Ready, set, block! Windows 10 Creators Update arrives

Microsoft starts rolling out the new version of Windows 10 today. If you don’t want it, here's how to keep your version of Windows 10 intact

Ready, set, block! Windows 10 Creators Update arrives
Credit: Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Today Microsoft starts pushing the latest version of Windows 10—version 1703, the Creators Update—to Windows 10 PCs that don’t have Automatic Update blocked. Microsoft posted the files for the Creators Update on April 5 for those who really wanted to install 1703. But April 11 is the first day of the unpaid beta tester phase called Current Branch.

If you really want to draw 3D stickmen, run your HoloLens, marginally speed up games, chat while using your Xbox, or slide tabs in Edge, then knock yourself out—the Creators Update should be right up your alley.

But don’t get sucked in by the misleading advertising. (Paul Thurrott has a great takedown of the official Creators Update promo video. Thurrott shows that the first 20 seconds alone covers 12 “features… of which 8 are completely fake.”)

Those who don’t take steps to block the new version will get it delivered sooner or later, but the forced rollout starts today.

The rollout of the last version—Anniversary Update, version 1607—looked like a mashup of the Keystone Kops and Godzilla 2, bringing freezing and randomly disconnecting hard drives; failure of a widely use webcam; strange installation bugs and tromped-on settings. And heaven help you if you tried to plug in a Kindle—the whole system would freeze.

Now you can watch history repeat itself as we pile up bug reports for version 1703 on the AskWoody Lounge. Bring popcorn.

Those of you connected to a corporate update server don’t need to worry about any of this. Your admins will spoon-feed you Creators Update if/when they feel it’s ready.

For the rest of you, here’s how to keep your version of Windows 10 intact until you’re good ‘n ready to take the plunge on your own terms.

If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, it's easy. Click Settings > Update & security. Click the link to Advanced options and check the box marked Defer Feature Updates. That puts you on the “Current Branch for Business,” which is the next phase in the deployment cycle; you’ll skip this initial unpaid beta testing phase completely.

If you’re using Win10 Home, your choices aren’t as simple. If you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can set it to metered.

Step 1: Check for a Wi-Fi connection by clicking the Notification/Action Center icon in the lower-right corner of your screen, then click (or tap) Network. If you're on a Wi-Fi network (in other words, you aren't plugged into the internet with a cable), you’ll see a list of your current Wi-Fi connection, plus other available (or remembered) Wi-Fi connection.

Step 2: Click on your Wi-Fi network, click Properties.

Step 3: Slide the Metered connection setting to On.

If you are using Win10 Home and are plugged into an Ethernet connection, Microsoft gives you few good options—Home users are considered fair game in the pilot phase. To keep the Creators Update monkey off your back, you can either shut down Windows Update entirely (which I don’t recommend because you’ll miss cumulative updates and other patches) or you can play a cat-and-mouse game with the Creators Update.

To turn off the Windows 10 update service (again, I don’t recommend this), use the method posted by Pradeep on the MSPowerUser blog. He steps you through the method to go into services.msc, find the Windows Update service (wuauserv), turn it to manual, then reboot. That disables Windows Update entirely.

A less drastic but more difficult solution is to use Microsoft’s wushowhide utility to hide the “Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703.” The trick is that you can’t hide the update until it actually appears on your system—and you may not get it pushed to you for days, weeks, or even months. In the interim, you need to run wushowhide daily to catch the Feature update after it’s pushed onto your PC but before Windows Update grabs it and installs it (typically overnight).

Here’s how to run wushowhide:

Step 1. Go to KB 3073930 and download Microsoft's Wushowhide tool. (Click the link marked "Download the 'Show or hide updates' troubleshooter package now.") Drag the downloaded file, Wushowhide.diagcab, to any convenient location.

Step 2. Double-click on Wushowhide.diagcab to run it. This part’s important: Click the link marked Advanced. Uncheck the box marked "Apply repairs automatically." Click Next.

Step 3. Wushowhide will run for a long, long time. When it comes back up for air, click the link to Hide Updates. If you see a checkbox marked "Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703," check the box next to the item and click Next. (If you don't see "Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703," the upgrade isn't being sent to your box yet. Check again tomorrow.)

Wushowhide is an odd bird. If it successfully hid the upgrade/update/patch, you see the "Troubleshooting has completed" dialog shown in the screenshot. (Note: The screenshot has been photoshopped; as of this writing, the Feature update hasn't been released. But it'll look like this, trust me.)

wushowhide hidden IDG

Step 4. Click Close, and you're done.

If you don't trust Microsoft's wushowhide tool, you can verify for yourself that it hid the Creators Update. Go back to Windows Update (Start > Settings > Update & security, then Check for Updates). Your PC should show "Your device is up to date." The Creators Update didn't get installed, as you can verify by typing winver down in the Cortana search box—which should show build 14393, the older and much-more-stable Anniversary Update build.

When you're ready to install the Creators Update—you probably will, at some point—the reverse procedure is just as easy. Here’s how to unhide the update:

Step 1. Double-click on Wushowhide.diagcab to run it. This part’s important: Click the link marked Advanced. Uncheck the box marked "Apply repairs automatically." Click Next.

Step 2. Wushowhide will run for a long time. When it comes back up for air, click the link to Show hidden updates.

Step 3. Check the box next to "Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703," click Next, and click Next again.

Wushowhide will dutifully tell you it is "Resolving problems." When it's done, you will see the same "Troubleshooting has completed" dialog as shown in the screenshot.

Step 4. Click Close.

The Creators Update will then get queued up again, and the next time Windows Update runs (you can check for updates manually or let it run by itself, likely overnight), your PC will reboot into Windows 10 Redstone 2, version 1703, Creators Update, build 15063.

Except it'll be stable by then ... one hopes.

Discussion continues on the AskWoody Lounge.