Configure Windows Update for Business

Applies to

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 Mobile

Looking for consumer information? See Windows Update: FAQ

You can use Group Policy or your mobile device management (MDM) service to configure Windows Update for Business settings for your devices. The sections in this topic provide the Group Policy and MDM policies for Windows 10, version 1511 and above. The MDM policies use the OMA-URI setting from the Policy CSP.

Important

For Windows Update for Business policies to be honored, the diagnostic data level of the device must be set to 1 (Basic) or higher. If it is set to 0 (Security), Windows Update for Business policies will have no effect. For instructions, see Configure the operating system diagnostic data level.

Some Windows Update for Business policies are not applicable or behave differently for devices running Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise. Specifically, policies pertaining to Feature Updates will not be applied to Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise. All Windows 10 Mobile updates are recognized as Quality Updates, and can only be deferred or paused using the Quality Update policy settings. Additional information is provided in this topic and in Deploy updates for Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise and Windows 10 IoT Mobile.

Start by grouping devices

By grouping devices with similar deferral periods, administrators are able to cluster devices into deployment or validation groups which can be as a quality control measure as updates are deployed in Windows 10. With deferral windows and the ability to pause updates, administrators can effectively control and measure update deployments, updating a small pool of devices first to verify quality, prior to a broader roll-out to their organization. For more information, see Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates.

Tip

In addition to setting up multiple rings for your update deployments, also incorporate devices enrolled in the Windows Insider Program as part of your deployment strategy. This will provide you the chance to not only evaluate new features before they are broadly available to the public, but it also increases the lead time to provide feedback and influence Microsoft’s design on functional aspects of the product. For more information on Windows Insider program, see https://insider.windows.com/.

Configure devices for the appropriate service channel

With Windows Update for Business, you can set a device to be on either Windows Insider Preview or the Semi-Annual Channel servicing branch. For more information on this servicing model, see Windows 10 servicing options.

Release branch policies

Policy Sets registry key under HKLM\Software
GPO for Windows 10, version 1607 or later:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Feature Updates are received
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\BranchReadinessLevel
GPO for Windows 10, version 1511:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Upgrades and Updates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferUpgrade
MDM for Windows 10, version 1607 or later:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
BranchReadinessLevel
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\BranchReadinessLevel
MDM for Windows 10, version 1511:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
RequireDeferUpgrade
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\RequireDeferUpgrade

Starting with Windows 10, version 1703, users can configure the branch readiness level for their device by using Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.

Branch readiness level setting

Note

Users will not be able to change this setting if it was configured by policy.

Configure when devices receive feature updates

After you configure the servicing branch (Windows Insider Preview or Semi-Annual Channel), you can then define if, and for how long, you would like to defer receiving Feature Updates following their availability from Microsoft on Windows Update. You can defer receiving these Feature Updates for a period of up to 365 days from their release by setting the DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays value.

Important

You can only defer up to 180 days on devices running Windows 10, version 1703.

For example, a device on the Semi-Annual Channel with DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays=30 will not install a feature update that is first publicly available on Windows Update in September until 30 days later, in October.


Policy settings for deferring feature updates

Policy Sets registry key under HKLM\Software
GPO for Windows 10, version 1607 later:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Feature Updates are received
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferFeatureUpdates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodInDays
GPO for Windows 10, version 1511:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Upgrades and Updates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferUpgradePeriod
MDM for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodInDays
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodInDays
MDM for Windows 10, version 1511:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
DeferUpgrade
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\RequireDeferUpgrade

Note

If not configured by policy, individual users can defer feature updates by using Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.

Pause feature updates

You can also pause a device from receiving Feature Updates by a period of up to 35 days from when the value is set. After 35 days has passed, the pause setting will automatically expire and the device will scan Windows Update for applicable Feature Updates. Following this scan, you can then pause Feature Updates for the device again.

Starting with Windows 10, version 1703, when you configure a pause by using policy, you must set a start date for the pause to begin. The pause period is calculated by adding 35 days to this start date.

In cases where the pause policy is first applied after the configured start date has passed, you can extend the pause period up to a total of 35 days by configuring a later start date.

Important

In Windows 10, version 1703 and later versions, you can pause feature updates to 35 days, similar to the number of days for quality updates.

Policy settings for pausing feature updates

Policy Sets registry key under HKLM\Software
GPO for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Feature Updates are received
1607: \Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\PauseFeatureUpdates
1703 and later: \Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\PauseFeatureUpdatesStartDate
GPO for Windows 10, version 1511:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Upgrades and Updates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\Pause
MDM for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
PauseFeatureUpdates
1607: \Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\PauseFeatureUpdates
1703 and later: \Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\PauseFeatureUpdatesStartDate
MDM for Windows 10, version 1511:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
DeferUpgrade
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\Pause

You can check the date that Feature Updates were paused by checking the registry key PausedFeatureDate under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UpdatePolicy\Settings.

The local group policy editor (GPEdit.msc) will not reflect whether the Feature Update pause period has expired. Although the device will resume Feature Updates after 35 days automatically, the pause checkbox will remain selected in the policy editor. To check whether a device has automatically resumed taking Feature Updates, check the status registry key PausedFeatureStatus under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UpdatePolicy\Settings for the following values:

Value Status
0 Feature Updates not paused
1 Feature Updates paused
2 Feature Updates have auto-resumed after being paused

Note

If not configured by policy, individual users can pause feature updates by using Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.

Starting with Windows 10, version 1703, using Settings to control the pause behavior provides a more consistent experience, specifically:

  • Any active restart notification are cleared or closed.
  • Any pending restarts are canceled.
  • Any pending update installations are canceled.
  • Any update installation running when pause is activated will attempt to roll back.

Configure when devices receive Quality Updates

Quality Updates are typically published on the first Tuesday of every month, although they can be released at any time. You can define if, and for how long, you would like to defer receiving Quality Updates following their availability. You can defer receiving these Quality Updates for a period of up to 35 days from their release by setting the DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodinDays value.

You can set your system to receive updates for other Microsoft products—known as Microsoft Updates (such as Microsoft Office, Visual Studio)—along with Windows Updates by setting the AllowMUUpdateService policy. When you do this, these Microsoft Updates will follow the same deferral and pause rules as all other Quality Updates.

Important

This policy defers both Feature and Quality Updates on Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.

Policy settings for deferring quality updates

Policy Sets registry key under HKLM\Software
GPO for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Quality Updates are received
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferQualityUpdates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodInDays
GPO for Windows 10, version 1511:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Upgrades and Updates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferUpdatePeriod
MDM for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodInDays
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodInDays
MDM for Windows 10, version 1511:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
DeferUpgrade
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\RequireDeferUpdate

Note

If not configured by policy, individual users can defer quality updates by using Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.

Pause quality updates

You can also pause a system from receiving Quality Updates for a period of up to 35 days from when the value is set. After 35 days has passed, the pause setting will automatically expire and the device will scan Windows Update for applicable quality Updates. Following this scan, you can then pause quality Updates for the device again.

Starting with Windows 10, version 1703, when you configure a pause by using policy, you must set a start date for the pause to begin. The pause period is calculated by adding 35 days to this start date.

In cases where the pause policy is first applied after the configured start date has passed, you can extend the pause period up to a total of 35 days by configuring a later start date.

Note

Starting with Windows 10, version 1809, IT administrators can prevent individual users from pausing updates.

Policy settings for pausing quality updates

Policy Sets registry key under HKLM\Software
GPO for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Quality Updates are received
1607: \Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\PauseQualityUpdates
1703: \Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\PauseQualityUpdatesStartTime
GPO for Windows 10, version 1511:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Upgrades and Updates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\Pause
MDM for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
PauseQualityUpdates
1607: \Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\PauseQualityUpdates
1703: \Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\PauseQualityUpdatesStartTime
MDM for Windows 10, version 1511:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
DeferUpgrade
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\Pause

You can check the date that quality Updates were paused by checking the registry key PausedQualityDate under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UpdatePolicy\Settings.

The local group policy editor (GPEdit.msc) will not reflect whether the quality Update pause period has expired. Although the device will resume quality Updates after 35 days automatically, the pause checkbox will remain selected in the policy editor. To check whether a device has automatically resumed taking quality Updates, check the status registry key PausedQualityStatus under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UpdatePolicy\Settings for the following values:

Value Status
0 Quality Updates not paused
1 Quality Updates paused
2 Quality Updates have auto-resumed after being paused

Note

If not configured by policy, individual users can pause quality updates by using Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.

Starting with Windows 10, version 1703, using Settings to control the pause behavior provides a more consistent experience, specifically:

  • Any active restart notification are cleared or closed
  • Any pending restarts are canceled
  • Any pending update installations are canceled
  • Any update installation running when pause is activated will attempt to rollback

Configure when devices receive Windows Insider Preview builds

Starting with Windows 10, version 1709, you can set policies to manage preview builds and their delivery:

The Manage preview builds setting gives administrators control over enabling or disabling preview build installation on a device. You can also decide to stop preview builds once the release is public.

  • Group Policy: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update/Windows Update for Business - Manage preview builds
  • MDM: Update/ManagePreviewBuilds
  • System Center Configuration Manager: Enable dual scan, manage through Windows Update for Business policy

Important

This policy replaces the "Toggle user control over Insider builds" policy under that is only supported up to Windows 10, version 1703. You can find the older policy here:

  • Group Policy: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Data Collection and Preview Builds/Toggle user control over Insider builds
  • MDM: System/AllowBuildPreview

The policy settings to Select when Feature Updates are received allows you to choose between preview flight rings, and allows you to defer or pause their delivery.

  • Group Policy: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update/ Windows Update for Business - Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received
  • MDM: Update/BranchReadinessLevel

Exclude drivers from Quality Updates

Starting with Windows 10, version 1607, you can selectively opt out of receiving driver update packages as part of your normal quality update cycle. This policy will not apply to updates to drivers provided with the operating system (which will be packaged within a security or critical update) or to Feature Updates, where drivers might be dynamically installed to ensure the Feature Update process can complete.

Policy settings to exclude drivers

Policy Sets registry key under HKLM\Software
GPO for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Do not include drivers with Windows Updates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate
MDM for Windows 10, version 1607 and later:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate

Summary: MDM and Group Policy settings for Windows 10, version 1703 and later

The following are quick-reference tables of the supported policy values for Windows Update for Business in Windows 10, version 1607 and later.

GPO: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

GPO Key Key type Value
BranchReadinessLevel REG_DWORD 16: systems take Feature Updates for the Current Branch (CB)
32: systems take Feature Updates for the Current Branch for Business (CBB)
Note: Other value or absent: receive all applicable updates (CB)
DeferQualityUpdates REG_DWORD 1: defer quality updates
Other value or absent: don’t defer quality updates
DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodinDays REG_DWORD 0-35: defer quality updates by given days
PauseQualityUpdatesStartDate REG_DWORD 1: pause quality updates
Other value or absent: don’t pause quality updates
DeferFeatureUpdates REG_DWORD 1: defer feature updates
Other value or absent: don’t defer feature updates
DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays REG_DWORD 0-365: defer feature updates by given days
PauseFeatureUpdatesStartDate REG_DWORD 1: pause feature updates
Other value or absent: don’t pause feature updates
ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate REG_DWORD 1: exclude Windows Update drivers
Other value or absent: offer Windows Update drivers

MDM: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update

MDM Key Key type Value
BranchReadinessLevel REG_DWORD 16: systems take Feature Updates for the Current Branch (CB)
32: systems take Feature Updates for the Current Branch for Business (CBB)
Note: Other value or absent: receive all applicable updates (CB)
DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodinDays REG_DWORD 0-35: defer quality updates by given days
PauseQualityUpdatesStartDate REG_DWORD 1: pause quality updates
Other value or absent: don’t pause quality updates
DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays REG_DWORD 0-365: defer feature updates by given days
PauseFeatureUpdatesStartDate REG_DWORD 1: pause feature updates
Other value or absent: don’t pause feature updates
ExcludeWUDriversinQualityUpdate REG_DWORD 1: exclude Windows Update drivers
Other value or absent: offer Windows Update drivers

Update devices to newer versions

Due to the changes in Windows Update for Business, Windows 10, version 1607 uses different GPO and MDM keys than those available in version 1511. Windows 10, version 1703 also uses a few GPO and MDM keys that are different from those available in version 1607. However, Windows Update for Business devices running older versions will still see their policies honored after they update to a newer version; the old policy keys will continue to exist with their values ported forward during the update. Following the update to a newer version, only the old keys will be populated and not the new version keys, until the newer keys are explicitly defined on the device by the administrator.

How older version policies are respected on newer versions

When a device running a newer version sees an update available on Windows Update, the device first evaluates and executes the Windows Updates for Business policy keys for its current (newer) version. If these are not present, it then checks whether any of the older version keys are set and defer accordingly. Update keys for newer versions will always supersede the older equivalent.

Comparing keys in Windows 10, version 1607 to Windows 10, version 1703

Version 1607 key Version 1703 key
PauseFeatureUpdates PauseFeatureUpdatesStartTime
PauseQualityUpdates PauseQualityUpdatesStartTime