Save bandwidth on Windows 8 by disabling automatic app updates

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 7, 2014
Updated • Jan 7, 2014
Windows, Windows 8

Apps may be automatically updated on Windows 8 even if you never use the apps that ship with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system by default and do not have a single other application installed on the device.

Apps are configured to auto-update if you are signing in with a Microsoft account. If you use a local account instead, they are not configured that way.

What this means is that Windows will check for updates regularly, and download and install those that it finds. If you use the app store and apps regularly, then you may like that, as it means that you do not have to download and install those updates manually.

If you only work on the desktop, you may want to block all automatic app updates to save bandwidth and maybe also storage space.

Disable automatic app updates

Windows 8 app updates

You need to do the following to disable the automatic update feature. Note that this will only affect applications and not system patches, as they are handled in a different way.

  • If you are not on the Start Screen, tap on the Windows-key to open it.
  • Open the Windows Store here.
  • Tap on Windows-C to open the Charms Bar, and select Settings in the menu once the store is displayed to you.
  • Select App updates, and switch the "automatically update my apps" switch from Yes to No.

This blocks the automatic updating of apps. You can use the check for updates button to manually check for new updates.

All apps for which updates are found are listed after the scan, and you can decide to update none, some or all of them then.

updates application windows 8
updates found

It is alternatively possible to set the update behavior in the Windows Registry. For that, do the following:

  1. If you are not on the start screen, tap on the Windows-key to go there.
  2. Type regedit and hit the enter key.
  3. Confirm the UAC prompt by selecting yes.
  4. Browse to the HKEY_LOCAL_Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsStore\
  5. If the key WindowsStore does not exist, create it with a right-click on Microsoft, selecting New > Key, and giving it the name WindowsStore.
  6. If the key WindowsUpdate does not exist, create it with a right-click on WindowsStore, selecting New > Key, and giving it the name WindowsUpdate.
  7. Right-click on WindowsUpdate afterwards and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it AutoDownload.
  8. Double-click on the new preference and change its value to 4 to block automatic downloads.
  9. If you want to enable automatic downloads again, set the value to 2, or delete the key completely if you want Windows to use the App updates preference of the store instead.

Your third option is to use the Group Policy Editor instead.

  1. Go to the start screen if you are not there already.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and select the first result that is displayed.
  3. Navigate to: Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Store.


Here you have the following options:

  • Turn off Automatic Download of updates on Win8 machines - This blocks the automatic download of app updates.
  • Turn off Automatic Download and Install of updates - This blocks both the download of application updates and the installation of them. If you enable this preference, the preference above will be enabled automatically as well.
  • Turn off the offer to update to the latest version of Windows  - This will block the offer to update the current version of Windows to a newer version, e.g. from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.
  • Turn off the Store application - This will disable Windows Store so that it cannot be accessed anymore.

Closing Words

How much bandwidth can you save? That depends largely on the apps that you have installed, how frequently they are updated, and how large those updates are.  It is likely that this will fall in the Megabyte range instead of the Gigabyte range.

Besides saving bandwidth and maybe storage space, you will also get more control over the updating process, which means that you can evaluate the updates before you allow them.

Now Read: How to diagnose and repair app crashes in Windows


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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