On August 2, 2016, Microsoft began rolling out the latest major update of Windows 10, known as the Anniversary Update because it’s been a year since the operating system became available. And now there is a pretty lengthy list of problems being reported with the update, from changing settings on your computer to completely freezing them up. This article describes these issues in more detail:
The case against Windows 10 Anniversary Update grows (InfoWorld, 08/04/16)
The problem is exacerbated because one of the big changes that came with Windows 10 was that it stopped allowing you to turn off automatic updates. The good news is that there are some things you can do to try to prevent the update (or remove it if you’ve already received it). Here are your current options.
NOTE: These steps should prevent you from getting the update against your will, but I can’t guarantee it because Microsoft can change things on their own end any time. That’s why I’m recommending you do all the things below to have the best chance of stopping the update from happening.
Prevent Downloads over Metered Connections
A metered connection basically means you’re charged for the amount of data you download from the Internet. But even if you have an unlimited data plan, you can change a setting to tell Microsoft that your connection is metered and they claim they won’t automatically download updates in that case.
Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Advanced Options > Metered Connection. Set the slider to On.
NOTE: You may have other programs that behave differently on metered connections. For example, when I open Outlook now, I get a notice confirming that I still want to connect to download m email.
Get Notified to Schedule Restart
One of the big disasters with the original Windows 10 updates was that it would restart computers when people were in the middle of important activities. You can prevent that from happening with a simple setting change.
Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose How Updates Are Installed. From the dropdown list, select Notify to Schedule Restart.
This isn’t a full solution because the update has already downloaded and started the installation process. If you turn off your computer, it will complete the installation the next time you start it up again.
Change Registry Settings
Normally I wouldn’t recommend fiddling with the Windows registry if you’re not somewhat technically inclined, but fortunately you can make these changes without going into the registry itself. The method is different depending on whether you have Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home.
If you have the Pro version, you can use a tool called the Group Policy Editor. I don’t have Pro, so I’m going to direct you to this article that provides a lot more information about these options. For this specific option, refer to Method 5 in the article. Note that you have to take some additional steps after rebooting your computer to make sure the changes take, so be sure to read the entire section.
The Home version of Windows 10 doesn’t include the Group Policy Editor, but fortunately a developer named Noel Carboni has built a free tool that you can download to make the same changes. See the first comment from Noel on this page. After you run the tool select Disabled to stop the automatic update.
NOTE: I have downloaded and run the application without problem.
Use the Official Microsoft Show/Hide Updates Tool
This tool will only work once the update has actually been downloaded to your computer, so you’ll need to check it regularly to see if it has been updated to the list. If so, then you can hide the update and Microsoft won’t install it automatically. The tool is available to download on the Microsoft Support site:
NOTE: The above page also provides instructions on how to uninstall the update if you already received it and it’s causing you problems. Note that you only have 10 days after the update to roll back to your previous version. Once you do this, you can then use the show/hide updates tool to prevent it from re-installing.
If you want more in-depth information about the issues with the Anniversary Update and the methods for preventing/uninstalling it, here’s a list of articles I found while researching this post.
Block Windows 10 forced updates without breaking your machine, part 1 (InfoWorld, 03/10/16)
Block Windows 10 forced updates without breaking your machine, part 2 (InfoWorld, 04/08/16)
How To Block Unwanted Windows & Driver Updates From Windows 10 (Digital Citizen, 08/19/15)
Have you already received the Windows 10 Anniversary Update? Has it caused you any problems? Let us know in the comments below!