Make Windows 10 notify you before downloading or installing Windows Updates

Windows 10 will not inform you before installing or downloading updates. It will download them in the background and install and rest your computer when you are not using it. For the last few weeks I was trying to see if there was any way to make Windows 10 inform you before downloading or installing Windows Updates.

There is no option to turn off Windows Updates using the Control Panel or Settings app in Windows 10, as there used to be with earlier versions of Windows. But there is a workaround to disable or turn off Windows Update in Windows 10.

But what I wanted was for Windows 10 to inform me that updates were available. So I made a few changes to my Windows 10 Pro settings and checked if the new operating system would inform me before downloading updates in the background. What I tried appears to work.

Make Windows 10 notify you before downloading Updates

First create a system restore point and then follow one of these procedures.

Using Group Policy

If your Windows 10 version ships with Group Policy, open Run box, type gpedit.msc and hit Enter to open the Local Group Policy Editor, and navigate to the following setting:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update

group policy wu 1

Double-click on Configure Automatic Updates to open its configuration box. Select Enabled, and then from the available Options, from the drop-down menu, select Notify for download and notify for install. Click on Apply and Exit. Restart your computer.

windows 10 gp 2

This policy specifies whether this computer will receive security updates and other important downloads through the Windows automatic updating service.

This setting lets you specify whether automatic updates are enabled on this computer. If the service is enabled, you must select one of the four options in the Group Policy Setting:

  • 2 – Notify before downloading and installing any updates. When Windows finds updates that apply to this computer, users will be notified that updates are ready to be downloaded. After going to Windows Update, users can download and install any available updates.
  • 3 – (Default setting) Download the updates automatically and notify when they are ready to be installed. Windows finds updates that apply to the computer and downloads them in the background (the user is not notified or interrupted during this process). When the downloads are complete, users will be notified that they are ready to install. After going to Windows Update, users can install them.
  • 4 – Automatically download updates and install them on the schedule specified below. Specify the schedule using the options in the Group Policy Setting. If no schedule is specified, the default schedule for all installations will be every day at 3:00 AM. If any updates require a restart to complete the installation, Windows will restart the computer automatically. (If a user is signed in to the computer when Windows is ready to restart, the user will be notified and given the option to delay the restart.) On Windows 8 and later, you can set updates to install during automatic maintenance instead of a specific schedule.
  • 5 – Allow local administrators to select the configuration mode that Automatic Updates should notify and install updates. With this option, local administrators will be allowed to use the Windows Update control panel to select a configuration option of their choice. Local administrators will not be allowed to disable the configuration for Automatic Updates.

If the status for this policy is set to Disabled, any updates that are available on Windows Update must be downloaded and installed manually. To do this, search for Windows Update using Start. If the status is set to Not Configured, use of Automatic Updates is not specified at the Group Policy level. However, an administrator can still configure Automatic Updates through Control Panel.

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Now if you open Settings Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options, you will a grayed out Notify to download button and a notification saying Some settings are managed by your organization.

Maake Windows 10 notify you before downloading Updates

Now when updates are available, you will see the following popup notification. I tested this on the last 2-3 occasions when Updates were available for my PC, and every time Updates were available, I was informed.

wu notification

You will also see the You need some updates, Select this message to install notification in the Action Center.

wu action center

Clicking on the notification, will open the Update Settings. I could see that some updates were available and ready to download.

cumulation updates windows 10

Clicking on Download, started the download process.

downloading updates10

If your Windows does not have GPEDIT, you may use the Windows Registry.

Using Windows Registry

If you are running Windows 10 Home, Run regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

Create a new key under Windows key and set its name as WindowsUpdate. Next, create another key under it and name it AU.

Now under this path, in the right pane, create a new DWORD AUOptions:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Set its value to 2. The following options are available

  • 2 – To notify for download and notify for install
  • 3  – To auto download and notify for install
  • 4  – To auto download and schedule the install
  • 5  – To allow local admin to choose setting

Exit REGEDIT and restart the computer.

Now check for a few time when Updates a released and see if it works for you.

If you do not like the changes, you can always reverse the or go back to the create system restore point.

Let us know if this works for you.

See how you can Stop Windows 10 from upgrading your computer automatically.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.