How-To

How to Block a Windows 10 Feature Update and Why You Might Need To

Need to block a new version of Windows 10 from automatically installing? This article will show you how to do it if your hardware or apps are incompatible.

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.

Metered 1

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 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?


15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Ziggy  

    With the “Show or Hide Updates” tool you really have to be on your toes. Tried it a few times and was caught out each time. I overcame this by turning Windows Update Service to “disabled” and re-enabled it when all was good. When sure of the latest update for Windows 10 I would just re-enable the update service or invoke the show or hide update tool and stop it from there.

    Not the best way to go about it but at least this way I don’t get surprised with a new edition of Windows 10. There is a batch file that will enable/disable Windows update service with a click of the button – just google it.

  2. Peter J Legge  

    Window 10 appears to have changed the use of Gmail that I use. It now allows my Gmail group lists to auto load only if they are not labeled Family or Kindred. Even though I change group name the “compose” fails to auto recognize it once did recognize.
    Peter

  3. Ed Schaffer  

    My desktop computer is over five years old & my drive is nearly full. So rather than buying additional drive hardware, I am going to try uploading most of my content files to the cloud to clear space on my drive. We will see how this works or not. Will keep you posted on results.

  4. Jean-Mi_44  

    Thanks a lot Andre !

    I’ve just spent two full days trying to sort out an installation issue on an HP Pavilion laptop further to an obvious internal conflict linked to a possible compatibility issue with the OS.
    It ended up in going back to a W10-1511 level !

    No doubt that further to your publication, I will have a thorough look at all what will hapen next on that laptop prior to decide what to do for improving its stability.
    Jean-Michel

  5. Wickiwiz  

    Thanks for that, and all who replied. I have hidden 1709 hopefully successfully. It seems that I may
    be quite out of the woods for the future updates, but I have got my missing zero back. As for the feature updates, I must just be too old. They do nothing for me. Why do I need a 3d picture of a duck? What do I do with it? Not really impressed with windows 10 full stop.
    I was happy with my Z88 backed up with 286.

  6. John Killeen  

    1703 just crashes my machine at 88% complete, leaving a difficult few days to get the machine to work again. I see from bulletin boards that I am not alone, stuck at 88%. Hopefully your fix will stop repeated automatic attempts to load it, but better advice from Microsoft to help solve such problems is needed.

  7. Jean-Mi_44  

    Good shot, John !
    Your performance is better than mine : during my last attempt, it’s just stopped at 86%.
    I suspect one day or the other we’ll be able to pass the 90% mark and may-be reach the 100% final target a bit later !

  8. Ziggy  

    On my Dell Inspiron 1100 Laptop it took a massive 10 hours to download and install. Repeated failed attempts from Window’s Update and then, finally, success after running Window’s Update Troubleshooter on numerous occasions. Unbelievable and, what did I get in return? Not much except for some nice colorful ducks in Paint 3D and one massive migraine. I’ve now got all my machines running on metered connections because I don’t intend to go through all of that again.

  9. tazmo8448  

    I didn’t have much of an issue with 1703 til 1709 rolled out. They’ve (M$) have changed the Update>Advanced settings menu were all you can do is change it to Business Branch an put off the update for up to 365 days whereas the ole 1507 had all sorts of ways to defer updates….the next few OS’s down the road I’m sure will have it to where you have zero control guess that’s what we get for wanting DX12.

  10. Tom  

    Windows update to 1709 comes with WiFi off and no way to turn it on (3 yr old Dell laptop). Restored to 1703 and it works. Used this article to block future update to 1709.

  11. Rapid MS hater  

    Massive issues with my Lenovo T420. Arrrrrgggg. What the hell are you doing MS.. stop it!
    You have broken all the Lenovo utilities on my T420, and now I constantly get rundll failed to load C:\program. Lenovo’s attitude is my T420 is not a tested machine!
    I also have a Carbon X1 1st Gen and they also say that’s not a tested machine so looking to find a way to stop 1709.
    My T420 totally died when trying to update the utilities, and I end with a blue screen of death with “no bootable device found”. Only saved the system by being able to recover to an earlie point. Arggggg, hours wasted! But still have all the utilities broken and god know what any stupid future feature will bring.
    MS you should hang your head in shame for no giving opt out selections for those incompatible systems.

  12. If you downgrade to Windows 10 1703 but that is also not working, try downgrading to a much older release such as Windows 10 Anniversary Update. See instructions how to download older versions of Windows 10:

    https://www.groovypost.com/howto/download-iso-older-versions-windows-10-iso-files/

  13. Robert  

    HP Envy DV7. The 1709 feature update pops up usually when I’m away from the keyboard and can’t cancel it. It starts without my approval and fails to install. Windows get recovered at least but the whole process makes my PC unusable for 2-3 hrs. The same situation repeats every few days. Running of the update troubleshooter didn’t help. It just made my Windows re-download a bunch of other stuff and slowed down my PC even more.

    Update hiding resolved my issues, at least for now. Thanks for the tips!

  14. Heather  

    I don’t know whether to be pleased or angry- pleased to find I am not alone with Creators Updates causing dire crashes to my Asus PC – angry with Microsoft that it keeps on trying auto-update and crashes again and again. The “solution” to block updates sounded good until I read there are potential problems later on. I am near the end of my tether and wish I had bought a Mac.

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