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Windows 10 Security PSA: Enable Automatic Store Updates

The Microsoft Store app splash screen on Windows 10.

Microsoft sometimes distributes important security updates through the Microsoft Store. That’s the lesson we’re learning in July 2020, when Microsoft sent an important update for Windows 10’s HEVC codecs not via Windows Update but via the Store.

Yes, Security Updates Can Come from the Store

This isn’t a huge surprise, as the codecs are installed via the Store in the first place—either by you or by your PC manufacturer. However, if you’ve disabled automatic app updates from the Microsoft Store, your Windows 10 PC will have the old, vulnerable codecs installed until you open the Store and install the update manually.

It’s easy to see how many Windows 10 PCs may never install this important security update.

How to Enable Automatic Store Updates on Windows 10

To prevent this sort of problem in the future, we recommend enabling automatic app updates from the Store. To do so, open the Microsoft Store app from your Start menu or taskbar. You can press the Windows key to open the Start menu, type “Store” to search for it, and press “Enter” to launch it.

Launching the Microsoft Store app on Windows 10.

In the Store, click the menu button at the top-right corner of the window. It looks like a “…”. Select “Settings.”

Opening the Microsoft Store's settings screen on Windows 10.

Ensure the “Update apps automatically” option at the top of the window is set to “On.” You’re done. You can now close the Store.

Enabling automatic app updates on Windows 10.

How to Limit the Automatic Updates

Want to stop Windows 10 from downloading unnecessary app updates in the background? Consider uninstalling apps you don’t use.

You can right-click many of Windows 10’s included apps in the Start menu and select “Uninstall” to remove them. If you don’t use Microsoft’s Mail app, feel free to remove it.

Uninstalling Windows 10's Mail app from the Start menu.

Windows won’t download updates for apps you don’t have installed. If you want to use the app in the future, you can re-install it from the Store.


If you don’t want to worry about updates for these codecs, you could also uninstall them and just use a third-party video player like VLC instead. You’d just have to update VLC or whatever video player you choose.

However, we don’t really know which apps included with Windows 10 will get security updates via the Store in the future.

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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