Windows power user tips

Windows 10's new optional updates explained

Recent versions of Windows 10 have introduced optional updates to Windows Update. What are they and how should you handle them?

10 refresh windows programs

Windows 10 users who have upgraded to version 2004 or 20H2 might have noticed something new when they go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Beneath the always-present “Check for updates” button, Windows update sometimes presents an optional updates item, as shown in Figure 1.

windows update view optional updates IDG

Figure 1: Occasionally, Windows Update shows a link that reads “View optional updates.” (Click image to enlarge it.)

This, by the way, is a return to functionality offered in Windows 7, when optional updates were tucked away in a separate window. When Windows 10 rolled out, Microsoft began putting all updates in one stream, but now the company is returning to clearly labeling and separating optional updates from the usual monthly cumulative updates packaged up on “Patch Tuesday” (the 2nd Tuesday of each month).

What are these optional updates, and what should users and administrators do with them?

Optional update type 1: driver updates

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