I don’t like my OS doing things or adding things without my permission as much as the next person. As a life-long Windows user, that little pop-up telling me to restart my PC has gotten on my nerves more times that I can count—but it’s not like Windows doesn’t give me the option to turn that off. Yes, it’s annoying that Windows defaults these permissions to “on.” However, Windows 10 users can prevent their PC from automatically restarting after an update, as well as block updates for other Microsoft products.
If you’re still not ready to fully update to Windows 10 version 2004, or are trying to prevent Microsoft from adding shortcuts to Office on the web, you have the power to tell Microsoft “no thanks,” and go about your day.
In the search bar, type in “update” and click on Check for updates. From there, click on Advanced updates, and turn all of these toggles into the off position. (It’s really just two main ones you have to worry about, but as you can see I turn everything off for good measure.)
In the off position, Restart this device as soon as possible will prevent your PC from automatically restarting when you pause in your blogging to go make dinner, and turning the Update notifications off will, of course, prevent that pop-up reminder to restart your device. You’ll still see that little update icon with a yellow dot next to the date and time in the taskbar, but now you have to click on that to manually restart your PC and apply the update.
These options won’t necessarily prevent Windows from automatically downloading the updates, but it won’t install them without your permission. The next time you restart or shut down your PC, instead of selecting “Update and shut down,” or “Update and restart,” just pick the normal shut down or restart option.
Ta-da! You’ve successfully prevented Windows from restarting and losing your work while you were away from your PC getting coffee or a snack. By turning a few select options off, there is no reason to complain about Windows 10 doing things without your permission—because you literally have to give it permission for it to do so.
These options will vary based on what version of Windows and what edition of Windows you have. If you don’t see multiple restart and shutdown options like in the screenshot above, just select Pause updates for 7 days in the Update settings. You can also pause updates for a longer period of time under Advanced options, as well as choose when updates are installed if you have Windows 10 version 2004. Feature updates can be postponed for up to 365 days and security updates for up to 30 days.
This doesn’t address the issue of Windows 10 installing shortcut icons to Office on the web along with version 2004. (Note I said shortcuts, not actual apps or programs. Microsoft is not installing a full-fledged copy of Office on your local machine without your permission, and definitely without it getting paid first.) But there’s a way to prevent that too if you don’t want to see the icons in your Start menu. Click on the start icon. Right click on the Word, Excel, or other Office icon. Select Unpin from Start. Bam! It’s gone!
If you never look at the start menu anyway, like me, these shortcut icons won’t be an eyesore regardless if they are there or not. You can still get rid of these icons even if you elected to sign into Windows with your Microsoft account, which will automatically link the web-based Office apps to your account.
Hopefully, by now you’ve already gone through your Windows settings and turned off automatic updates. The OS doesn’t force you into using anything or doing anything without your permission, but it will try to nudge you in a specific direction. Don’t let it fool you.