[tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer - Jon Galloway

[tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

I recently wrote about how much I dislike the way Windows OneCare requires you to enable Windows Automatic Update to download and install updates automatically, since Automatic Update installations often automatically reboot my computer when complete. Jason Stangroome left a comment informing me that there are registry and group policy settings to prevent automatic reboots. I looked into both approaches (registry and group policy) and decided to go with group policy, since the registry settings require manually killing the Windows Update process .

Here's how to prevent Automatic Update from rebooting your machine:

  1. Start -> Run
  2. Type: gpedit.msc
  3. Expand Local Computer Policy / Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Update
  4. Double-click "No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations"
  5. Select "Enabled", then OK. Close the Group Policy configuration program.

Fine print: 

  1. You need Administrator priveleges to make this setting.
  2. Some people complained that Windows ignored the "no auto-restart" setting for the WMF patch. Potentially a ID 10T error, though. 

Group Policy settings to disable Automatic Updates from rebooting computer

Published Saturday, February 11, 2006 10:19 PM by Jon Galloway
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Comments

# Shutdown Win2003 Server without being asked why...

Cool. Another one : On the above screen, under Administrative Templates / System right-click on "Display Shutdown Event Tracker" and select properties. Select Disabled to prevent Windows from asking for a reason why you are shuting down Win2003 Server.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 4:43 PM by Don Good

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks - This tip saves a lot of us from those irritating countdowns...Cheers

Sunday, February 12, 2006 5:41 PM by Elikem Adadevoh

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks for that - I'm going to find it very handy.

Monday, February 20, 2006 4:24 AM by Simon

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Holy cow! Great tip. I was, until recently, blissfully ignorant of the fact that Windows would automatically reboot your machine after an update. I normally manually update since I am adverse to things auto-magically happening with my stuff, but *#$ happens and I lost some work a while back because of this. thx

Thursday, March 9, 2006 12:56 PM by D. Howell

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

I'm happy with this information and that I found it. I have a gameserver running at home and the automatic reboot would be a big problem, because the server will shutdown and all players in it :-D

Thnx.

Friday, February 16, 2007 2:36 PM by Janeway

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

the setting name is "No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations". Will this setting work for manual windows updates?? I.e. if I go to the windows update site and manually choose updates to install.

Monday, May 14, 2007 10:27 AM by adam

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

and if I do not have automatic updates configured, will this work. My computer is configured to tell me when there are updates available for download, and then I choose to download and install them or not. Will this setting work in this case, or not?

Monday, May 14, 2007 10:32 AM by adam

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

It doesn't work in XP. Only in XP pro

Friday, June 15, 2007 3:28 PM by carnivalist

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

It's not as straight-forward as you think: To quote the EXPLAIN tab in group policy, "will not restart a computer automatically during a scheduled installation if a user is logged in to the computer."  IF A USER IS LOGGED IN is a big deal if you don't want the machine bouncing when no one is around (hosting virtual machines, etc.).

Saturday, June 16, 2007 9:59 AM by Jeffrey Schenk

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

SO I HERD U LIEK MUDKIPZ?

Thursday, July 5, 2007 9:45 PM by Doc

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

I have a windows server 2003 that kept restarting in the middle of a working day, this sorted it out nicely

Monday, July 16, 2007 5:37 AM by DoghouseDean

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

This tip made my day!!! - I can't wait for my new iMac

Friday, November 23, 2007 9:46 AM by Ed

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks it helped me a lot....

Thursday, January 17, 2008 7:22 AM by Rakesh Srivastava

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Hi,

My laptop runs on XP Pro.  Normally, when I start my laptop, I reach the logon screen where I input my password and then get to my desktop.  

I left my computer on one night downloading stuff and apparently there a system restart was initiated (according to event viewer) after a security update was downloaded.  

My question is when windows automatically reboots after and update (it does, doesnt it?), does it automatically log me back in without asking for my logon password, or does it take me to the screen where my password is required to log on?

The reason I'm asking is I want to be sure nobody else was fiddling around with my laptop while it was lying on my desk.

Thanks!

Monday, March 24, 2008 3:27 AM by Vern

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

how do I reboot my computer

Friday, May 9, 2008 4:28 PM by james

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

I have regular XP and Qwest (who installed liveone on my computer).  How do I stop it from automatically updating.  I went to bed at 3AM with a bunch of work on my computer and it automatically updated me and lost the work.  I HATE AUTOMATIC UPDATES AND HATE BILL GATES FOR DECIDING WE ALL TOO STUPID TO UPDATE OUR OWN COMPUTERS.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 2:53 PM by Charli

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

my computer keeps on rebooting by its self

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 10:57 PM by fred

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

F*&^ing Mcro$oft won't ever be ruining my renders again. Note to idiot Micro$oft programmers: is it really that hard to detect that the CPU is being flogged by a video editing/3d rendering program and NOT reboot my machine when you think it's ok to do so???

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 5:55 PM by Bill Bonser

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Windows XP Service Pack 3...before installing this update, we recommend you back up your system and close all programs.  

Message I get to install the updates. When it asks to 'back up your system', is this absolutely necessary to do?  And if so, how is this done? Please email: yruohk@aol.com in case I lose this site's location.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 8:13 AM by Jennifer

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

thanks. super helpful.

Friday, October 24, 2008 3:49 AM by dan

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Um....if the update goes ahead, and you don't restart, you are risking some funky behavior and errors with changed files and registry entries...the reboot is for a reason.  Better to disable auto-update and perform it manually when you don't mind a reboot.

Just a thought.

DNW

Friday, December 12, 2008 11:24 AM by David Niall Wilson

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

The "gpedit.msc" wasn't found on a XP Home SP3 machine, but it was on a XP Media Center edition with SP3.

Thursday, February 12, 2009 11:22 AM by K

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Windows Vista Home Premium (and below) does not install gpedit.msc. You must have Windows Vista Business or above (this includes Windows Vista Ultimate). It's very annoying. You might be able to get this from someone else and use it, but I doubt it, as the license forbids it and they probably have it locked out, but it's worth a try.

For Windows Vista Home Premium, I always set Windows Update to notify me of new updates and then I tell Windows when to download and install them. I too, have let myself get burned by the automatic update/reboot (in my effort to keep my machine updated). It's just not worth it. But if you make it manual, please be sure to install the updates at some point. I've been running Vista for 2 years and have not gotten a single virus, malware, drive-by download, or otherwise.

Thursday, May 14, 2009 5:30 PM by Craig S.

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Hi guys,

Is there any way of stopping windows update from restarting a Server 2003 even if there are no users on there?

Many thanks in advance,

Stef

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:26 AM by Stefano

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Correct me if I am wrong, but the Explain section of the Reboot policy said the following:

"Note: This policy applies only when Automatic Updates is configured to perform scheduled installations of updates. If the "Configure Automatic Updates" policy is disabled, this policy has no effect."

So . . . if the "Configure Automatic Updates" group policy is Not Configured or is disabled, this "No Auto-restart" policy will not work either, correct? Both policies have to be enabled to work.

The group policy seems to be different from the regular Automatic Update settings as I was getting regular updates and reboots but the "Configure Automatic Updates" policy was marked as Not Configured.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 12:44 PM by Bryan

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks!!! Been annoying me for ages, and I finally Googled it, first hit and all! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 9:23 PM by JOB

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Awesome!!  I was hoping to find a fix for the annoying automatic restarts that cause me to lose work.  Sure hope this works.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 3:34 PM by Mary

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks very much, it is so irritating to have no choice on when Windows restarts and keeps nagging!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:00 PM by Eric

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Super tip. I have another issue I cannot find the solution to have searching for hours...

When my computer is rebooted or shutdown I am only given a matter of seconds to save/cancel open running programs. On my previous laptop XP would wait FOREVER for me to choose. On this new install by the time I see the window and click save the program is shutdown and the reboot continues! This is very annoying.

Any ideas!?!?

Platform = WinXP Pro SP2

THANKS!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 4:10 PM by Ron Rossi

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Will this finally work on my 2003 servers? They actually reboot after automaic update as soon as the last LOCAL user logs off. The servers do not care that a few hundred people are working with it.

Right now we have to take care that at least one Administrator is logged via console or RDP. If this session is terminated they reboot unwanted.

Thursday, October 8, 2009 4:01 PM by Dirk

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Ahh that damn automatic reboot countdown kept minimizing my games. Very annoying.

Thanks for the tip.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:32 PM by Gene

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks for the top. Will be useful in the future! Just need to recover my work to where it was when I left it (before updates shut my machine down).

Friday, January 22, 2010 3:33 AM by Paul

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

thanks for this.  Who is the one that decided that this was a good idea?  I'd like to talk to him, and throw a cup of water on his face.  Again, thanks for this.  I was currently clicking restart later all day before I decided to look this up... finally.

Friday, January 22, 2010 2:51 PM by steven

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Great Post.  I was running something that i could not afford to have my computer rebooted.  You saved my life....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 10:52 PM by Zach

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

I see from the picture that you are talking about a very OLD version of Windows: there's in fact "netmeeting" in the list, which was abandoned prior the Windows Xp release in 2001.

This article is pointless, sorry.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 8:17 AM by DavidGreen

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks Jon.  This works even in Windows 2008 R2 server.  Only note is the user must be logged in for this to work.

Friday, June 11, 2010 6:43 AM by HCCAdmin

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

I hope somebody can tell us how to stop the automatic rebooting with Windows 7. Surely someone has Windows 7 these days and has figured out how to stop this.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 3:41 PM by Mike

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but you may try going to the 'run' command and typing 'shutdown -a' in XP.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 2:36 PM by duckbill64

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

thanks.  god those auto-reboots were annoying.  kept closing all my stuff!  why is it by default like this??  DUMB

Thursday, January 13, 2011 12:41 PM by Derrill

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks alot.......it was so irritating seeing ur computer rebooting again and again and again......

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 9:22 AM by VG

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

Thanks so much! Don't reboot very often and always have much going on...everything closed down.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10:13 PM by Ron R

# re: [tip] Prevent Windows Automatic Updates from rebooting your computer

hi...

i use win7..whn i login the system, it displays "please do not power off or unplug your machine".. pls help me how to solve this problem..

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 4:05 AM by ra