When Windows 10 is first installed by your computer's manufacturer, or by you using a Restore DVD for example, Windows 10 will only be up-to-date from the date of its creation. So if your computer manufacturer installed a copy of Windows 10 that was created on 1st November 2015 but you did not buy the computer from a retailer until 1st March 2016 it means that copy of Windows 10 will probably not of been checked for updated software/hardware files since 1st November 2015. This is normally due to the retailer not wanting to set up Windows 10 for you, for whatever reason(s).

Upon buying the computer from the retailer, getting it home and switching it on, the first thing Windows 10 asks you for is a User Name for the default Administrator User Account. After entering your preferred user name Windows 10 then attempts to Activate itself, within a 30-day period, by registering its Product Key (The Serial Number that came with your copy of Windows 10) with some of your computer details over the internet. Once this is done you should then use the Windows Update control panel (program) to check the Microsoft Windows Update website (server) for any updated software/hardware files that can protect and/or improve your copy of Windows 10. This whole setup procedure is very simple but also a simple setup procedure many retailers do not want to do for you. The same setup procedure also applies when you use a Restore DVD to install Windows 10.

Assuming you have Activated your version of Windows 10, and therefore are using the default Administrator User Account, I will now show you how to check for updated software/hardware files (updates) using the Windows Update service. Begin by clicking on the START Menu button and then on the SETTINGS menu-item, to bring up the Settings window (Fig 1.0). From there, click on the UPDATE & SECURITY button.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.0 - Click on the START Menu button, then on the SETTINGS menu-item, and then on the UPDATE & SECURITY button.

When the Windows Update window (control panel) appears click on its CHECK FOR UPDATES button to continue (Fig 1.1). Doing so will then change the display of the Windows Update window (Fig 1.2) whereby newly updated Windows files, newly updated Security files and newly updated Driver files will be searched for on the Microsoft updates computer (updates server).

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.1 - Click on the CHECK FOR UPDATES button to begin a search for possible updated software/hardware files

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.2 - The Windows Update service is checking the Microsoft computer (server) for possible updated software/hardware files

If the Windows Update service finds any updated software/hardware files (any newly updated Windows, Security and/or Driver files) it might start downloading them automatically, depending on your version of Windows 10 and its default security settings. For example, in Windows 10 Home edition you can NOT change when/if Windows Updates are checked/searched for and installed whereas in Windows 10 Pro edition you can change the security settings so that the Windows Update service does not automatically download and install any newly found updated software/hardware files. In this example I am using Windows 10 Pro edition and therefore can change the security settings as just described.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.3 - The Windows Update service has found newly updated software/hardware files, that it is now downloading.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.4 - The Windows Update service is preparing to install the newly found updated software/hardware files

In Fig 1.3 above the Windows Update service has found five updates, with the first being an update for the Windows 10 operating system. The second, third and fourth updates are security updates and the final update is for a piece of Intel hardware (a software driver). As I have Windows 10 set up to automatically download and install updates, that is why when the updates have been downloaded (Fig 1.3 above) they are also then installed (Fig 1.4 - Preparing to install).

The Windows Update service might install all of the found updates in one go (all together) or in pieces (i.e. install two updates, restart the computer and then install the remaining updates). It depends on whether or not a particular update relies on another update being installed before it and/or if the computer needs restarting in order to fully install that particular update. If the computer needs restarting, either manually by you or automatically by Windows 10, the Windows Update service normally does 30% of the updates and then finishes the 70% upon restarting your computer.

Furthermore, even with all updates installed, the Windows Update service will check again for updates simply because a newer update might of been found before but was not listed, downloaded and installed due to it being reliant on another update being installed first. This happens when a Service Pack (collective amount of updates, over a one year period for example) needs installing. It might want SP1 installed before it lists, downloads and installs SP2.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.5 - The Windows Update service is checking again for updates, to be absolutely sure Windows 10 software is up-to-date.

In this example the Windows Update service downloaded and installed four of the updates (the three security updates and the Intel hardware update), rechecked for additional updates and then partially installed the Windows 10 update (KB3105210) before notifying that the computer need to be restarted; in order to finish installing the Windows 10 update.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.6 - Windows 10 needs to restart the computer in order to finish updating it

In this example I have the option of manually restarting the computer (by clicking on the RESTART button), scheduling a specific date/time for the updating to be completed or allow Windows 10 to pick a date/time (i.e. TOMORROW, at 3:30am). I clicked on the RESTART NOW button, by scrolling down the window first, because I do not see the need to wait for a specific time. You on the other hand might not be able/allowed to restart your computer right now, perhaps because you are working on a project whereby a computer restart would mean losing your work or the computer is an office/networked computer that you have no permission to restart the computer. Either way, back up (save) your data/work first.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.7 - Click on the RESTART NOW button to finish updating your computer

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 1.8 - A Windows 10 notification (pop-up message) should appear when major updates have been installed


If you do not like the idea of the Windows Update service automatically installing downloaded updates, for whatever reason(s), you can defer (delay for months) most installations (but not security update installations) by clicking on the ADVANCED OPTIONS button; located on the Windows Update TAB (Window). The window you was using above.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 2.0 - Click on the ADVANCED OPTIONS button to continue

Clicking on the ADVANCED OPTIONS button (above) opens the Advanced Options window (below). By default the AUTOMATIC option will be selected in the CHOOSE HOW UPDATES ARE INSTALLED drop-down menu, which you change to NOTIFY TO SCHEDULE RESTART. That means you will be notified when updates are available and will have to schedule a date/time for them to be installed; if you do not restart the computer before that scheduled date/time. If you do not create a scheduled date/time, the Windows Update service will create a scheduled date/time for you. Note: Either way, the updates will be downloaded.

Windows 10 Updates

Fig 2.1 - Select the NOTIFY TO SCHEDULE RESTART option if you prefer to delay the installation of updates

As well as the standard updates, you can also have the Windows Update service check for other Microsoft product updates; such as Microsoft Office updates. Tick the GIVE ME UPDATES FOR OTHER MICROSOFT PRODUCTS WHEN I UPDATE WINDOWS option if you require those type of updates.

Windows 10 Updates


Ticking the DEFER UPGRADES option means you want to delay, for months, the installation of updates that add new (and possibly remove old) Windows 10 features. Delaying those upgrades does not affect security updates. Security upgrades/updates will be installed regardless of what option you have set in the Advanced Options window.