How To cancel Windows Update automatic restart

I am quite happy with Windows 7 Home Premium. However, I sometimes have to leave the computer on and unattended and would not want it to restart, especially if it's rendering a movie.

While playing with some videoclips I recently made the mistake of choosing to render my video creation in HD. 20110427-002-screencapMy system being significantly underpowered, this took forever. While rendering, the computer downloaded and installed some Windows Updates then prompted me for a reboot. Windows-Update-RestartThough a chose a 4-hour delay, I knew that in 4 hours, if I was not around to cancel the reboot, Windows would have rebooted all by itself.

The quickest and simplest way to resolve this issue is to temporarily turn off Windows Update service:

  1. Go to Start.
  2. Type CMD.
  3. hit "ctrl+shift+enter".
  4. type net stop "windows update" & hit enter.
  5. Jus restart the computer to restart the service.

A more permanent change involves the Control Panel:

20110427-003-screencapHowever, this is not what I want – I want Windows to download and install updates automatically, I just don’t want my computer restarted automatically. On all Windows 7 versions except mine, the following works:

  1. Click Start -> Run
  2. Enter “gpedit.msc”
  3. Go to Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
  4. Double-click on “No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Update installation”  & enable it

I20110427-000-screencap used the following Aberrance recipe, as I could not use gpedit.msc (MS policy editor) on my Home Premium machine:

This is true.


  1. Open the Registry Edit
    (WindowsKey + R, "regedit.exe")
    (Remember to be careful! DON'T change anything unless you know exactly what you're doing!)
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU
    * Chances are, if you can't access gpedit.msc you'll be missing these keys! *
    If keys WindowsUpdate\AU exist, go ahead to step 3!
    OTHERWISE, continue through these indented steps...
    1. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows
    2. (Make sure the above key is highlighted and) go to the edit menu and choose New > Key
    3. Name the key WindowsUpdate
    4. Now, repeat the above steps, except highlight WindowsUpdate and name the next keyAU
  3. 20110427-001-screencapWith WindowsUpdate\AU highlighted, create a new 32-bit DWORD called NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers
  4. Right click on your newly created value and give it a value data of 1 (hexadecimal)
  5. Double check all the steps to make sure you did everything EXACTLY how I explained it
  6. Close Registry Editor... You're FREE! :D

Now, even with the gpedit.msc remedy, this will disable automatic restart on important updates, but it will still nag you a bit about restarting it. I don't mind this, personally, because I usually tell it to remind me in about 2-4 hours depending on what I'm doing. The feature is useful if it's just a notification (which is what this remedy will basically do), but when it starts making decisions on whether or not to restart or shutdown my computer is when I get very frustrated. Microsoft REALLY needs to fix this!

*** So why not just use "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them"? Because I still want it to automatically INSTALL them. I just want to choose when to RESTART my computer. There's a massive difference between automatically installing AND restarting to configure, and just automatically installing. I take care of my PC. I'm not stupid enough to never restart my computer, especially when it needs it. Please, Microsoft, don't insult my intelligence, and be a little more flexible! If I wanted to work with all this behind-the-scenes magic I'd spend more time in my Linux terminal...

Hope this helped. If not, try these YouTube videos: [nag] [lgnm] [sviridovt] [mypcspot]

Sources / More info: ms-ans, nirmal-AU


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