In this article, you will find two primary methods to cancel a pending Windows 11 update. The first approach involves utilizing the Windows Update settings to manage your updates effectively, while the second, more advanced method, requires the use of the Registry Editor to halt the update process.
However, a note of caution is in order. The latter method, which involves making changes to the system registry, should be approached with care. The registry is a critical component of your Windows operating system, and improper modifications can lead to system instability or even render your computer inoperable. We strongly recommend creating a system restore point before attempting any changes to the registry.
Furthermore, you’ll also gain insights into real-world scenarios and difficulties that users have encountered in their efforts to cancel the Windows 11 update. These stories, gathered from the Microsoft Answers site, provide practical examples of challenges that can arise during this process, and how they can be navigated.
Please remember, while it’s generally beneficial to keep your system updated for optimal security and performance, the decision of when and how to update ultimately lies in your hands. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to make this decision confidently.
Pro Tip: Run a dedicated PC optimization tool to get rid of incorrect settings, junk files, harmful apps, and security threats that can cause system issues or slow performance.
The first method to cancel a pending Windows 11 update uses the Windows Update settings built into the operating system. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Open Settings: Click on the “Start” button, and then choose “Settings.”
- Navigate to Windows Update: In the “Settings” window, find and click on “Windows Update” which is usually at the bottom of the list on the left-hand side.
- Pause Updates: In the “Windows Update” section, you’ll find various options related to updates. Look for “Pause updates.” When you click on this option, it will prevent Windows from installing any updates for the next seven days.
- Advanced Options: If you want to pause updates for more than seven days, click on “Advanced options.” In this section, you can choose to pause updates for up to 35 days.
Remember, this method will only pause the updates. If an update is already downloaded and waiting to be installed, you may need to use the second method involving the Registry Editor to stop the installation process. This method should be undertaken with caution due to the sensitive nature of the system registry.
By effectively managing your update settings, you can take control of when and how updates are applied to your system, minimizing interruptions and ensuring your computer is updated at a time that suits you.
Method 1: Using the Registry Editor
The Windows Registry is a database that stores low-level settings for the operating system and certain applications. Modifying the registry can prevent the Windows 11 update from being installed. However, it’s crucial to proceed with caution when making changes to the registry, as missteps can cause system instability.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Open the Registry Editor by right-clicking the Start Menu and selecting “Run”, then typing “regedit” and pressing Enter.
- Navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate(you can copy and paste the address into the address bar).
- On the right side, create a new DWORD (32-bit) named “TargetReleaseVersion” and set its Value Data to 1.
- Create a new String Value named “ProductVersion” and set its Value Data to “Windows 10”.
- Create another String Value named “TargetReleaseVersionInfo” and set its Value Data to “21h2”.
If the Windows Update key doesn’t exist, create it by going to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows, right-clicking, selecting New > Key, and naming it “WindowsUpdate”.
Method 2: Using Windows PowerShell (admin)
- Open Windows PowerShell (admin) by right-clicking Start and selecting it.
- Type “cmd.exe” to open the Command Prompt.
- Paste the following commands to enable Targeted Updates to a specific release:
reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /v TargetReleaseversion /t REG_DWORD /d 1
- Depending on your current Windows 10 version, use either:
reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /v TargetReleaseversionInfo /t REG_SZ /d 21H2 (for version 21H2)
reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /v TargetReleaseversionInfo /t REG_SZ /d 21H1 (for version 21H1)
gpupdate /forcein the same window to trigger the Group Policy. This will set a targeted release version, allowing your Windows 10 to stay on the current release and block the Windows 11 update.
Cancelling a Pending Windows 11 Update
If a Windows 11 update is already pending, you can use the pause feature to delay the update, which is a temporary solution. A more permanent solution would be to use one of the above methods to block the update entirely.
To delete the pending update files, navigate to
C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download and delete all files in this folder. This won’t harm your system, but Windows 11 will start downloading again once you restart the computer. To prevent Windows 11 from automatically downloading again, modify the registry keys as described above.
It’s not uncommon for individuals to face challenges when attempting to cancel a pending Windows 11 update. For instance, one might try to block the automatic update using the Group Policy Editor, specifying a target Windows 10 version to remain on. However, this strategy can prove ineffective if the current Windows 10 version is already out of service. As a workaround, the idea of updating to a supported Windows 10 version before setting it as the target has been suggested.
In some scenarios, the Windows 11 update might have already downloaded, waiting for a system reboot to initiate the installation. Despite applying recommended prevention measures such as using the Group Policy Object (GPO) or modifying the registry, the Windows 11 update might stubbornly remain in the queue. In such cases, additional steps, like stopping the Windows Update Server and the transfer service, are required to halt the installation process.
Interestingly, even after pausing the Windows 11 update, some people still find themselves receiving prompts for the upgrade. This situation can be confusing and frustrating. Pausing the update seems to ‘freeze’ the state of Windows Update, misleadingly signaling an impending upgrade to Windows 11, despite the user’s efforts to prevent it.
These instances reflect the complexities and challenges one may encounter when trying to cancel or postpone a pending Windows 11 update. These difficulties underscore the importance of having a thorough understanding of your system and the changes that updates can bring. For more specific details and potential solutions, please consult the official Microsoft Answers site. Remember, it’s always prudent to backup your data and exercise caution when making significant changes to your system.
The process to cancel a Windows 11 update requires administrative rights and a good understanding of system processes. Always ensure that you proceed with caution when modifying system files or the registry, as incorrect changes can lead to system instability.
These methods effectively block the Windows 11 update and maintain your system on Windows 10. However, each version of Windows has a service end date, after which it will no longer receive security updates and support. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep track of this date for your specific Windows 10 version to ensure your system remains secure.
If you’re not comfortable performing these steps, consider seeking professional help. It’s also a good idea to create a system restore point before making any changes to your registry. This will provide a recovery mechanism in case anything goes wrong.
In conclusion, while the automatic Windows 11 update can be postponed or even canceled, it’s essential to understand the implications of doing so. Prioritize your system’s security and stability when making decisions about software updates.
Eli is a seasoned technical writer, content creator, and editor, having spent over a decade working within the tech industry. In her capacity as a senior editor at Softwaretested, Eli focuses on providing accurate, timely content that serves readers' needs. She possesses extensive knowledge of both Windows 10 and Windows 11, drawn from her experience and active participation in the Microsoft community. Outside of her professional pursuits, Eli takes interest in hiking and discovering new places.