How to delay Windows 10 feature and quality updates in Windows 10 version 2004

Windows 10 has been around for a while now, and so has the ability to delay (defer) Windows 10 feature and quality updates. However, as of Windows 10 version 2004, the very latest version at time of writing, Microsoft has wiped this highly regarded feature from the face of the earth. While you can still pause Windows updates for up to 35 days by going to Settings > Update and Security, this only allows you to pause updates for 7 days at a time, after which you have to go into Settings and press the pause button again. Also, you can not pause updates anymore once you've reached your 35 day limit.

What are feature updates

Feature updates are large-scale updates to the Windows 10 operating system that often come packed with new features and experiences for users. They are a bit like the service packs of previous Windows operating systems. Feature updates are also denoted by a change in version number. For instance, 2004, 1909, 1903, 1809, etc.

Quality updates, on the other hand, are much smaller updates that often only include security patches and stability fixes. Quality updates are applied to existing feature updates.

Why delay feature updates?

Microsoft seems to have a habit of releasing... let's say... questionable Windows 10 updates. Examples include the infamous Black. Screen. Of. Death! and the File Deletion Epidemic. Not to mention Microsoft constantly forcing updates down people's throats like feeding pipes! This drives many Windows 10 users to hold back the update process for a certain amount of time, and rightly so! While update deferral isn't the panacea for all Windows Update woes, it can certainly give you time to test the waters and check with a life guard before taking the plunge.


In order to follow this guide, you must meet, or beat, the following requirements


To defer feature updates:

  1. Press Windows + R, type
    and press Enter to open the group policy editor
  2. Press Page Up to ensure that you're at the very top of the menu. If you're without a Page Up key, press Function + Up Arrow. Down-arrow once to Computer Configuration and press Right Arrow to expand.
  3. Press A for Administrative Templates and press Right Arrow to expand.
  4. Press W for Windows Components, Right Arrow to expand.
  5. Quickly type
    windows update
    . This should fly you straight to the Windows Update tree view. Once again, press Right Arrow to expand this tree view.
  6. Down-arrow once to
    Windows Update for Business
    , then press Tab to access the right hand menu.
  7. The first option on this menu is
    Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received
    . Press Home to ensure that you're at the top of the menu. Don't have a home key? Press Function + Left Arrow. Press Enter when the above option is selected.
  8. Tab until you find the not configured radio button, then down-arrow once to change it to enabled.
  9. Tab 4 times. You should find a text field that will allow you to specify, in days, how long you wish to defer Windows feature updates. The valid range is 0 to 365.
  10. Finally, press Alt + A to apply the changes, then press Enter.

To defer quality updates:

  1. While still in the right hand menu in group policy editor, arrow down once to
    Select when Quality Updates are received
    and press Enter.
  2. Tab to the not configured radio button and go down 1 to set it to enabled.
  3. Tab 3 times to the text field, then type the number of days you wish to delay the update for. This time, the valid range is 0 to 30.
  4. Apply your new settings with Alt + A, then press Enter.
  5. Last of all, press Alt + F4 to close the GPE.

Once your changes are applied:

  1. Press Windows + R and type
    . Press Control + Shift + Enter, then press Alt + Y when UAC (User Account Control) intercedes.
  2. At the command prompt that appears, type
    gpupdate /force
    . This will force all the group policy changes you made to be applied across the system without having to wait for processing
  3. Lastly, type exit to get out of the DOS prompt.


Thanks to Brian of Britec Computers for inspiring me to write this article. Brian's site contains links to his YouTube channel and social media platforms, as well as hundreds of video articles relating to malware removal, PC repair and more. Why not check it out today!