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).

1809 sac 300 15Woody Leonhard/IDG

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.