Like its predecessor, Windows 11 carries out a lot of operations in the background while you use it. Most of these are important to keep things running smoothly, whether it’s delivering notifications or checking for viruses.
But by default, Windows 11 also downloads software updates automatically. It means that when you go to turn off your computer, you may be prompted to complete the installation of these updates.
However, you might prefer to have more control over which updates are installed, and when these downloads take place. In this article, we’ll run through ways to both take a short break from updates or permanently shift to downloading them manually.
Here are are four methods that it’s worth being aware of.
Stop Windows 11 automatic updates temporarily in Settings
This is by far the simplest method, but it’s also the most limited. If you’re getting bombarded with updates right now but don’t want to have to check manually long-term, it’s worth trying:
Open SettingsSelect Windows Update from the left pane – it’s usually at the bottom of the listUnder ‘More updates’, you’ll find an option to ‘Pause updates’. Click the button marked ‘Pause for 1 week’, after which automatic updates will continue again
However, this setting completely disables updates for seven days, or until you resume them. There’s no option to continue installing them manually, unlike the other methods explained in this article.
Disable Windows 11 automatic updates via Windows Services
If you’re looking for something a little longer term, using Windows Services is worth considering:
Hit the Windows Key + R to bring up the ‘Run’ windowType ‘services.msc’ in the box and hit EnterWithin ‘Services (Local), scroll through the list until you find ‘Windows Update’ and double-click itUnder the ‘General’ tab of the Properties window that opens, click the drop-down next to ‘Startup type’ and choose ‘Disabled’Click ‘Apply’, then ‘OK’ to save the changes
Automatic updates will now be disabled, but you can still install them manually via Settings. If you ever want to turn them back on, just repeat this process, choosing ‘Manual’ or ‘Automatic’ instead.
Set up a metered connection to stop Windows 11 automatic updates
A metered connection is essentially any internet connection which has a limit on the amount of data you can use. As you might expect, creating a metered connection in Windows 11 means updates won’t download automatically in the background. Here’s how to set one up:
Open Settings and select ‘Network & internet’ from the left paneAt the top of the page, click ‘Properties’ next to the network you’re usingNext to ‘Metered connection’, click the toggle to turn it onOnce that’s done, click ‘Windows Update’ from the left pane, then ‘Advanced options’Next the section named ‘Download updates over metered connections’, click the toggle to turn it on
Without setting any limit for the metered connection, your regular browsing experience shouldn’t be affected. However, other background processes that rely on the internet may also be turned off.
Turn off Windows 11 automatic updates by editing the registry
The fourth and final method involves making changes to the registry. As such, it’s important to proceed with caution and follow these steps carefully:
Hit the Windows Key + R to bring up the ‘Run’ windowType ‘regedit.exe’ in the box and hit EnterFrom the pop-up that appears, click ‘Yes’ to confirm you allow changes to be madeJust above all the folders, you’ll find an address bar. Delete everything you see there and replace it with ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdateAU’, before hitting Enter once moreRight-click any blank space in the right half of the screen and select New > DWORD (32-bit) ValueGive it the name ‘NoAutoUpdate’ and hit EnterNow, double-click this new value and set its ‘Value data’ to 1Click ‘OK’ to confirm, then restart your device to apply the changes
As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to disabling automatic updates in Windows 11. All are reversible, meaning you can easily turn them back on if the manual update process is wearing thin.
For more tutorials like this, see our full range of Windows How Tos. You may also be interested in our full guide to Windows 11.