How do I block Microsoft from downloading into my computer?

It happened again. Microsoft dumped another load of unwanted crap in my computer. And then it shut down my computer without asking so it could launch all of this crap. And it produced the usual result; I’m now finding programs that I chose to install no longer run because Windows decided to shut them down.

Is there any way to stop this? Can I block all Microsoft downloads on to my computer? Is there a virus protection program I can install that will block Microsoft? I’d prefer to continue using Windows but I’m getting to the point where I’m thinking seriously about dumping Windows entirely and switching over to Linux. But I really don’t want to do that. And with Microsoft, I’m not sure it would even work. Would they keep installing updates anyway and disabling a Linux system?

There are a few ways to do this.

I’ll preface it by saying that BY FAR the best way to do things is to regularly check for updates and install them yourself when you know it’s safe, so that programs are not forcibly closed, etc. However, I understand the frustration you feel, so…

The best way is to set your internet adapter to be a metered connection. Microsoft won’t download any updates except the most critical fixes over this type of connection. Click start, go to “Settings” and then select Network and Internet. Depending on if you are using Ethernet (network cable plug) or WiFi, choose one from the left side.
If you choose “Ethernet” you will see your ethernet adapters. Click one, select properties, and then switch it to a metered connection. IF you choose “Wi-Fi” you will then need to choose “Manage Known Networks” and choose the one you use, select properties, and set it to a metered connection. If you connect to another WiFi, it won’t think it is metered by default and may download the updates, just FYI.

Alternately, you can get some sort of hardware or software firewall (even Windows Firewall will work, I suspect) and block all traffic from * and * Now, this is a BAD IDEA. The reason is because IF windows update manages to start before your firewall does, then you could have to deal with a “Stalled update” and those can be a tremendous pain in the ass. Any other hacks to stop it are even worse than this, so don’t use them.

Your only other option would be to get a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise edition, which has some functionality that will allow you to prevent updates. It’s $84 a year, I think.

Did you turn off automatic updates via the control panel (also see here, also there are other hacks)? Updates should not affect your Linux system, though to be really sure you could run Windows in a virtual environment so it can’t access your Linux files directly.

Is it possible to postpone these updates forever? My experience has been that Windows will eventually decide you really need these updates and will just override your setting.

Pretty much ransomware, isn’t it? I’d be paying Microsoft not to download viruses into my computer. Because Windows updates are viruses; they’re software that’s being downloaded into my computer without my permission that’s causing me problems.

I refuse to use anything but the Pro version of Windows 10 for this very reason, where you can tell it to only download updates but not install them.

However, what Microsoft expects you to do is set a time of day when you don’t use your computer, and to make sure you’ve closed all programs. Why they can’t figure out that many people don’t use their computers that way is ridiculous.

What I recommend for anyone is following the guide here, and pausing updates, then wait for them to be marked as MS-DEFCON 3 or higher per this site:

It’s not as good as Pro’s ability to just not download the updates until you’re ready, but it tends to resolve problems. Just make sure you never Resume updates until you’re ready for your computer to restart–i.e. you’ve shut down all programs.

Oh and block any of the feature updates. They’re the ones that screw things up the most. Only get them when their stable–usually somewhere from 6 months to a year after release.

Yeah, it’s annoying. But it’s what Microsoft left us with due to firing their bug testing staff.

There is no switch to postpone them forever, but setting a metered connection will only download critical fixes that are in response to exploits, so you should be safe from interruptions that cause issues with your applications.

From the Home and even Pro editions of Windows, you can only pause updates (not even sure you can pause them on Home edition) and you can pause them for 7 days a ta time. At some point, I think MS says “oh no you don’t” and forces you to install them anyhow. Only enterprise edition allows you to permanently delay them, I think.

You could try downloading and running wushowhide.diagcab.

I learned weaning off the Microsoft teat was the right way for me long ago. Is there some specific reason you fear the open-source computing world?

It’s not fear. It is, if you’ll pardon the appropriation, mild annoyance.

Some people enjoy learning about computer programming, either professionally or recreationally. That’s great for them. But people need to understand that not everyone shares their enthusiasm.

I have spent just enough time in computer programs to know that it is a subject that holds no enjoyment for me. So I will not enjoy it if I am forced by circumstances to spend time learning how Linux works. I will begrudge every hour I have to spend doing that instead of doing something I would have enjoyed.

I’m afraid the only real/best answer to your question (Linux) is not on the table. Sounds like your software safety enjoyment zone is arbitrarily limited to include only M$ update downloads.

(Aside) I’ll never forget the time our team prepped for a presentation to one of the big wigs. Everything was perfect, checked and double checked as people gathered in the conference room. Boss walked in, meeting started, chit-chat, yada yada. After about 5 minutes everyone was staring at the big screen watching the download… proceeding… achingly… slowly… Poor IT guy’s face turned 6 shades of red whipping out his laptop, fumbling with wires. Don’t miss those days.

I tried Linux and liked a lot of it but the lack of drag and drop between file windows is annoying, couldn’t figure out how to tell the trackpad to keep holding something I was dragging if I had to reposition my finger on the pad and the networking between computers was a bit of a nightmare that I just couldn’t block out enough time to figure out. Also, trying to get a straight answer to a “how do I…” question from the open source community that didn’t involve a shit ton of impenetrable jargon and that didn’t start from about twenty seven steps ahead of my learning curve gave me headaches. I also have to run a couple apps that will only work on WinBloze and REALLY didn’t want to have to fuck around with a dual boot or emulator just for that, given the apps are already buggy enough on their own with basically zero end user support available. I’ll probably try again but man, that was definitely a learning curve to start from zero with.

The real question, to me, is why do they force updates at all? If I’m satisfied with how v1 is working for me in my computer, and if I’m will to accept the vulnerability to exploits, why should I have to change that?

Because Microsoft’s position is that they own every copy of Windows 10 in perpetuity and you the mark schlub user only rented it.

(This is not a defense of Microsoft, I hope it’s needless to say.)

But why does microsoft care whether some poor mark schlub user has an unupdated version of windows running on their home computer? Will the rest of the computers be jealous of my retro chic one? Does it hurt Gates’ (or Nadella’s or whoever’s) feelings? What’s their benefit except for domination?

I wasn’t attacking you. My point is exactly that they don’t care. From their viewpoint, they’re only maintaining their property, and what users want doesn’t matter. They’re not issuing updates for your benefit, but for theirs.

That’s my question. How does updating my comp benefit them?

Again, from their viewpoint, they’re not updating your computer, they’re maintaining their Windows 10 software. As to how Microsoft benefits, why does any manufacturer maintain or improve their products? I can’t explain it any better than that.

I get what you’re saying, but maybe I’m not asking the right question. At work, I have three separate systems running on three different versions of windows; XP, 7, and 10. If microsoft deems it “necessary” to update it’s product in order for it to run properly. How is it that these older versions are still operating smoothly? And I’m able to communicate between the different systems with no problems. Why is having an older version of w10 not ok but XP is?

I understand updating their product. I don’t understand updating my copy of their product, even if I don’t own it.