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How to delay Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Not ready yet to move to the next version of Windows? You can delay the update.

Matt Elliott/CNET

There are early adopters and then there are those individuals and organizations who, instead of jumping headlong into new software and gadgets, take a more cautious approach to installing a software update or buying a new device, waiting for it to prove itself to be stable or useful before taking the plunge. If this latter category describes you and your approach to installing Windows 10 updates, then you need to know how you can delay the arrival of Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

Before we jump in, let me state that it's a good idea to stay current with Windows updates because, in addition to introducing new features and enhancements, they include important security patches. So, while you're probably safe in delaying the up for a few days or a couple weeks, I recommend you eventually install it. With that said, here's how you can delay it if you want to let the update breathe a bit to make sure it's stable and secure before proceeding. Your options vary, depending on whether you are running Windows 10 Home or Pro.

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Windows 10 Pro

Go to Settings > Update & security and click Advanced options in the Update settings section. The quickest way to delay the update is to turn on the toggle switch for Pause Updates, which buys you 35 days.

To delay longer, you can change the setting for Choose when updates are installed from the default Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) to Semi-Annual Channel. Let me translate these oddly named options. 

  • Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) puts you in line for updates rolled out first, intended for a small percentage of "targeted" PCs of an organization so it can validate that the update plays nice with its infrastructure. 
  • Semi-Annual Channel puts you in a different line, one that will receive updates only after they are deemed ready for the entirety of an organization's hardware and software. This broader release is usually a few months after the initial release, during which time additional testing can be performed to ensure compatibility. 

For individuals, switching this "branch readiness level" is a quick way to delay installation for a few months.

Need even more time? In addition to opting for a slower release schedule, Windows 10 Pro users can also defer an update for up to one year. Below the Semi-Annual Channel drop-down menu, you'll see two options to defer updates -- one for feature updates and one for quality updates. A large update like October 2018 Update is a feature update, while a quality update is a smaller update focused on security. You can defer a feature update for up to 365 days, and you can defer a quality update for up to 30 days.

Windows 10 Home

You won't find the above options if you're running Windows 10 Home, but you can still delay updates by telling Windows not to install updates when you are using a metered connection and then going ahead and setting your connection as metered.

First, go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options and make sure Automatically download updates, even over metered data connections (charges may apply) is toggled off.

Next, go to Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi, click on your network connection at the top and scroll down and toggle on Set as metered connection

windows-10-metered-connection
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

When are you ready to update, you can go back and toggle off the metered connection setting and check for an update by going to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update. 

Going the other way, if you can't wait for its official release, you can install Windows 10 October 2018 Update right now.

Originally published on April 28, 2018.
Update, Sept. 7: Added information about Windows 10 October 2018 Update.