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New Microsoft tool will hide or block unwanted Windows 10 updates
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New Microsoft tool will hide or block unwanted Windows 10 updates

Mandatory updates are a promising prospect for keeping the world free of systems full of known holes, but should people be given the choice to select which updates get installed, and when?

Windows 10. Image courtesy of Microsoft Blog.

Ever since the Windows 10 Insider Preview came out, people have been griping about mandatory updates in Microsoft’s new operating system.

Windows 10 Home offers no way to block security updates and new features, while even the Pro edition gives users only limited control over updates.

Yes, you could see the allure of the brave, new, more secure world promised by mandatory updates: one in which the majority of computer systems are not days, weeks, months or even years behind fixing holes that crooks already know how to exploit, as Sophos Security Chet Chat presenter Chester Wisniewski and Naked Security’s Paul Ducklin discussed last month [at time 6’39”]:


(Audio player above not working? Download MP3 or listen on Soundcloud.)

But as cozy and safe as such a world might seem, plenty of people have, for good reason, feared the loss of choosing what and when to update, given how huge and cumbersome Windows updates can be; how they can render an OS unavailable, particularly with slow internet connections; and how they’re known to break things.

Havoc-inducing Microsoft updates in the past year have included KB3033929, the PowerPoint-killing patch, and KB3004394 – the update to fix an old update that ended up breaking a new update.

Likewise, ZDNet’s Ed Bott picked up on some complaints this week that an updated Nvidia driver was causing havoc with Windows 10 testers’ systems.

One such complaint, from a longtime Windows tester who flagged Microsoft’s Gabe Aul – the head of the Windows Insider program – about his problem:

Well, relief from being forced to update in Windows 10 may be at hand.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft has released an optional download that lets you hide or block any update for Windows or a hardware driver.

Bott reports that when Windows 10 arrives this week, Windows Update won’t include the option of opting out of mandatory updates, but there’s a hidden Microsoft troubleshooting package, KB3073930, that allows users to hide or block Windows Updates and driver updates.

Microsoft acknowledges that “in rare cases”, a specific driver or update might temporarily cause problems, and in such cases users need a way to prevent the problematic driver or update from reinstalling automatically the next time Windows Updates are installed.

The link to the tool above will take you to instructions on how to prevent the unwanted driver or update from being installed.

Image of Windows 10 courtesy of Windows Blog.


Not being one whose next meal/paycheck depends on a MS OS operating properly (retired, no deadlines aside from those of my own making) and trusting that MS will fix any update-caused kerfuffles quickly, I’m not so much concerned with the quality of MS updates but rather with the timing of update installation. If MS were to push a massive update that downloaded at the “wrong” time, it could easily wipe out my daily bandwidth (550MB via HughesNet) and slow the PC down to less-than-dialup speed for 24hrs unless I elected to pay $10 to buy another day’s bandwidth. NOT SATISFACTORY!!!

To avoid this, I customarily download large updates during “Free Time” (2-7AM) that does not count against the daily download limit.

Aside, and off-topic, though related: IME, Apple OS Updates are far more likely to be cripplingly huge than those from MS but, as I now do with MS updates and hope I will continue to be able to do, I wait until the wee small hours to download them.


There is still a major problem with Microsoft’s idea for updating. Some have mentioned the driver updates that are worse or older than the latest supplied by the OEM manufacturer. Some have mentioned the failed ‘updates’ that actually break your system, Some have mentioned the timing problem – you don’t weant an update right in the middle of a mission critical activity, the automatic reboot will cause serious data loss.
I understand how they and Sophos think that automatic updates, at least for critical system elements, leads some to have a ‘safer’ system. But many of us have been using Windows systems since 1995 (and DOS based systems long before that) so we understand about security issues. That means we want to make our own choice of what and when to update or to reject known problematic updates. That option of choice MUST be available in ALL versions of W10.


I feel much the same way about it. I’ve been using (and taking apart and customizing) my OS software since the mid 1980s, so I really want all the options I can have. Plus, if the whole process is invisible, I don’t know if it’s really working! I prefer to see the ongoing process. That gives me much more confidence…


It’s not invisible. Like rain, you know when it’s fallen, even if it was while you were sleeping. You just don’t get to choose exactly when :-)


No you just get to deal with the damage from the hail and the broken tree limbs from the lightning strikes! :P


I’ve been using Windows since 3.0 and I’ve seen lots of bad updates. You should have the opinion of what you want to install. If you don’t want an update you should have that opinion not to get it at all.
Ever since XP, Microsoft have been making Window do more and more things without the users help. It’s like Microsoft wants there OS to do everything for you and that’s fine if you want that. I’m a Sysadmin and so I want to do everything myself.


I ran this because of a faulty printer driver (kept failing) and it looks like it needs to be run from the web page for KB3073930 each time there is a problem. I could not find the app in my programs list. It seemed to work, have not had a problem (at least not that problem) since.


Thanks Microsoft for providing me with another reason to finally switch to Ubuntu, after 25 yrs or so of using MS OSs; but even an obviously slow learner like me has finally seen the light

“Microsoft isn’t evil, they just make really crappy operating systems.”
Linus Torvalds


Good news!, my laptop has a faulty WiFi driver that causes it to blue screen every time it installs, and windows 10 keeps trying to install it. Luckily it hasn’t tried for a while but for me driver updates should have always been able to be blocked for this reason, or alternatively they could just make drivers that work


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