How can you FORCE Windows 10 to not update


Staff member
I have one Windows 10 system on 1909 that works fine as it is. I tried updating to 20H2 and it killed my analog capture card - half the ports weren't recognized and the others ran at like a third of the right framerate - so I reverted. Then good ol Windows tried to push the update anyways, so I went through some online guides to disable it (setting the target version in the registry, turning off autoupdates, etc).

Microsoft kept insisting, for a while I had to be careful how I shut down my computer because if I pressed the "update and shut down" button instead of just shut down it would install the version that effectively bricks my hardware. I changed some more settings and it was fine again.... until today.

Pops up one of those dim-the-whole-screen-and-stay-on-top messages with no option to deny the update (even though these have been explicitly disabled). Canceled the first, showed up when the computer was idling a second time, and without so much as a countdown, it rebooted the system and installed 20H2 while an a content creation program was active and the primary thing on the screen (thankfully not working on anything at the time).

I immediately reverted again, but I NEED this to stick. I was actually screaming profanities at Microsoft when it happened because I absolutely know that the thing they forced on my machine would break it and it absolutely broke it in the predictable way and I absolutely explicitly forbade it from doing exactly this.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to make this stick? It has to be online, I can't just air gap the network, and they are still offering some other updates over windows update so I'd rather not just fully kill the process, but I NEED it to stop trying to force the update and I NEED to disable these full screen update messages I had already disabled in the past.
Alternatively, is there a newer driver for your capture card?

Or perhaps do the older drivers work better?

Ceasing updates is probably not a good idea. You'll have to yank the computer from the network. Not only to stop the updates, but to keep it secure.
If I can block 20H2 that will be sufficient, but today It's come back with the same screen I've disabled before and tried to force it again in the next hour.

Disabled the windows update service, turned off most group policy auto download options.

New drivers don't exist - the card has legacy drivers available but the new version (with the same capability, best I can tell) is like $800. I contacted the company that makes it when I first encountered the issue and they said they had seen the same issue and that their recommendation was to revert to the earlier version. I currently have the latest (and only) drivers available for the legacy card.

Similarly, I can't take the PC off the network. The whole point of it is that it's setup to stream video, and trying to air gap it with capturing its output, but the whole setup would be even more unwieldy than a multi-way multi-format capture already is. I can try moving to digital interface cameras in the long term, but that's also likely to cost hundreds or thousands in digitizer options or new cameras, unless I revert back to my lower quality capture dongles that I started out on.... but damn this capture card looks so much better.

I'm not about to blame the company for Microsoft's handling of this, and I really just need a reliable way for it to NEVER deliver 20H2 to this machine. I'll give future service packs a try for the chance it fixes something accidentally, but I really just want to prevent major updates and get the remainder of what can come through. Would be great if there was a setting I could switch that prevented Microsoft from just overwriting all of my custom group policy settings in the background to force another update on me in the future.
The only thing that comes to mind is using Group Policy editor to block feature updates. Now the 21H1 is out, maybe you'll have better luck with that update?
The only thing that comes to mind is using Group Policy editor to block feature updates. Now the 21H1 is out, maybe you'll have better luck with that update?

Haha, well I'll be forced to give it a shot one way or another :bleh:

I ran into a different problem with the capture a week and change ago and am looking at a networked alternative for analog capture - would mean I'm not hogging a slot or a USB port and with the encoding off-machine, it should be much more broadly compatible. Otherwise it's fighting with self resetting auto updates for the rest of the life of the system....