If you are a Windows 10 user who has updated to the latest Windows 10 20H2 version, you might have seen a new option under the Windows Update settings by the name View optional updates.
Microsoft has stated that with this optional update page, you can easily download and install the drivers and other monthly preview updates according to your need.
This feature is not the new introduction to Windows. It is actually the callback to Windows 7 feature where optional updates used to be available on a separate window.
This optional update page has great importance since Microsoft has ended the traditional way of updating the drivers from the Device Manager. Now when you try to update a driver from the Device Manager and click on the “Search automatically for drivers” option, Windows will give you the chance to search for updated drivers on Windows Update.
However, the optional updates available on this page are not always helpful. Many users have reported that installing the “offered drivers” have made their system unstable.
Let us discuss more on what types of updates do Windows 10 Optional Updates offer and further what harm these updates can cause.
Types of Optional Updates
When you click on the “View optional update” link, you will get multiple types of updates. Here is the list for that.
Type 1: Driver Updates
As mentioned earlier, since the driver updating option is no more available on the Device Manager, the optional update page provides you with that opportunity now. If you expand the driver update option on the page, you will get a list of all the available drivers. Tick the drivers you want to install and click on Download and install.
However, you must avoid installing drivers from here. I will soon tell you why.
Type 2: Quality Update
The second type of optional update is Quality Update. Microsoft rolls out these updates for fixing minor bugs, non-security issues, and stability issues. These DON’T include the security patches. If your system is running smoothly without any instability, you don’t require to download and install the Quality Updates.
Type 3: Feature Updates and Insider Preview
From Windows 10 version 2004 and onwards, the optional updates will also include the upcoming feature update and Insider Previews. This is a welcome change as now Microsoft does not force the feature updates to users like before. It would now only force install the Windows updates when the current version comes to the point of end-of-support.
Why should I avoid Windows 10 Optional Updates?
Till now, the optional updates seem an excellent feature for Windows 10 system. You get all the driver and other updates all under a single window, and you can choose to install whatever you want. However, practically installing these optional updates are causing more trouble rather than solving the current ones.
Installing the driver updates from this page can make your system unstable. It is clearly mentioned under the update name that installing this update can solve the specific problem; otherwise, drivers are updated with the automatic updates.
This clearly means that driver updates available on the optional update page are not meant for everyone. The people who are experiencing some specific issues can install them for the solution. In the above picture, you can see the LG Monitor Driver is available for my system. But the fact is, I have an HP laptop and no external LG monitor screen. The LG Monitor Driver update might be available for users experiencing some issue with their LG monitor.
Similarly, in the case of optional Quality and Feature updates, it is recommended not to install them right after their release. Microsoft would eventually push the Quality Updates to your system with regular automatic updates.
As far as, feature update is concerned, it is advised to wait for at least six months before installing them on your system. Installing the feature update just after its release might be risky as it can bring untested features and bugs. You can avoid the new feature update till the current version of your Windows 10 reaches end-of-support.
From where can I update Drivers if not from Optional Updates?
As mentioned in the previous section, the drivers available on the optional update window might not even be required by your system. However, sometimes you might face some issues and want to update your drivers to fix that. The best way to update the drivers is by visiting the manufacturer’s official website and look for the updates there. You can also follow the verified forums that would notify and provide you a way for updating the drivers.
However, if you don’t want to manually take the hassle, there are many driver updating applications available that can automatically update the drivers whenever a new version is available.
Finally, I would summarize when and when not to go for Windows 10 optional updates:
- If your Windows 10 system is working perfectly, you don’t need to worry about driver updates or quality updates, as you will eventually get them through regular automatic updates. So, avoid optional updates in this case. If the case is otherwise, then try the optional driver updates.
- If you are a tech enthusiast and love experimenting with your Windows 10 machine, you can go for the Optional Updates, assuming that you know how to handle things if something goes wrong.
You should only install optional updates on your Windows 10 system when you are experiencing a specific problem, and a driver update is available for that. In normal cases, it is recommended not to install the optional Windows 10 updates.
You can avoid any Windows 10 feature update until your current version reaches the end of support. After that, Windows will forcefully install the latest feature 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.