How to stop automatic Windows Update in Windows 10 and 11

With Windows 10 and 11, Microsoft took away our control of how and when Windows updates are installed: by default they are installed when they become available, whether we want them or not.

Why would one not want to install updates right away? When one's computer is using a connection that's limited in bandwidth or expensive, obviously. This is usually not the case when connecting to a Wi-Fi at home or at work, but when you travel, you may find it necessary to use a cell data connection that's roaming, or metered, and in such a case you certainly don't want to end up with a huge bill after Windows has downloaded a multi-megabyte update in the background without telling you.

So, how to temporarily stop Windows 10 and 11 from using the bandwidth for the maintenance tasks such as Windows updates? Easy: you need to tell Windows that the connection you are using is metered, and that would stop the automatic updates over that connection. Specifically, the steps are as follows:

  1. Open the Start menu and choose Settings:

Choose Settings on Start menu of Windows 10 or 11

  1. Select Network and Internet:

Open Network and Internet screen in Windows Settings

  1. Select Wi-Fi:

Open Wi-Fi screen in Windows Settings

  1. Select Manage known networks:

Open the Manage known networks screen in Windows Settings

  1. Select the Wi-Fi network you are connected to, click Properties, and then select Advanced options:

Open Advanced options in Wi-Fi settings

  1. Move the Set as metered connection switch to the On position:

Enable the Set as metered connection option in Wi-Fi settings

That's it, that should stop Windows 10 and 11 from downloading updates over this specific connection. Keep in mind that if later on you connect to a different Wi-Fi network, you should set it as a metered connection, too, if you want the ban on Windows updates to continue.

Consider also, that Windows stops doing some other tasks over the metered connections, such as installing or updating device drivers delivered via the Windows update channel. If you encounter a problem connecting a device to your laptop while using a metered Wi-Fi connection, try turning off the 'metered connection' switch and see if that improves the situation.

And of course, when you are back home from the trip, don't forget to check that the metered connection setting is off, to allow the updates to resume and go on as usual. Remember that Windows updates are (usually) a good thing!

Happy computing!

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