Windows Update for Business: details, details

Here’s something many Windows 10 users may not know: If you select options to control your updates in the local group policy settings better known as “Windows Update for Business,” you end up controlling optional updates. And what if you are not necessarily a “business” user? What options do you have?


The little secret about “Windows Update for Business” is that it’s nothing more than a set of registry keys and local group policy settings that allow you to better control updates. And you don’t have to work for a business to utilize these settings, though it helps if you’re running Windows 10 Professional.

(For users of Windows 10 Home, many of these settings work, but it’s not as easy to set them — and you have to rely on registry settings that can be cumbersome to install. That’s why I urge you to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Professional. The process is easy and does not affect your programs or data. You can purchase a valid product key online, or do it from inside the operating system.)

Upgrading to Professional exposes the full ability to control updates. Often, people refer to this as the “patching tax.” While you may already know the metered network trick to keep updates from being installed (because Microsoft thinks that it will cost you money on a cellular connection), the Windows Update for Business options allow you to fine tune what your machine gets offered.

And for those of you that want to control updates using a server or cloud control tool such as Intune, Microsoft recently posted an online learning module; it helps explain the options you have for controlling your selections from a centralized location. For users that have no network other than peer to peer, you can simply make the settings on a machine-by-machine basis.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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