Windows 10 upgrade mechanisms do a rather basic check when it comes to compatibility: CPU speed, storage, RAM, and that’s basically it. Users can receive the offer for a new Feature Update through Windows Update but discover during installation or after setup that the new release is actually incompatible with their hardware. As Microsoft continues to roll out more and more Windows 10 Feature Updates, those with older hardware are increasingly finding themselves left behind due to Windows update compatibility issues.
OEM’s maintain databases determining support for a particular release of Windows 10. That said, Windows Update, Media Creation Tool, and the Upgrade Assistant don’t reference any of these services. If you discover your system isn’t compatible with a new Windows 10 Feature Update, here is how you can block it from installing.
How to Block New Versions of Windows 10 from Automatically Installing
The Windows 10 setup process doesn’t inform users whether their computer is supported or not. Before you install a Feature Update, the first thing you should do is check the hardware vendor’s website to determine if your system is compatible. Here are some links to popular brands where you can check support status for your make and model. This can be the first step to ensure you don’t update your system only to find out later in frustration you have to rollback or perform a clean install.
The most common way many users install a new Feature Update is through Windows Update. But how do you prevent it from installing? Microsoft’s Show or Hide Updates tool can be a first line option. This small wizard lets you choose to hide the Feature Update in Windows Update. After downloading, launch it, click Next, wait while it detects pending Windows Updates.
Click the Hide Updates menu.
Scroll through the list then select the Feature Update. In my case, I am hiding Windows 10 Creators Update, version 1703. Check the box next to the update then click Next to confirm changes. When future versions are released in the fall and spring, you will see either 1709 or 1803.
The next option is not practical, but can temporarily block a feature update too. You can set your network up as a metered connection, which prevents large updates from downloading. Open Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, click your network connection, then toggle on Metered Connection. You can also do this for wired connections in Windows 10 version 1703 or later.
All Windows editions let you pause an update for up to 35 days. Users running premium business editions such as Windows 10 Pro, Pro Edu, Enterprise, Education and Pro for Workstation have additional options. Using the Group Policy editor, you can defer feature updates for even longer. If you are running any of those editions, here is how you do that.
Press Windows key + R, type: gpedit.msc then hit Enter. Under Computer Configuration, expand Windows Components > Windows Updates > Defer Updates then double click Select when Feature Updates are received.
You can block a feature update for up to 365 days. Taking into consideration that Feature Updates are released every seven months, this should be sufficient. But keep in mind, a Feature Update is only supported for 18 months, so eventually, you will need to move to a release in order to maintain support. So, if you block 1703 for example, you will need to move to 1809 when the time comes.
Being able to block Feature Updates temporarily or indefinitely works today. But the way Microsoft handles Feature Updates story is not written in stone—the Windows as a Service (WaaS) model means that the way of doing things is always subject to change. Users are pretty much between a rock and hard place for the time being. We don’t recommend blocking feature updates indefinitely since they have become a critical part of Windows 10’s security mechanisms. As new releases are delivered, it’s truly an unknown going forward for older hardware. I guess when we arrive at that bridge, we will have to figure how to cross it.
Let us know if you found this helpful. What are your thoughts on Feature Updates so far; are they more trouble than you asked for or are they working just fine?