[Note: This article was originally published in mid-2016 for the Anniversary Update. It has been completely revised and republished for the Windows 10 Creators Update, version 1703.]
Last April, Microsoft's update servers began delivering the Windows 10 Creators Update to current installations of Windows 10 that had been running for at least 30 days.
As with all such feature updates that are targeted at the 500 million PCs running Windows 10, this rollout can take many months.
Last week, Microsoft pronounced the Creators Update "ready for business deployment" and began expanding its distribution to businesses that had deferred the upgrade by going to Settings > Update & security > Advanced options and clicking the Defer feature updates check box. That option moves your PC from the Current Branch (which gets feature updates as soon as they're released to the public) to the Current Branch for Business.
But what if you're not ready to move off version 1607 yet? The update is big: roughly 3GB in size. Although setup should be quick (less than 60 minutes) on reasonably fast hardware, you might want to wait. Maybe you're traveling and don't want to deal with a major upgrade just now. Or maybe you want to schedule your deployment later in the year when you roll out new hardware.
See also: FAQ: How to install, reinstall, upgrade and activate Windows 10 | Here's how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade | FAQ: How to manage Windows 10 updates | Windows 10: You've got questions, I've got answers | After one year, 10 lessons learned for Windows 10
If you're running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can delay the upgrade by up to an additional 180 days from July 27, 2017; if you choose the maximum deferral period, you'll be free spared any feature updates until late January, 2018. (This option isn't available on PCs running Windows 10 Home.)
To make that change in Windows 10 version 1607, open the Local Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc) and navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates. Open the policy Select when feature updates are received, set it to Enabled, and then use the controls to choose your preferred branch and set a deferral period of up to 180 days, as shown here.
Just be sure to set a calendar reminder at least a week or two before the expiration date, because you won't receive any warning when the clock runs out. You'll simply see the update offered for installation, with no more options to delay or defer.
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Next week: Another Windows 10 tip from Ed Bott