Configure Windows Update for Business

Applies to

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 Mobile

Looking for consumer information? See Windows Update: FAQ

Important

Due to naming changes, older terms like CB,CBB and LTSB may still be displayed in some of our products.

In the following settings CB refers to Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted), while CBB refers to Semi-Annual Channel.

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 Telemetry 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 telemetry 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 Current Branch (CB) or Current Branch for Business (CBB)

With Windows Update for Business, you can set a device to be on either the Current Branch (CB) or the Current Branch for Business (CBB) 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 version 1607 and above:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Feature Updates are received
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\BranchReadinessLevel
GPO for version 1511:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Upgrades and Updates
\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DeferUpgrade
MDM for version 1607 and above:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
BranchReadinessLevel
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\BranchReadinessLevel
MDM for version 1511:
../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/
RequireDeferUpgrade
\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Update\RequireDeferUpgrade

Starting with version 1703, users are able to configure their device's branch readiness level, by going to 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 (CB or CBB), 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

This policy does not apply to Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.

You can only defer up to 180 days prior to version 1703.

Examples

Settings Scenario and behavior
Device is on CB
DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays=30
Feature Update X is first publically available on Windows Update as a CB in January. Device will not receive update until February, 30 days later.
Device is on CBB
DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays=30
Feature Update X is first publically available on Windows Update as a CB in January. Four months later, in April, Feature Update X is released to CBB. Device will receive the Feature Update 30 days following this CBB release and will update in May.


Defer Feature Updates policies

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

Note

If not configured by policy, users can defer feature updates, by going to 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, pause functionality will automatically expire and the device will scan Windows Update for applicable Feature Updates. Following this scan, Feature Updates for the device can then be paused again.

Starting with version 1703, when configuring pause through policy, a start date has to be set from which the pause begins. The pause period will be calculated by adding 35 days to the start date.

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

Important

This policy does not apply to Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.

Prior to Windows 10, version 1703, feature updates could be paused by up to 60 days. This number has been changed to 35, similar to the number of days for quality updates.

Pause Feature Updates policies

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

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

The local group policy editor (GPEdit.msc) will not reflect if your Feature Update Pause period has expired. Although the device will resume Feature Updates after 35 days automatically, the pause checkbox will remain checked in the policy editor. To see if a device has auto-resumed taking Feature Updates, you can check the status registry key PausedFeatureStatus under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UpdatePolicy\Settings.

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, users can pause feature updates, by going to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.

With version 1703, pausing through the settings app will provide a more consistent experience:

  • 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 Quality Updates

Quality Updates are typically published the first Tuesday of every month, though can be released at any time by Microsoft. 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 this is done, 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.

Defer Quality Updates policies

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

Note

If not configured by policy, users can defer quality updates, by going to 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, pause functionality will automatically expire and the system will scan Windows Updates for applicable Quality Updates. Following this scan, Quality Updates for the device can then be paused again.

Starting with version 1703, when configuring pause through policy, a start date has to be set from which the pause begins. The pause period will be calculated by adding 35 days to the start date.

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

Important

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

Pause Quality Updates policies

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

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

The local group policy editor (GPEdit.msc) will not reflect if your Quality Update Pause period has expired. Although the device will resume Quality Updates after 35 days automatically, the pause checkbox will remain checked in the policy editor. To see if a device has auto-resumed taking Quality Updates, you can check the status registry key PausedQualityStatus under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UpdatePolicy\Settings.

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, users can pause quality updates, by going to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.

With version 1703, pausing through the settings app will provide a more consistent experience:

  • 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

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

In Windows 10, starting with version 1607, you can selectively option out of receiving driver update packages as part of your normal quality update cycle. This policy will not pertain to updates to inbox drivers (which will be packaged within a security or critical update) or to Feature Updates, where drivers may be dynamically installed to ensure the Feature Update process can complete.

Exclude driver policies

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

Summary: MDM and Group Policy for version 1703

Below are quick-reference tables of the supported Windows Update for Business policy values for Windows 10, version 1607 and above.

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 the Windows Update for Business feature set, 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 to what's available in version 1607. However, Windows Update for Business clients running version 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, it should be noted that 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 client running a newer version sees an update available on Windows Update, the client will first evaluate and execute against the Windows Updates for Business policy keys for it's version. If these are not present, it will then check to see if any of the older version keys are set and defer accordingly. Update keys for newer versions will always supersede the older equivalent.

Comparing the version 1511 keys to the version 1607 keys

In the Windows Update for Business policies in version 1511, all the deferral rules were grouped under a single policy where pausing affected both upgrades and updates. In Windows 10, version 1607, this functionality has been broken out into separate polices: deferral of Feature and Quality Updates can be enabled and paused independently of one other.

Group Policy keys
Version 1511 GPO keysVersion 1607 GPO keys
DeferUpgrade: enable/disable
Enabling allows user to set deferral periods for upgrades and updates. It also puts the device on CBB (no ability to defer updates while on the CB branch).

DeferUpgradePeriod: 0 - 8 months

DeferUpdatePeriod: 1 – 4 weeks

Pause: enable/disable
Enabling will pause both upgrades and updates for a max of 35 days
DeferFeatureUpdates: enable/disable
BranchReadinessLevel
Set device on CB or CBB
DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays: 1 - 180 days

PauseFeatureUpdates: enable/disable
Enabling will pause Feature updates for a max of 60 days
DeferQualityUpdates: Enable/disable

DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodinDays: 0 - 35 days

PauseQualityUpdates: enable/disable
Enabling will pause Quality updates for a max of 35 days
ExcludeWUDrivers: enable/disable
MDM keys
Version 1511 MDM keysVersion 1607 MDM keys
RequireDeferUpgade: bool
Puts the device on CBB (no ability to defer updates while on the CB branch).

DeferUpgradePeriod: 0 - 8 months

DeferUpdatePeriod: 1 – 4 weeks

PauseDeferrals: bool
Enabling will pause both upgrades and updates for a max of 35 days
BranchReadinessLevel
Set system on CB or CBB

DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodinDays: 1 - 180 days

PauseFeatureUpdates: enable/disable
Enabling will pause Feature updates for a max of 60 days
DeferQualityUpdatesPeriodinDays: 0 - 35 days

PauseQualityUpdates: enable/disable
Enabling will pause Quality updates for a max of 35 days
ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate: enable/disable

Comparing the version 1607 keys to the version 1703 keys

Version 1607 key Version 1703 key
PauseFeatureUpdates PauseFeatureUpdatesStartTime
PauseQualityUpdates PauseQualityUpdatesStartTime