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.

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. [This is still working for me on my Windows 10 Pro v 1670 computer].

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.

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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. 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.

41 Comments

  1. Vince Thor

    I have Win 10 home, so, no GPEDIT.MSC, I had to perform a Registry Hack, but no affect, I believe, I need to wait for any Updates to arrive from MS.
    CAN I DOWNLOAD GPEDIT.MSC FOR WIN 10, FROM ANY MS OR WIN SITES OR ANY OTHER SITES, PLEASE

  2. Yes you will have to wait for Updates to appear. Try one or two times and see if it works this way then. There is no place where you can officially download GPEDIT from Microsoft or any other site.

  3. PeterGadd

    I have tried this on two machines with completely different results.

    The first is running Enterprise 10525 (fully updated) and everything seems to work successfully as the Advanced Options page showed the message “Some settings are managed by your organization”, and the button was greyed out.

    However, on the other machine that is running Pro 10240 (fully updated), the Advanced Options did not show any change as mentioned above. I checked in the registry and the settings are as mentioned at the end of the article.

    Anyone have any idea why it should work on Enterprise but not on Professional?

  4. Renato

    It works for me on Pro 10240 after i made a “search for updates”

  5. PeterGadd

    UPDATE:

    Still not working at all on Pro 10240.

    Just tried a check for updates on Enterprise 10525, and it found an update for Defender. However, there was no notification popup. The update downloaded and installed normally.

  6. I had tried this on my Pro. Really no idea why its not working on yours. After making the change, click on the Search for Updates button manually once and restart your computer and see if that helps…

  7. bill-o

    So where is the “Run Box”? I don’t seem to be able to find it as it use to be under the start button. Now all I get is a bunch of cubes with stuff running in them.

  8. Right-click on the Start button to open the WinX Menu. You will see Run here.

  9. Keith Clark

    Hi. I made a tool out of this guide. It can also disable Windows Defender. check it out: http://j.mp/DisableMeNot

  10. Stephen Sharp

    They have now disabled this behaviour in one of the updates since retail.

    You can change all the settings in this guide, it will ignore you.

  11. Hmm… let me keep a watch on this and see. Thanks.

  12. Stephen Sharp

    Hmm, it may possibly be still there but despite these settings today I got a model orange “Metro” style dialog box with “You must install these updates” and a single button marked “Get the updates” which disabled everything on the PC until I clicked it.

    This only opened the update app which MIGHT still have been behaving.

  13. ~ ZerO MinD ~

    Thank You for the tip Anand. I spent 30 minutes looking for this option. I wonder why windows decided to hide this. For people who connect to the internet using a data package, it would have finished in no time… Windows 10 doesnt seem to be better than 8.1 in anyway for me. Too much lag .

  14. lucas1024

    I thought the same at first, but then I rebooted and did Check for updates and then I could the see the Notify… text in the advanced settings.

  15. Stephen Sharp

    Yeah I ultimately got it to work. I suspect by the same means you did.

  16. Jstefanoworx

    Great article, but my aggravation is with the sound that announces the update, at 3AM! Is there a way to shut the audio off with an update? Thx

  17. There is absolutely no way to install Group Policy Editor for any Non-Pro version of Windows XP, Vista. 7, 8, 8.1 or 10. But you should be able to update to Pro from your Install Disk. All Windows 10 Install images have both Pro and Home, just reinstall and choose Pro. If you use Enterprise versions of Windows, they have a whole different disk image for that. You can create a Windows 10 installer from the Microsoft Windows 10 website, There are links to an installer than can be used to also create ISO images.

  18. From that page:

    “Note that you will be able to use it only if your have systems running
    Pro / Business / Enterprise editions of Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7
    and Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2008
    R2, Windows Server 2008 editions. It will not run on editions which do
    not have Group Policy, like the Home editions.”

    So no, there is no way in hell for anyone with any Home version of Windows to get it.

  19. Salad Fingers

    Is there a way to explicitly allow Windows Defender updates to automatically download while having this setting on? It’s neat to have Windows asking before each update but the antivirus is something I’d like to go ahead and update anyway. Not to mention it gives way too many update notifications :/

  20. Salad Fingers

    Thanks!!!

  21. Itachi Uchiha

    i have done what this says but windows keeps on not notifying me on updates and force shutdowns my computer for updates when ever i am doing something important

  22. Jaxo

    Doesn’t seem to work with Windows 10 Pro set auto download and notify for install. Has anyone tried setting to “notify for download and notify for install?”
    We need users to be able to have a visual indicator that updates are downloaded to the machine so they can manually install the updates and reboot before it happens automatically rather than being surprised when the computer silently installs the updates and then unexpectedly reboots.

  23. GameOverAUS

    Has no effect on Pro x64 here, the settings are correct, it shows Greyed Notify to download + the Some settings are managed by your organisation and it still auto downloaded and updated

  24. GameOverAUS

    Doesn’t work anymore, they changed something and even changing the settings in the registry has no effect, it is still auto.

  25. Rafa? Kucharski

    I have similar situation. I have setting no. 4 in GPO and users don’t receive notifications to restart computer. On user i see “Automatic (recommended)” not option 4. RSOP show me no. 4.

    Any idea?

    Win10 Pro ver 10586.164

  26. thibfighter

    Same thing for me, although everything is looking the same as the article, it had no effect on Windows update’s settings.

  27. nzmike

    Many thanks for this – it’s exactly what I was looking for 🙂

  28. ClaudeL

    While the images have every edition included, the edition that’s installed is controlled by product key you enter. If you want Pro, you’ll need a product key that enables Pro, which means you’ll have to buy it. You don’t get to choose Pro if you’ve purchased a Home edition product key.

  29. ClaudeL

    You don’t need the run box. Just click the Start menu, and begin typing.

  30. ClaudeL

    I followed instructions just fine a few minutes ago. Which edition of Windows 10 are you using?

  31. True, But when I was offered a free update from Windows 7 I was given a Pro Key not a home key

  32. freonpsandoz

    I wish authors wouldn’t post crap that doesn’t work for all Windows editions without stating that it doesn’t work for all Windows editions.

  33. freonpsandoz

    You were given a Pro key when upgrading from Windows 7 Home? I wasn’t.

  34. The key I was given works for either one I chose pro

  35. mabelene

    I am very upset and disappointed in Microsoft right now…and that’s saying alot since I have always trusted them to do the right thing on my behalf…BUT NO MORE..They did an update to my edge program without notifying me, and instead just shut me down and in the process of the update they messed up my virus protection program and some of the aol functions that I use.. I have tried to contact microsoft cuz aol cannot fix what they screwed up..A microsoft tech called me today and as I was complaining about the surprise updates that screwed up my puter..that tech just hung up on me…Maybe because I told him that this was my computer not theirs and they would not take the control of it out of my hands..I don’t but I know one thing for sure..I now wonder about the integrity of microsoft …I am back to using my regular virus protection program instead of what microsoft added to my computer..but still cannot copy and paste a hyperlink fron one email to another without losing the content of the hyperlink…Microsoft sucks and I do not want them to have control of my computer..

  36. Sonia

    Hi Anand, if I follow your instructions for turning off automatic updates (or use set “Start up type” manual) on Windows 10 Pro and follow your instructions for notifications will they run simultaneously or can I only use one or the other? So, if I turn off the automatic updates will I still receive notifications that are are updates for install?

  37. You can only make Windows 10 inform you that updates are available and you should download them using this tip. Leave all other settings to their default values.

  38. howard

    My Win 10 Pro machine did not have “Configure Windows Automatic Updates” in group policy editor, so I used the registry fix instead.

    Howard

  39. Jake Arroyo

    You Sir deserve a Medal!!! Thank you! I’ve HATED that I don’t have any control or notifications about when its downloading or installing. Several of the games I play are permanent death, and when you start randomly lagging and are trying to figure out why your Character you’ve logged 30-60 hours on just died and find out it was Windows fault and there’s NOTHING you can do about it……… So yes you are AWESOME!!!

  40. Ladislav Zima

    Have you tried Google? I’m hapilly using gpedit.msc on my old cheap notebook with the Windows Home version (went 8.0 –> 8.1 –> 10). I use it for anonymous access to my shared folders, so others can copy e.g. movies from me without needin to have account on my notebook or enter a login & password for a special created account for sharing.
    PS: it’s possible to install also the RDP server for remotelly accessing your Windows Home. Unfortunatelly the RDP server enabler needs to wait days for new version after each big Win 10 Update as that changes things inside (thus I use just VNC instead of RDP – but the gpedit.msc thing is working independently on the big updates).

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