Windows 10 Settings menu: The Update & security tab
Where's Windows Update? It's in the Settings menu...and only in the Settings menu.
Sarah Jacobsson PurewalFreelance Writer
Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don't let her near any control panels.
If you're looking for Windows Update, look no further -- it's located in the new Windows 10 Settings menu. In an obvious effort to minimize the Control Panel (or perhaps do away with it altogether) in Windows 10, Microsoft has removed Windows Update from the Control Panel and placed it in the new Settings menu.
You can find Windows Update in the Update & security tab of the Settings menu (Start > Settings > Update & security), along with sections for Windows Defender, backup, recovery, activation, and developer options. If you'd like to become a Windows 10 Insider, there's also a section for that.
The Windows Update section is where you'll find (almost) everything you need to manage your Windows 10 updates. You won't have to visit this section to manually download or install updates -- Windows 10 does all that automatically -- but you can come here to see your update history, change active hours, opt to schedule your restarts for a specific time, and choose how your updates are installed.
In this section, you can also turn off Windows 10's peer-to-peer update system, which lets your PC download updates from an online network of strangers' Windows 10 PCs. For more information on how to do that, check out our guide.
Windows Defender also has a section in the Update & security tab, though it hasn't been banished from the Control Panel like Windows Update. In this section, you can toggle different Windows Defender options, including real-time protection, cloud-based protection, and automatic sample submission. You can also add exclusions, or files and programs that will be excluded from any security scans, by clicking Add an exclusion.
In the Backup section you can set your backup settings: Add an external drive for backup, or click More options to see Advanced settings (this will take you to the File History window in the Control Panel). If you created a backup using Windows 7's Backup and Restore tool, you can recover your backup by clicking Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7), which will also take you to the Control Panel.
Reset this PC allows you to reinstall Windows without losing any of your files (though we still strongly suggest you backup your files before performing this fix).
Go back to an earlier build will uninstall the most recent Windows 10 update to your PC. There's a time limit on this option: You can only go back to an earlier build within 10 days of updating. If you've recently upgraded from an older version of Windows to Windows 10, you have 30 days to roll back to your previous operating system.
Advanced startup restarts your PC so you can restore Windows from a system image, USB drive or disc.
You can now activate Windows 10 using a Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 product key, which means you can do a clean installation of Windows 10 and still receive the free upgrade promised to older Windows users. To activate your copy of Windows 10, go to the Activation section and click Change product key, or click Go to Store if you'd like to purchase a different edition of Windows.
The For developers section is designed for developers -- people making apps and programs for Windows 10. That doesn't mean you won't use it, however. If you want to sideload apps, for example, you'll need to go into this section to turn that feature on.
Windows Insider Program
The Windows Insider Program now has its own section in the Update & security tab. If you'd like to become a Windows Insider -- someone who receives new builds of Windows 10 before they're ready for the public -- you can opt-in here. You can also choose how you want to receive insider builds -- in the fast ring or the slow ring.
Fair warning: Being an Insider, especially an Insider on the fast ring, is more of a headache than a sweet sneak peek at new features. Microsoft makes no promises that your computer will work as advertised or even at all if you install Insider builds.
Editors' note: This How To post was originally published on March 1, 2015, and was updated on June 6, 2016, to reflect new information regarding Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14342.