The Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows checkbox is unchecked by default. Checking this box will cause the computer to update not only Windows but also installed Microsoft products such as Office. We recommend checking this box unless you have a specific reason not to let those other products be updated automatically.
Next click the link Choose how updates are delivered.
The settings shown above are new to Windows 10. In short, with Windows 10 your computer is a virtual update server for other computers. This will cause some resource usage overhead in your computer and may also affect your Internet performance. We recommend you turn this setting off for the aforementioned reasons by clicking the slider. Should you choose to keep it on, change the radio buttons at the bottom of the screen to PCs on my local network. This setting won’t cause your computer to go out to the Internet in search of other computers for updates but will look at other computers connected to your router, which might actually save you Internet bandwidth.
(As you may have noticed, there’s no longer any OK or Save buttons – once you change a setting, it’s automatically saved.)
In summary, users have less control over updates in Windows 10 than they did in previous versions of Windows. Updates are now mandatory though you still maintain control over when the updates are installed. As we recommended in our other articles in this series, most users are best served by leaving the automatic update settings in place, as the updates then occur without you having to intervene. You’ll additionally have the peace of mind that your system is as up-to-date as possible, which counts for a lot in today’s world where new security vulnerabilities are discovered on a daily basis.
The one truly new setting in Windows 10 is whether your computer will serve as a virtual update server for other Windows 10 computers. It does by default and although it’s unlikely this will cause issues, we recommended disabling this option as it could potentially limit your Internet bandwidth. We’ll have to do additional testing before we deem it worthwhile to enable.