If there are updates available, should I download them?
It is always a good idea to remain up to date with all patches Microsoft releases for Windows. For your personal computer, the best bet is to set the computer to download updates automatically, so you do not have to think about it.
However, this will only include the updates for the current version of Windows 10 that you currently have on your computer. Microsoft releases major operating system updates twice per year. These updates are larger and in size and scope and take several minutes to install. Since these significant updates were causing problems on some computers, Microsoft decided to stop forcing the install of major updates automatically back in May 2019.
Instead of forcing the install of new updates, you will now see a message that there is an update available, and you will have the choice of whether you want to install the update at that time.
This gives people more freedom in deciding when to perform an update and offers people a chance to back up their computer, which is always a good idea before starting any major update.
There are still times when Microsoft will enforce an update. This will happen if the version of Windows 10 you are running reaches end-of-life and is no longer supported by Microsoft. Since this is done at the end of a product lifecycle and not at the immediate release of a new version, Microsoft has plenty of time to work out any issues with the update. They can extensively test the release to reduce the number of problems related to the forced update.
It is essential to keep your operating system up to date. While you do not have to install a new release as soon as it becomes available, you should not wait until your version of Windows reaches the end of its lifecycle, which prompts a forced update.