Microsoft releases two feature updates for Windows 10 every year, the latest one which was recently made available is Windows 10 version 20H2. Feature updates bring new functionalities and improve the overall system performance, but historically, these updates are more of trouble than a boon.
Although Microsoft thoroughly tests them before releasing, many users still face compatibility issues with the latest Windows 10 feature updates. On installing those, their system either breaks down or misbehaves regularly.
Thus, it is evident that many people want their system to remain on the current version of Windows 10 and switch to the new version only when it is free of common bugs and become stable.
However, the thing with the Windows 10 updates is that you can ignore them for a few days, but you cannot skip them for long.
But hang on. There is a hidden option in the Windows 10 Group Policy Editor that lets you avoid the latest feature update and install it whenever you believe your system is ready for it.
This guide would teach you how to avoid the latest Windows 10 feature update and remain on the current version. Further, we would also explain how you can move to a particular Windows 10 feature update. Since it requires the Group Policy Editor, unfortunately, the option is not available for the Windows 10 Home users. But we would provide the alternative registry editor option for them that would perform the same function.
How to remain on the current Windows 10 version?
If you have an old, low configured device and doubt that the latest Windows 10 feature update might break your system, you can avoid it and remain on your current stable version until you are sure that the new update is compatible with your device.
Here is how you can do that using the Group Policy Editor.
Open the Windows 10 search box and type GPE or Group Policy Editor. Click on “Edit group policy” to launch it.
Under “Local Computer Policy,” click on Administrative Templates and then double-click on Windows Components.
Next, scroll down and look for the Windows Update folder to open it.
Open the Windows Update for Business folder.
Under it, click on the “Select the target Feature Update version” setting to configure it.
Now first click on the bullet next to the “Enabled” option. Then type the version your system is currently on; for example, if your system is on Windows 10 1903 version, write 1903 in the blank space.
Click Apply and OK to finish the configuration.
That’s it. Your system will now remain on Windows 10 1903 until you change this setting. Even after clicking on the “Check for Updates” option in Windows 10 Update & Security settings, you won’t receive the feature updates later to version 1903.
How to install a particular Windows 10 Feature Update?
Whenever a Windows 10 feature update is introduced, Microsoft provides security patches and other fixes to it for 1.5 years, and then it ends the support for it. Users are then obligated to update their system to the latest Windows 10 version. However, it is not necessary that you have to update your system to the newest version only. Instead, you can update your device to the other stable version. For example, if you are currently on Windows 10 1903 and now forced to move away from it because of the end of support, you may update it to version 1909 or 2004 instead of the latest Windows 10 20H2.
However, when you click on the “Check for Updates” setting, you will always get the option to install the latest Windows 10 version only.
Suppose you want to install a particular Windows 10 update, not necessarily the latest one. In that case, you can do that again by configuring the same Group Policy setting, which was edited in the previous section.
- Launch the Group Policy Editor.
- Navigate to Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update -> Windows Update for Business.
- Double-click on the “Select the target Feature Update version” setting to configure it.
- Now, here you can type the version which you want to install, let’s say 2004.
- Click on OK and Apply to finish the configuration.
After applying the settings, restart the system. Microsoft will now provide you update till the version you have set, in this case, 2004. Also, note that you won’t be able to downgrade your system with this method. For example, if you are on Windows 10 1903, you won’t be able to switch to version 1809. For that, you require the ISO file of Windows 10 version 1809, create a bootable media, and then install it.
How to perform the above functions using Registry Editor?
Windows 10 Home edition users cannot apply the above two methods as Group Policy Editor is unavailable to them. However, both the above functions can be performed using the registry editor too.
Here is how you can do that.
- On the Windows search bar, type regedit and launch the Registry Editor
- Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate
- Now right-click on the WindowsUpdate folder and select New->DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Name it “TargetReleaseVersion” and set its Value data as 1.
- Again right-click on the WindowsUpdate folder and choose New->String Value.
- Name the string “TargetReleaseVersionInfo” and set the value to the desired Windows 10 version you want to remain on or update to. For example, if your current version is 1903 and you want to stay on it, then set the value to 1909. If you want to upgrade to version 2004, then set the value to 2004.
- Click OK and exit the editor.
- Restart the system.
That is it. The Windows 10 will now remain or updated to your desired version. Again, if you are on version 1903, you can’t go back to 1809 using this setting.
Though Windows 10 feature updates are primarily for adding new features and improve system performance, they can be frustrating, and sometimes users are forced to install them. But not anymore. Using this guide, you have successfully learned how to control the Windows 10 feature updates. Now, you can wait to install the latest update until it becomes stable and error-free. You can also remain on the same Windows 10 version till its end of support without continuously getting prompted to update.
Peter is an Electrical Engineer whose primary interest is tinkering with his computer. He is passionate about Windows 10 Platform and enjoys writing tips and tutorials about it.