Windows

How can you stop Windows 10 upgrading to Windows 11?

Don't fancy Windows 11 yet?

It’s fair to say that Windows 11 has endured a difficult start to life. Blighted by driver glitches and underwhelming features, adoption has been rather slow. Off the back of its first substantial update, Microsoft is pushing ahead with the automatic rollout, but what if you’d rather stay on Windows 10? Here are two ways you can stop Windows 10 upgrading to Windows 11.

Why stop Windows 10 upgrading to Windows 11

Compatibility is the usual reason. In my repair shop, I’ve encountered more than a few machines where components (Wi-Fi and webcams usually) don’t have specific Windows 11 drivers. Many Windows 10 drivers will work perfectly adequately on Windows 11, but if something inside your machine isn’t playing ball, a machine which crashes every 45 minutes isn’t that fun to use.

Another reason is performance. On paper, a hardware optimised Windows 11 system should be faster than Windows 10, but this is computing we’re talking about. I’ve seen plenty of machines take a nose-dive when Windows 10 upgrades to Windows 11. It’s rarely a productivity-draining degradation, but the machines lose their snap. Menus don’t explode onto the screen with the urgency of before and programs take just a second longer to open.

Of course, it could be that you just don’t want Windows 11. We’re not here to judge.

A caveat before we begin…

Stopping Windows updates isn’t an exact science. The aim here is to prevent Windows 10 upgrading to Windows 11 whilst allowing the other updates to keep rolling in. Both of our solutions work, but consider carefully which is the best one for your setup.

1) Solution one: Disable the TPM

Windows 11 has rather fussy tastes in hardware. Ensuring that your machine doesn’t meet the requirements, by disabling the TPM, is the simplest way to prevent the upgrade.

Warning: Do not use this method if your machine is Bitlocker Encrypted.

The easiest way to do this is via the BIOS of the machine. If you’re not sure how to get into yours, take a glance at our guide, How do I enter the BIOS on my PC?

Unhelpfully, the TPM setting will be different depending on which model of PC you have. The setting is usually within the security menu. For Intel CPUs, look for the Intel Platform Trust Technology, and turn it off. If you’re running an AMD system, look for AMD fTPM switch.

TPM disabled to stop Windows 11 upgrade.

2) Solution 1: Edit the Windows Registry

PowerShell modify registry to stop upgrade to Windows 11

Tweaking the Windows Registry is another way to stop Windows 10 upgrading to Windows 11. Right click on the Start Menu and select Windows Powershell (Admin). Type the following commands into the box.

REG add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /f /v TargetReleaseVersion /t REG_DWORD /d 1
REG add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /f /v ProductVersion /t REG_SZ /d "Windows 10"
REG add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /f /v TargetReleaseVersionInfo /t REG_SZ /d "22H2"

These three commands add a new section to the registry called WindowsUpdate. Within this is now a key named TargetReleaseVersion, which works with the other two keys, Windows 10 and 21H2. Together they should prevent the machine performing any feature update later than Windows 10 22H2 until 60 days past its “End of Service” date. Currently this is October 2025, when Windows 10 becomes unsupported by Microsoft.

Screenshot of registry showing TargetReleaseVersion modification

When Microsoft releases further Windows 10 feature updates (23H1, 24H2, etc.), then the Registry can be edited. Open Regedit and go to:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

Then modify the version number. This method should stop the automatic Windows 11 upgrade. It won’t prevent an upgrade using the Windows 11 media creation toolkit though.

What if I already have Windows 11?

If you’re outside of the 10-day rollback period, then I’m afraid you’ll need re-install Windows 10. To do this, follow our guide, How can I create a Windows 10 USB boot device? and re-start the machine using the USB drive. Ensure you backup all your files first.

How long does Windows 11 take to install?

About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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