Managing Windows Update in Windows 10, the Current Branch for Business and the Ability to Prevent your Computer from Restarting for a Week


This guide has a complementary Tutorial Video.

Windows 10 RS2 Build 15063/Version 1703/Creator’s Update

One of the biggest gripes with Windows 10 is that Windows Update and in particular auto-restarts have been far to aggressive. In the lab we quite often run a system overnight for stability tests and want the Computer and Operating System to run stably all night. Others will want to run an intensive simulation or intensive graphics rendering overnight and likewise want their system to remain on and stable all night. Unfortunately with older builds of Windows 10 when Microsoft decided Windows 10 was going to restart it did and we could back to a screen saying “Windows has Restarted to Install Updates” which consequently meant all data measured overnight was lost and/or the measurement was terminated prematurely.

Microsoft has struggled in the battle of keeping all Windows 10 system’s patched and went for the aggressive option which is the best option for the majority of Windows 10 Home users but can be annoying for Windows Power Users such as myself.

The latest build of Windows 10 comes with extended Active Hours, Current Branch for Business (which holds off and applies only updates that have been tested thoroughly) and the means to Pause Updates for a week. However Current Branch for Business and the means to Pause Updates for a Week are Windows 10 Pro/Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Enterprise only features.

Press [Windows] and [ r ] and type in msinfo32:

You will see your Windows Version it should be 1703 and your Build it should be 15063 or later. You can also see if you have Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home:

The first thing you want to do is right click the start button and go to power options:

If you don’t want your PC to shut down at night select “When plugged in, PC goes to sleep after” and change 30 minutes to never:

Next right click the start button and select “Settings”:

Select “Update and Security”:

Here you may “Change the Active Hours”:

The maximum working hours is 18. The default settings are a standard 08:00-17:00 however you may extend these slightly on either side as per your preference:

I changed them from 07:00 to 20:00 on most of my work computers:

While active hours will help they still aren’t perfect. If I need a system to run stably for 24 hours then I need to look at the Advanced Options. Select Advanced Options:

Lets talk about the Windows Update Tracks:

Windows Insider (Fast Track) – 1st tier of testing. This track receives Windows Updates as pre-release beta testers. If these Updates has undesired consequences such as the inability for Windows to Boot they will leave Feedback to Microsoft.

Windows Insider (Slow Track) – 2nd tier of testing. This track receives Windows Updates as pre-release beta testers after the Fast Track has reported most of the bugs. If these Updates continue to have undesired consequences such as the inability for Windows to Boot they will leave Feedback to Microsoft.

Current Branch (Main Track) – The main consumer branch. The updates should have been tested by both the Fast Track and the Slow Track and be refined so the OS is stable and Secure.

Current Branch for Business (Business Track) – Business users still felt that the main consumer branch were like Windows Insiders so Microsoft listened to their feedback and decided to create a 4th tier which is more likely to have an emphasis on Security opposed to newer features. Updates released to this track should in theory be extremely stable.

I’m going to do is to change Current Branch to Current Branch for Business:

Scrolling down I will also have the ability to Pause Updates. I can enable such a setting before my 24 hour overnight measurement to prevent Windows Update from hindering me:

After the measurement is done I can turn the setting off and let Windows Update as normal. This gives me more flexibility but still keeps me more or less patched and is better than the other alternative (to Disable the Ethernet).

The Windows 10 Home has a severe lack of options in Advanced Options. Current Branch for Business and the ability to Pause Updates for a Week is not an option for Windows 10 Home users:

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