The difference between Defer updates, Pause updates and Delay updates — and what happens with Win10 1909
Yes, there’s a difference between Defer updates and Pause updates. But that’s just the tip of the micro-plastic-infused iceberg.
The main sticking point: Win10 still has both concepts floating around, they conflict, and we don’t have any idea how the conflicts are being resolved — a problem that’s going to get worse with the release of Win10 version 1909, which doesn’t follow the Defer, Pause, push, pull or prod rules.
This time the name change — Deferred updates, Paused updates — masks a Gordian knot of settings in various places, with conflicts galore. Be of good cheer. When Microsoft pushes Win10 version 1909 into the mix next month, we have yet another update with a new pedigree.
Here’s where things stand.
If you scroll down the Windows Update Advanced Options pane for Windows 10 Pro versions 1803 or 1809, you see the old Deferral settings (screenshot).
Although you can see the settings right there in black and white, they’ve been kicked under the bus. Back in February, “Semi-Annual Channel” was retroactively defined as “wait an extra 60 days on version upgrades.” Nonetheless, the other two settings — deferral settings — still have effect.
In practice, the meaning of Deferred updates in Advanced Options is reasonably clear:
“Feature update … deferred for this many days” means that Windows Update will refrain from installing a new version of Win10 for the specified number of days after the new version is posted. There’s a little squishiness in the “posted” part — Win10 version 1809 being a case in point, with its horribly botched rollout over different days — and you may have to add 60 days depending on the Channel setting. But, well, Microsoft.
“Quality update … deferred for this many days” means that Windows Update will wait the specified number of days after a cumulative update is pushed before it gets installed. Note in particular that some months — like September — have two pushed cumulative updates. The deferral applies to each…