Windows 10: update curiosities

[German]Windows 10 comes with some Windows Update curiosities. It makes a difference whether updates are offered automatically or whether they are obtained via update search. And you can also deactivate the search for updates button.


Don't search for Windows 10 Updates!

I was aware of, but didn't discuss it here within my blogs: But in December 2018 Chris Hoffman from had written an article about a curiosity.

The beef is that Windows 10 automatically checks for updates, downloads them and then offers them for installation. With this automatic update search, only important updates are found and offered (see following figure from a German Windows 10).

In Windows 10 Home you can't control, when and what update will be installed. But a user can also check for updates in the Windows 10 Update & security settings category Windows Update. To do this, click the Check for Updates button (shown below).


Windows 10: Update search

Windows 10 starts a search for pending updates. This search finds important updates, as well as optional updates provided by Microsoft as previews or early feature updates, and offers them for installation.

The problem with this approach

For Windows 10 V1809 (October 2018 update), 'experienced' users were able to install this version early via an update search. The consequences are known: Numerous users ran into serious issues, so that Microsoft suspended this functional update and only released it again after weeks.

Chris Hoffman had published this article at, which says: If users click on the update search, they endanger the stability of Windows 10. Hoffman's claim was based on a blog post by Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President for Windows at Microsoft. Fortin explained that there are security and quality updates from Microsoft for Windows 10 and discusses update types.

Security updates that are delivered on the 2nd Tuesday of the month (Patchday) are so-called B release updates. These are found by the automatic update search. However, there are also optional updates, which are rolled out as C and D releases in the third and fourth week. According to Fortin, these are updates that are delivered to commercial corporate users and 'advanced' users when searching for updates.

We also release optional updates in the third and fourth weeks of the month, respectively known as "C" and "D" releases. These are validated, production-quality optional releases, primarily for commercial customers and advanced users "seeking" updates. These updates have only non-security fixes. The intent of these releases is to provide visibility into, and enable testing of, the non-security fixes that will be included in the next Update Tuesday release.

The above text snippet from this blog post shows the problem: The C- and D-Releases updates, which are found during an update search, should give experienced users and enterprise administrators the possibility to test preview updates. These updates will be shipped within the following month's the regular security update, which is automatically found and installed. So

If you use the update search to search for new updates, you are at risk to run into trouble. Whenever Microsoft delivers faulty updates, people who use the search for updates will run into issues. Here in the blog there are some documented cases (e.g. BlueScreens at Surface Book 2 through updates). If you let Windows 10 do its work, you won't see these updates. Microsoft often fixed the bugs, before shipping an update at the 'next months' patchday.

Tip: Disable Update search

German blog reader Markus K. (thanks for that) had me already alerted me in October 2018 with a short message I found the following interesting link … Finally one seems to be able to actually stop the update search! I'm sure you're looking forward to this Japanese Microsoft website (deleted) with a blog post by the Microsoft WSUS team. The post is about the manual update search in Windows 10, which can be triggered in the settings (see above explanations). The message of the article:

If the updates are distributed via WSUS, the update search also triggers the download of optional updates. Now there may be a desire in an organization to prevent this manual update search via group policy. This can be done in the Group Policy Editor within the branch:

Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update

There you have to activate the policy Remove Access to All Windows Update Features. Under Windows 10 Home, the Registry Editor could be used with administrative permissions to set a DWORD value. Navigate to the following key:


and set the DWORD 32 bit value SetDisableUXWUAccess to 1, to activate the policy. Then the Check for Updates button is blocked and is no longer available for users.

Windows 10: blocked update search

It looks then similar to the (German) screenshot above. The user is notified that this option is 'managed by your organization' – it is disabled by Group Policy.

User complaint: Windows update doesn't find everything

A few days ago blog reader Marco M. contacted me with an observation about the Windows 10 update and asked if I knew of the following 'anomaly'.

Maybe you've noticed something similar about yourself before. Detached whether VM, fat client, same subnet / gateway, 1803, 1809, Windows 10 Pro/Home, with / without domain / standard update GPO etc.

The system has been running for days or has just started. In the update settings page it says, "last searched at XX o'clock – you are up to date".

This can be already 5 minutes ago or 1-2 hours ago. If you manually let Windows 10 search for updates again, updates will be found and installed.

What could be the reason for this? Do you already have similar experiences?

I had mentioned the problem of B, C and D updates described above within my answer and claim C and D updates, that will be found during a manual update search. Marco M answered:

In fact, these could be optional updates. If the definition of waves is similar to how smartphone updates distribute which OTA (one gets it now, the other later), I agree.

But then Marco mentioned that he has different systems that will probably find different updates. Marco wrote:

The behavior occurs, for example, in two systems, identical in hardware. Same subnet, identical gateway.

So if two Windows 10 systems find different updates during the search, it will be difficult to explain- the above remarks are no longer fit. And different hardware that could explain the different updates does not apply to 'identical machines' either.

Another observed problem

Marco described  in a follow-up mail another problem in Windows domains, which might be interesting for domain admins.

When we talk about updates, I still have another observation, which is located within a Windows domain. .

In Win7 Pro the update distribution was reliable. 2016 Domain – current GPOs (newly created with 2016) – current 2016 WSUS Server

Update settings

The systems automatically checked for [updates] at intervals – [and] downloaded those. In the start menu there was the info "Restart and install" or "Shutdown and install". With Windows 10 it doesn't work anymore. The display remains unchanged (see below).

Start menu shudown options

First you have to set the options to search for updates via Settings -> Update and Security. Then the user gets the possibility as described above. I've set the GPO as shown below, without success.

Update GPO settings

The last option is to define "Install daily – 12 o'clock" all updates.

Update settings (GPO)

It is unfortunate that with some Outlook updates the system need to be restarted because (in combination [with] Exchange) the information store (.ost file) is not available.

Unfortunately, our employees are not happy about system updates with associated restarts.

Until now the "Install & Shutdown" at the end of the day was the best solution. January 2020 is approaching and Windows 10 is becoming more and more a topic.

What is your opinion about that issues? Can you confirm what Marco wrote? Are there other GPOs that could be used? Addendum: Marco also has send my this Technet forum post, where the issues has also been discussed.

Similar articles:
Windows 10 V1809: Available via update search
Surface Book 2: Update KB4467682 causes blue screens …

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