Microsoft reveals new trick to block Windows 10 feature updates

Windows 10 defer updates

On Windows 10, quality updates download and install
automatically as soon as they’re ready. On the other hand,
feature updates are automatically downloaded only when your
Windows 10 version is reaching the end of the support period.

Starting with Windows 10 version 2004, Microsoft says it has
overhauled the Windows 10 update system and revoked update
deferral feature in the Settings app, which allowed consumers
and businesses to defer feature updates for up to 365 days.

This was quietly announced by Microsoft with a change in its
documentation for power users and IT pros on June 23. Windows
10 May 2020 Update or newer will no longer allow users and
businesses to defer Windows 10 feature update downloads from
the Settings in a bid to “prevent confusion”.

Windows Update defer settings

Microsoft noted that update deferral can still be configured by
advanced users via Group Policy editor.

While the deferral option has been removed from the Settings
app, Microsoft has quietly announced a new policy that you can
use to manage the features updates on Windows.

There’s a new Registry setting that can be configured in
Windows 10 version 1803, 1809, 1903, 1909 and 2004 to select
the version of Windows you want to run. In other words, you can
now modify the Registry and lock your device onto a specific
version of Windows 10.

The trick works until the selected version of Windows 10
remains supported by Microsoft.

The ‘TargetReleaseVersionInfo’ entry in Registry will also
allow users to disable feature update downloads for up to 365
days. If you would prefer to run a specific version of Windows
10 until the version is supported, you can follow these steps
to alter Registry:

  • Open Registry editor via Windows Search or Windows Run.
  • Navigate to
    ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdate’.
  • Right-click on ‘Windows Update’
  • Select ‘New’
  • Select ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’ and name it
    TargetReleaseVersion.
  • Set the value of ‘TargetReleaseVersion’ to 1.
  • Right-click on ‘Windows Update’ folder again.
  • Select ‘New’ and click on ‘String Value’.
    Registry Editor
  • Name it ‘TargetReleaseVersionInfo’ and enter Windows 10
    version number as value.

You can also enable the feature by using an elevated PowerShell
prompt. To defer updates using PowerShell, run the following
command in the given format:

reg add HKLMSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdate
/f /v TargetReleaseVersionInfo /t REG_SZ /d XXXX

In the above format, you need to replace ‘XXXX’ with the
version of Windows 10 that you want to keep using.

PowerShell

The feature could prove useful when the update is being forced
on your device or you have to defer it to prepare your device.
For example, if you’re on version 1903 and you do not want to
upgrade to version 2004, you can enter value ‘1903’ to stay on
1903 or ‘1909’ to get updated to version 1909.

In other words, TargetReleaseVersionInfo is a feature update
chooser, which is a step in the right direction.

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