Is Microsoft MSFT -0.14% finally seeing the light? Just days after admitting its Windows 10 upgrades went too far, a leaked build shows the company is taking steps to correct what is arguably the operating system’s worst problem

In short: Microsoft might finally give home users some control over how Windows 10 updates are installed. The news comes via Winaero which attained an unreleased build of the Windows 10 ‘Creators Update’ (v14997), the final version of which is not due for release until “spring 2017”.

What it reveals is users will be given a new option to ‘Pause Updates’ for up to 35 days. This won’t include critical security updates, such as those for Windows Defender, but crucially it allows users to hold off on installing feature and driver updates for a period long enough to ensure they have no problems following a public rollout.

Windows 10 will soon give users more control over automatic updates. Image credit: Winaero

Given there have been several incidents with Windows 10’s mandatory feature and driver updates causing high profile problems, this will be a major boost for all users – particularly those with mission critical PCs.

How To Pause Windows 10 Updates

While the feature is not yet live (and there remains a chance it could be removed before the final build), Winaero says you access it is via the following route:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Open Update & Security
  3. Select ‘Windows Update’ and “advanced options”
  4. Scroll down to “Pause Updates” near the bottom of the page
  5. Click the slider to enable/disable them

What remains unclear right now is how Microsoft will enforce this feature. Enabling it begins the 35 day pause, but users could theoretically keep resetting it by toggling pause on and off. Whether Microsoft will allow this or have some kind of failsafe in play remains to be seen.

More Is Needed

Of course while pausing updates represents progress, for me (and I suspect many others) this still doesn’t go far enough.

Quite simply there is no reason Microsoft shouldn’t give home users full control over non-critical updates to their PCs. In fact even Enterprise customers currently only have the option to pause non-critical updates for a maximum of four months, a ludicrous situation considering how superfluous some updates can be.

That said what does excite me is the potential of this new feature to make Windows 10 PCs more stable for home users. After all even the most unstable Windows 10 updates tend to be fixed within a few weeks, so 35 days should give users a large enough window to avoid problems. And that is indeed a big (if woefully overdue) step forward in a world when Windows 7 and Windows 8 have now been ‘ended’

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