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It’s going to get easier to sort and install (or avoid) optional Windows 10 updates

Not every update that Microsoft pushes out for Windows 10 needs to be installed on your system, and in some cases, they can have unintended consequences. Unfortunately, optional updates get clumped together with mandatory ones, but that's finally going to change—albeit not until next year.

The upcoming change is how it was done in the old days, before Windows 10—Microsoft would separate optional updates from the regular security patches, and users could choose to install or ignore them rather easily.

That feature disappeared with Windows 10, but Microsoft is planning to reintroduce this separation to the public at large in its Windows 10 20H1 release due out in 2020. In the meantime, it's being tested in the Windows Insider program.

"As some Insiders have noticed, we’re working on making it easier for you to see all optional updates (including drivers, feature updates, and monthly non-security quality updates) in one place. Once optional updates are detected, they will be listed in a new page under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View optional updates. For drivers, you no longer need to browse Device Manager for a specific device to update. Windows Update will automatically keep your drivers up-to-date, same as before, but if you’re having a problem one of those optional drivers might help," Microsoft stated in a blog post.

The folks at BleepingComputer posted some screenshots of how this will look. The Windows Update screen is largely unchanged, except for the addition of a "View optional updates" link. This brings up a new screen listing the various optional updates that might be available, each with a checkbox.

Microsoft mentions it will still keep automatically updating drivers after this change takes place, though if you want to disable that feature, you will still be able to do so as you can now—just head to the "Device installation settings" screen and click the "No (your device might now work as expected)" option.

Microsoft has committed to rolling out two major upgrades to Windows 10 each year. The most recent of those was the May 2019 update rolled out in May, and there is a second one slated for sometime next month (presumably), called 19H2. The 20H1 release will be the first of the two major updates to arrive in 2020.