- 1 How to Block the Windows 11 Upgrade on Windows 10 Through Group Policy (Professional and Enterprise Editions)
- 2 How to Block the Windows 11 Upgrade on Windows 10 Via the Registry (All Editions, including Windows 10 Home)
- 3 FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Blocking the Windows 11 Upgrade
- 4 Extra: How to Install and Open the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) in Windows 10 Home / Windows 11 Home
- 5 Extra: How to Configure Windows Active Hours to Avoid Forced Reboots
As Windows 11 continues to make its way into the tech world, many Windows 10 users are finding themselves at a crossroads: to upgrade or not to upgrade. This decision becomes particularly pressing as Microsoft offers free upgrades to eligible Windows 10 devices. However, the upgrade to Windows 11 is not mandatory, and for various reasons, some users might prefer to stick with the familiar and time-tested Windows 10. If you're one of those who wish to halt the march towards Windows 11, this tutorial is tailored for you.
Understanding the Windows 11 Upgrade
Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system has been released and is being offered via Windows Update to systems that meet the Windows 11 system requirements. This upgrade is a free one for activated Windows 10 systems. However, Microsoft has made it clear that the Windows 11 update won't be forced upon Windows 10 users at the launch. Windows 10 is supported until 2025, and many users might opt to stay on this version for various reasons, including compatibility concerns and the familiarity of the interface
Reasons to Block the Windows 11 Upgrade
- Bugs and Security Concerns: Windows 11, like any new operating system, may have its share of bugs, problems, and potential security risks. Waiting until these issues are resolved can be a wise decision.
- Hardware Requirements: Windows 11 demands higher hardware requirements than previous Windows versions, needing 4GB RAM and 64GB hard disk space, double what is required for Windows 10.
- Contentment with Windows 10: Having been around for several years, most of Windows 10's bugs and issues have been addressed, making it a stable and reliable choice for many users
How to Block the Windows 11 Upgrade on Windows 10 Through Group Policy (Professional and Enterprise Editions)
This method is suitable for users of Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise editions, or if you use a workaround to get the Group Policy Editor on Windows 10 Home. By accessing the Group Policy Editor, you can set specific policies that determine how updates are handled on your system. Specifically, you can set a target release version for Windows 10, effectively preventing the automatic upgrade to Windows 11. This approach is ideal for those who want a more controlled and administrative way to manage updates and system changes.
- Open the Group Policy Editor via the command “gpedit.msc”
- Navigate to the Update Settings and open the Group Policy
- Enable and Modify the Feature Update Policy
In the options, you will see two fields. In the first field, type “Windows 10″. In the second field, specify the version you want to stick with, for example, “21H1” or “22H2”. 22H2 is set as the final version of Windows 10 and is scheduled to reach the end of servicing on October 14, 2025
How to Block the Windows 11 Upgrade on Windows 10 Via the Registry (All Editions, including Windows 10 Home)
This method is applicable to all editions of Windows 10, including the Home edition. It involves modifying the system registry to set a target release version for Windows 10, thereby blocking the upgrade to Windows 11. This method is a bit more technical and requires careful editing of the registry settings, but it's a powerful way to maintain control over your operating system version, especially for those who do not have access to the Group Policy Editor.
- Open the “Registry Editor”
- Open or first create the registry key “WindowsUpdate”
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate. If the keys don't exist, create them by right-clicking on the previous key and selecting “New > Key”. We run you through this process. If you already have the key “WindowsUpdate” in the right location, just skip these steps.
Right-click on “Windows” in “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\” and select “New > Key”.
- Name the Key “WindowsUpdate”
- Create a new “DWORD” In “WindowsUpdate”
Right-click in WindowsUpdate and select “New > Dword (32-bit) Value”.
- Name the DWORD “TargetReleaseVersion”
- Open “TargetReleaseVersion” and set its “Value data” to “1”
- Right-click again in “WindowsUpdate” and select “New > String Value”
- Name it “TargetReleaseVersionInfo”
- Open “TargetReleaseVersionInfo” and set its value
Set the value to the desired Windows 10 version you want to keep, e.g. “21H1” or “22H2”. 22H2 is set as the final version of Windows 10 and is scheduled to reach the end of servicing on October 14, 2025
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Blocking the Windows 11 Upgrade
What are the immediate benefits of staying on Windows 10 instead of upgrading to Windows 11?
Remaining on Windows 10 offers several immediate benefits, including stability, compatibility, and familiarity. Since Windows 10 has been around longer, it has undergone extensive real-world testing and received numerous updates, making it a highly stable and reliable platform. Compatibility with older hardware and software is also better ensured, as some older applications and devices may not function as intended on Windows 11 due to its newer requirements and architecture. Moreover, users who have grown accustomed to the layout and functionality of Windows 10 may prefer its user interface and features over the changes introduced in Windows 11.
How can I check if a specific application I rely on is compatible with Windows 11 before considering an upgrade?
To check the compatibility of specific applications with Windows 11, start by visiting the application vendor's official website, where they often provide compatibility information and updates regarding newer operating system versions. Microsoft also offers the PC Health Check tool, which can assess your device for Windows 11 compatibility and may provide some insights into application compatibility. Additionally, online forums and communities related to the software or industry can be valuable resources for learning about others' experiences with the application on Windows 11.
Is there a way to receive notification from Microsoft before my device is automatically upgraded to Windows 11?
Microsoft generally provides notifications through the Windows Update service before an automatic upgrade. To ensure you receive these notifications, keep the Windows Update notifications enabled in your system settings. Additionally, regularly checking the Windows Update section in your settings can help you stay informed about pending updates. Microsoft aims to make the upgrade process transparent, so users should receive ample notice before any significant upgrade is initiated.
What should I do if I accidentally initiate the Windows 11 upgrade? Can I stop it mid-way?
If the Windows 11 upgrade has started but not yet completed, you may be able to stop it by going to Windows Update settings and pausing the update. If the option to pause is unavailable and the installation is at an advanced stage, it's safest to let it complete to avoid potential system instability. Once the upgrade to Windows 11 is complete, you have a 10-day window to roll back to Windows 10 through the Recovery options in your system settings, which reinstates your previous operating system without losing personal files.
How can I ensure that my system drivers will remain compatible after blocking the Windows 11 upgrade?
To maintain driver compatibility while staying on Windows 10, regularly update your drivers through the manufacturer's official channels or Windows Update, which provides tested and approved driver updates. Before applying any driver updates, it's advisable to create a system restore point, allowing you to revert to a previous state if an update causes issues. Additionally, keeping abreast of hardware manufacturers' announcements and support forums can provide early warnings about potential compatibility issues with future Windows 10 updates.
If I change my mind, how do I manually initiate the Windows 11 upgrade after blocking it?
If you decide to upgrade to Windows 11 after initially blocking it, you'll need to revert the changes made in the Group Policy or Registry. In the Group Policy Editor, reset the policy to “Not Configured“, and in the Registry, delete or modify the entries you created to block the upgrade. After these changes, go to Windows Update in your settings, check for updates, and the option to upgrade to Windows 11 should appear if your device is eligible. Alternatively, you can use the Windows 11 Installation Assistant available on Microsoft's website to manually initiate the upgrade.
Can blocking the Windows 11 upgrade impact the resale value of my device?
The impact of blocking the Windows 11 upgrade on the resale value of a device is generally minimal. The resale value is more influenced by the device's physical condition, specifications, and market demand. Since the upgrade to Windows 11 is offered for free to eligible devices, potential buyers are likely to focus on hardware attributes rather than the pre-installed operating system version, especially since they can upgrade to Windows 11 themselves if desired.
What are the best practices for maintaining Windows 10 security after blocking the Windows 11 upgrade?
To maintain optimal security on Windows 10, regularly install updates for both the operating system and installed software, focusing on security patches and critical updates. Utilize reliable antivirus and anti-malware solutions, keeping them updated to protect against the latest threats. Practice safe browsing habits, be cautious with email attachments and links, and use strong, unique passwords for your accounts. Regularly back up important data to an external drive or cloud storage to prevent data loss in case of security breaches or hardware failures.
Will there be any new features added to Windows 10 after blocking Windows 11 upgrades, or will it only receive security updates?
While Windows 10 continues to be supported, the focus of updates is primarily on security patches, performance improvements, and minor enhancements. Significant new feature developments are mainly directed towards Windows 11. However, Microsoft may occasionally introduce new features or enhancements to Windows 10, especially those related to security, usability, or compatibility, to ensure a stable and secure user experience until the end of its support lifecycle.
How can I prepare my device for a future upgrade to Windows 11 if I choose to block it now?
To prepare for a future upgrade to Windows 11, start by ensuring that your device meets the minimum system requirements set by Microsoft for Windows 11, including hardware specifications like TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot. Keep your system and drivers up to date to ensure compatibility and performance. Regularly back up important data to facilitate a smooth transition and mitigate the risk of data loss. Stay informed about Windows 11 developments and updates to make an informed decision when you choose to upgrade.
Is there a community or forum where I can discuss issues and solutions related to blocking Windows 11 upgrades?
Numerous online platforms and communities can provide valuable insights and support for issues related to blocking Windows 11 upgrades. Microsoft's official support forums, Reddit's Windows 10 and Windows 11 communities, and tech forums like BleepingComputer are excellent resources. These platforms allow you to share experiences, seek advice, and discuss solutions with other users facing similar challenges.
Can I use third-party software to block Windows 11 upgrades, and is it recommended?
While third-party software can block Windows 11 upgrades, it's crucial to approach this option with caution. Ensure the software comes from a reputable source and understand that such tools may not be supported by Microsoft, potentially leading to unintended system behaviors or conflicts. Before using any third-party tool, research its reviews, verify its security, and consider creating a system restore point or full backup as a precaution.
What are the implications of continuing to use an unsupported version of Windows 10 after 2025?
Using an unsupported version of Windows 10 after its end-of-support date in 2025 exposes your system to significant risks. Without security updates, your PC becomes vulnerable to new viruses, malware, and other security threats. Software and hardware manufacturers will also gradually cease support for the outdated OS, leading to compatibility issues. It's strongly recommended to upgrade to a supported version of Windows or consider alternative solutions to maintain security and functionality.
How can I verify that my block on Windows 11 upgrades is working correctly?
To verify that the block on Windows 11 upgrades is effective, regularly check the Windows Update section within your system settings for any signs of the Windows 11 upgrade offer. If your Group Policy or Registry modifications are correctly implemented, you should not see the upgrade option. Additionally, you can monitor system logs and update history to ensure no attempts are made to download or install Windows 11 components inadvertently.
Extra: How to Install and Open the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) in Windows 10 Home / Windows 11 Home
Microsoft has reserved the Group Policy Editor for “Pro” variants of Windows. When changing advanced settings, users of the Windows 10 Home / Windows 11 Home will have to use the Registry Editor which is more complicated to use. Luckily, there is a workaround that lets you use Group Policies also on Windows “Home” editions, which we show you in our other guide.
Extra: How to Configure Windows Active Hours to Avoid Forced Reboots
Windows 11, like its predecessor Windows 10, is designed to streamline the update process, often automatically downloading and installing updates. While this feature ensures your system is always up-to-date with the latest features and security patches, it can sometimes lead to an inconvenient experience. In our other guide we show you how to configure Windows 11 Active Hours Using Settings and Group Policy and how to reschedule pending restarts when a Windows update has been downloaded already.