Permanently Disable & Prevent Automatic Restart of Windows Update in Windows 10

»»»Permanently Disable & Prevent Automatic Restart of Windows Update in Windows 10
Windows 10 automatically restart the PC whenever it installed updates that required a mandatory reboot in order to finish installed. User can no longer delay or postpone a restart indefinitely. The best a user can do is to schedule a time for Windows to automatically reboot, or since Windows 10 Anniversary Update, set an active hours which Windows definitely won’t restart the device.

After installing updates that required a reboot to finish installing, Windows would normally ask user to restart. If the user does not restart the OS after a certain period of time, Windows 10 may start to show warning that operating system is going to restart at a specific time or after a certain duration of time. Eventually, Windows 10 will automatically restart, with or without user’s consent. Theoretically, Windows would only restart the computer automatically when user is not using the computer, but it’s not always the case. In fact, sometimes Windows 10 may wake up the computer to install the updates, and then auto-reboot.

If you’re not fond of surprise or unpredictable Windows restart due to Windows Update, or face the situation when updates take a long time to install during the reboot, there are several steps that you can take to avoid automatic restart after installing updates. The following tutorials will guide you on how to prevent and stop Windows 10 from automatic restarting after updates are installed, permanently.

Windows 10 Windows Update Restart

Disable Reboot Task

  1. Open Control Pane from Windows 10 Power Users Quick Access menu.
  2. Go to System and Security -> Administrative Tools.
  3. Open Task Scheduler.
  4. In Task Scheduler, expand the Task Scheduler tree to go to Task Scheduler Library -> Microsoft -> Windows -> UpdateOrchestrator.
  5. Right click on Reboot task, and Disable it.

    Disable Reboot in Windows 10

  6. Windows 10 will attempt to sneakily re-enable the Reboot task automatically. To stop the re-enabling of Reboot task, open File Explorer, and navigate to the following folder:

    %Windows%\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\UpdateOrchestrator

  7. Right click on the Reboot file (without extension), and select Properties. Go to Security tab then hit Advanced button. Change the ownership to your own user account. Then, hit “Change permissions”, and disable the inheritance of permissions, and all permissions (i.e. SYSTEM, LOCAL SERVICE and your user account) to read or read & execute only (ensure that no write, modify or full control permission is granted). This ensure of Windows OS cannot make any changes to the Reboot task.

    Remove Write & Modify Permissions for Reboot Task

    Alternatively, rename the Reboot file to another name, such as Reboot.bak (you may need to take ownership of the file). Then create a new folder and name it as “Reboot” to prevent the task with the same name been created again.

Third-Party Utilities that Block or Prevent Shutdown & Restart

There are several software utilities that can prevent, stop and abort the shutdown and restart process.

Group Policy

There is a group policy which a user can set to disable the auto-restart, but YMMV as many people reported that Windows 10 ignores the policy when comes to mandatory reboot required for installing updates. Officially, the group 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.

To configure the policy, open Local Group Policy Editor (GPEdit.msc), the navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update. Set the status of No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations to Enabled so that Automatic Updates will not restart a computer automatically during a scheduled installation if a user is logged in to the computer. Instead, Automatic Updates will notify the user to restart the computer.

No Auto Restart Group Policy

Tip
If you’re using Home edition of Windows 10, probably you won’t find the Local Group Policy Editor. You can set the value via Registry Editor (RegEdit) at the following registry key (create the keys if they’re not exist or not found):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Then, create a new DWORD (32-bit) value, and name it as NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers, then set its value as 1.

Ironically, you need to restart the Windows for the policy to take effect. But there is a workaround. Open an Administrator Command Prompt, and run the following command:

gpupdate /force

Prevent Updates from Installing

Windows 10 needs to reboot because some updates require mandatory restart. If no updates are installed, then no automatic restart will be done.

There are several ways to stop updates from installing in Windows 10:

  1. If the PC is connected only to Wi-Fi network, set the wireless connection as metered connection. When a computer is connected to metered connection (normally used when tethering to phone connected to mobile 3G or 4G network with limited bandwidth cap), Windows 10 will not download and install the updates automatically.

    Metered Connection

    To set a Wi-Fi network as metered connection, open Settings app, go to Network & Internet -> Wi-Fi. Then, click or tap on Advanced options link (prior to Windows 10 Anniversary Update) or on the Wi-Fi network name itself (Windows 10 Anniversary Update or later). Toggle the Set as metered connection to On.

  2. Force the Windows Update to only download updates, but wait for user input to start installing (hence therefore reboot). To do so, open Local Group Policy Editor (GPEdit.msc), the navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update. Double click Configure Automatic Updates and select Enabled. Then configure it to use either option 2 – Notify for download and notify for install or 3 – Auto download and notify for install.

    Configure Automatic Updates

    After applying the settings, Windows Update will wait for user to hit the “Install” button before installing any updates.

    Tip
    If you’re using Windows 10 Home edition, probably you won’t find the Local Group Policy Editor. You can set the value via Registry Editor (RegEdit) at the following registry key (create the keys if they’re not exist or not found):

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

    Then, create a new DWORD (32-bit) value, and name it as AUOptions, then set its value as either 2 (Notify for download and notify for install) or 3 (Auto download and notify for install).

By | 2016-12-09T08:38:24+00:00 December 9th, 2016|Categories: Windows|Tags: , , , |14 Comments

About the Author:

LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.Connect with LK through Tech Journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
  • Tim Huckabay

    I have my Group Policy for Windows Update set to “Notify for download and notify for install” (option 2) in Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Edition (1607). This worked fine under build 1577 (prior to the Anniversary Edition), but now the setting is being completely ignored under build 1607 (Anniversary Edition). This is UNACCEPTABLE, and will cause me to reject the Anniversary Edition unless this BUG (I presume this is a bug rather than another bone-headed Microsoft ploy or “decision”) is quickly fixed! (I am a professional user of Microsoft products, including Windows, but this heavy-handed Microsoft *** is enough to make me reconsider.) Please help, as I refuse to live with an OS that forces me to shut down work EVER to perform updates I either do not want or don’t want “now.”

    • Stijn de Witt

      Completely agree! Just a couple of days ago, Windows tried to force me to reboot for updates *again*, so I clicked ‘Later’ and filled in the schedule… only to hit the ‘Update Now’ button in a reflex, as that is ‘conveniently’ placed below the form, where the OK button used to always be before Windows 10.

      What kind of moronic design team builds a user ‘experience’, where the user is presented with a schedule to plan an update **LATER**, then places a huge ‘Update NOW’ button below that form??

      Anyway, that update then proceeded to take almost 2 and a half hours, completely ruining the remainder of my workday. My rate is €120,- per hour…. Can I charge you for that MS?? Keep your dirty paws of my machine! I decide when I reboot. Not you MS!

      • “Anyway, that update then proceeded to take almost 2 and a half hours, completely ruining the remainder of my workday.”

        That is so fucked.

  • Anthony Dunk

    I find the way Windows 10 reboots whether you are working on stuff or not, really annoying. I think they should do something similar to what OS X does on Apple Macs and give you the option to install now or later. I was working on something at home the other evening (outside the preset working hours of 8am to 5pm), and Windows said it would restart in one hour and gave me no option to delay. I ignored the message thinking it would ask again before rebooting, but I was half way through typing something and the machine just rebooted – losing what I was working on !! Then it took ages to install the update and be ready to use again. This is not good enough Microsoft. What if I had a deadline I needed to meet ??

    • Stijn de Witt

      I hate ‘Now or Later’. When did this happen that it became acceptable for a computer to ask a question and not take ‘NO’ for an answer? I decide when and if my computer reboots. Me and me alone. It’s my computer, running in my network, on an internet connection payed by me. If MS builds a secure OS, then me updating my computer or not will affect no one else but me. I hate ‘Now or Later’ so much, it’s a category on my blog: https://stijndewitt.com/tag/doesnt-take-no-for-an-answer/

      That being said, this article is fantastic. It saved my life (if it works but I’m hopeful).

      But think about this: In order to prevent Windows from rebooting our machine without our consent, we have to first find an obscure setting, that might as well have been hidden (why is this setting not accessible from the normal update scheduler screen??)… Then, after we disabled it, we now have to stop Windows from *reverting our decision* without asking or even informing us, by revoking the access permissions on some file from SYSTEM. Wow. This industry really is in a sad state.

  • Marc

    I tried the “disable reboot task” method, including changing the file ownership and permissions as instructed so Windows 10 couldn’t sneakily re-enable it. It didn’t work for me, though — when I returned in the morning after having put my computer to sleep, and with Windows threatening to reboot during off-hours, I couldn’t re-wake my computer and had to power off in order to revive it.

  • Why the fuck do we even have to do all this??? Windows USED to give us option to set it where it would only restart after prompting you. Why the fuck do we have to get 3rd party programs or go fiddling in the registry to complete such a simple task? Wow, fuck Microsoft.

    • Robert Picard

      Because so many people have disabled updates completely because they ‘know what they are doing’ and never install updates, creating zombie computers leveraged by hackers to attack companies, spread malware and viruses.

      • Macranthunter

        Or because they “really do know what they are doing” and need to ensure that stability, functionality and access to legacy functions do not change or break during a critical project. Projects can and do take years. Computers used on critical projects – especially media projects – should NEVER be updated until the final has been delivered and invoiced. I know of a popular PBS program lost to an ill-timed update 48 hours before air. In that case it was an OSX update but the point remains. The user and only the user knows when an update and reboot is appropriate.

  • This is why I use linux. Update when and where you want, manual or automatic, no reboots needed unless you update the kernel, and even then, just reboot when you are ready

  • Salvina

    After searching a lot, I found this video quite helpful.

  • bandera1891

    This shitty os is apparently not for developers.

  • Blaster

    As in XP Windows time the Worm ‘Blaster’ was created and it caused force restarts

    of your PC. Today M$ created same tool and equipped within update OS components.
    Their intention was probably to enforce Professional edition instead Home however a lot of PC’s OEMs install home version to save costs.
    This is time when I’ve started to think about Linux seriously nevertheless this particular OS is not user friendly these days and if Linux want really to attract users they must to redesign its graphical interface.

  • Павел

    doesn’t work anymore after latest update.
    it was great for about 9 months, but now windows strikes back and I got accidental reboot for my unattended PC, after windows updated itself.
    I can’t believe they treated us in a way like pigs – just do whatever they need whenever they want.

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