Windows Optional Updates to Be Paused Indefinitely During Coronavirus Pandemic

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft announced yesterday that starting in May it will focus exclusively on security updates to Windows 10. It doesn't plan to release any optional updates to the operating system in that time, and it's not clear when things will return to normal because the decision was prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have been evaluating the public health situation and we understand this is impacting our customers," Microsoft said in a knowledge base article. In response to these challenges we are prioritizing our focus on security updates." The vendor added that it's "pausing all optional non-security releases" for all supported versions of Windows.

Microsoft said that "there is no change to the monthly security updates" typically released on Patch Tuesday and that "these will continue as planned to ensure business continuity and to keep our customers protected and productive." (Which optional Windows 10 updates have made rather challenging in recent months.)

Microsoft previously announced that it would continue releasing security updates for Windows 10 version 1709, the Fall Creators Update, until October 13 because of COVID-19. That way, people wouldn't have to worry about updating to a more recent version of Windows 10 on top of everything else going on.

The decision to pause optional updates should have a similar effect. Instead of having to worry about something going wrong with an update, Windows 10 users should just be able to continue using their systems as usual. Provided, of course, that the security updates don't cause problems of their own during this time.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • bit_user
    This is proof that MS is doing things with updates that they shouldn't, and they know it.

    They need to let users decide when they want to add functionality by upgrading to a newer "build".
  • hotaru251
    windows updates is the corona virus of the pc world e_e

    1 "improvement" breaks multiple other things.
  • CerianK
    As long as they keep releasing fixes for their updates, I think we will be ok.
    I made the mistake of updating a month ago and RDP kept freezing for up to 30 seconds at a time.
    Luckily another round of updates and all was well again... and needed to be so, since it is all about RDP for many of us right now.
  • doctorp
    i got optional update today, 2020-03 cumulative update 1909 x64 (KB4541335)
  • BobHl
    Sigh, too late. A windows update bonked my computer. Now running Elementary OS, first through USB then installed as primary OS. IF it weren't for office and a few of my games, I'd stay here. Boots fast. Hangs sometimes. But more even in terms of performance. Might try Manjaro; want something a little more game friendly. It won't work with my 1050 in the laptop.