How to turn off or restart Windows 10 updates: Step-by-step guide

Windows 10 is an advanced and comprehensive operating system that comes with a great list of features. It also comes with the ability to automatically download and install updates. This is a highly useful feature given that patch management is entirely out of your hands as Windows takes care of reducing vulnerabilities and issues, although there are several patch management tools that make the task less onerous. That said, it can be a bit annoying too, especially when an update followed by a restart necessary to commit the updates, happens during your working hours. Of course, updates are necessary for your computer’s security and better functioning. So, turning updates off entirely in Windows 10 is not a good idea. Instead, you can have the option to decide when you want to install the updates and restart your system to commit them.

To reduce this frustration, Microsoft came up with a feature called active hours, where you can set your working hours and Microsoft won’t install updates during this time. But this doesn’t necessarily prevent the OS from restarting during the off-hours, which means, if you leave your work unfinished to get a few hours of sleep, you’ll wake up to see a restarted computer!

So, is there a solution to this problem? Yes. There are two ways to address it. You can either stop your computer from restarting automatically, or you can turn off the Windows 10 update and restart it whenever you want. Let’s see both options.

turn off updates Windows

How to stop your Windows from restarting

In this section, we’ll see how to allow your OS to install updates but stop it from restarting automatically.

Windows Explorer

You can disable automatic reboot through this option. When you enable it, new updates are not committed until you manually restart your computer.

  • Open the start menu.
  • Look for Task Scheduler and open it.
  • Search through the list for a task called “Reboot.”
  • Right-click and disable it.

This should stop the automatic restart.

A word of caution here. This option is not supported by Microsoft, so it may not work at all times. Also, there’s a chance for this task to restart automatically, depending on the updates.

In case it doesn’t work or if the task restarts, follow these steps to disable it permanently.

  • Open Windows Explorer.
  • Navigate to Local disk > Windows > System 32 >Tasks > Microsoft > Windows > UpdateOrchestrator.
  • Navigate to Reboot on your right-hand pane. This should be the third on the list.
  • Right-click Reboot, choose the rename option, and give a different name to it.
  • Double-click the folder and inside it, create a new folder.

These steps will prevent Windows from re-creating the reboot task, so you don’t have to worry about your system restarting after an update.

When you want to restart, do the reverse. Go to UpdateOrchestrator, delete the folder you created, and rename the task to “Reboot” again.

Third-party tools

windows server update

If the above process feels too cumbersome, consider third-party tools like ShutdownGuard that handles this task for you. As the name suggests, this tool prevents automatic shutdown and restart. All that you have to do is download this app and install it on your computer. During the installation, check the “Autostart” option.

Once this tool is installed, it will display a message when an application tries to restart your computer. This way, you can decide to restart it now or later.

You can access this app or change its setting at any time. You’ll find it in the notifications tray at the bottom right-hand side of your computer. Right-click on the ShutdownGuard icon to change its settings.

Local Group Policy editor

The other option is to change the settings of your local Group Policy editor. To do this:

  • Go to the start menu and type gpedit.msc. Press Enter.
  • This opens the Local Group Policy Editor. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Component > Windows Update.
  • Double-click No auto-restart with automatic installations of scheduled updates”
  • Select the Enabled option and click “OK.”
  • Close the local Group Policy editor.

This should work, but you may need Windows 10 Pro for this option.

Thus, these are some ways to prevent an automatic restart after installing updates. Next, let’s see how you can turn off and restart Windows 10 updates. Again, a word of caution here. It’s not the best idea to completely disable updates as they protect your computer from bugs and security vulnerabilities.

How to turn off and restart Windows 10 updates

Depending on your preference, you can choose to turn off updates permanently or postpone it for a few days. Here are some ways to do both.

Turn off automatic Windows updates for a chosen time

When you want to pause the updates for a specific time:

  • Open the Settings option of your Windows.
  • Click on Update and Security.
  • Navigate to Windows Updates.
  • Choose the Advanced Options button on your right-hand pane.
  • You will see a section called Pause updates. Here, choose the date until which you want to pause your Windows 10 updates.

With this, your updates will be paused. You can always restart by changing the date.

Disable automatic updates for 30 days

This is similar to the above option, except that instead of selecting a date until which you want to pause, you can choose a specific number of days, say 30 days, to defer the update. This is just another option to disable as people find it easier to choose in terms of days than dates.

Using Group Policy

You can also use the local Group Policy to disable updates permanently or for a limited time.

  • Open the start menu and go to the Run dialog box.
  • Type gpedit.msc, and this opens the local group policy editor.
  • Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.
  • Look for Configure Automatic Updates policy on the right-hand pane.
  • Double-click to open and choose the “disabled” radio button.
  • Click Apply and OK.

You can always choose the enabled option to restart Windows 10 updates. Also, you can choose the “Not configured” option to go back to the default settings.

When you choose the enable option, you can also customize the updates. You can choose the frequency of installation, the time of installation, and the notification of the same. Choose the settings that work best for you.

Using the registry

You can disable Windows 10 updates through the registry as well. But before you do that, understand that changing anything in the registry is risky and can have untoward consequences. So, keep this as a last resort and only when you 100% know what you’re doing. Also, take a full back up before you change any settings in the registry.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Open the Start menu and the Run dialog box.
  • Type Regedit to open the registry.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows.
  • Right-click the Windows folder on the left pane, select New -> Key. Name this key as WindowsUpdate and press Enter.
  • Again, right-click on the newly-created key and choose New > Key.
  • Name this key as AU and press Enter.
  • Navigate to the right-hand pane and right-click. Select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  • Name this key as NoAutoUpdate and press Enter.
  • Double-click this newly-created key and change its value from 0 to 1.
  • Click the OK button and restart your computer.

With this, Windows 10 updates are disabled permanently on your computer.

If you don’t want to disable permanently, you can choose other values instead of 1. The values are:

  • 2 — Notify for download and auto-install.
  • 3 — Auto download and notify for install.
  • 4 — Auto download and auto-schedule for install.
  • 5 — Allow the local admin to choose the options.

Thus, these are some ways to turn off or restart Windows 10 updates. Do let us know if you know any other way to do it.

Featured image: Pixabay

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4 thoughts on “How to turn off or restart Windows 10 updates: Step-by-step guide”

  1. “Double-click the folder and inside it, create a new folder.”

  2. “Local Group Policy editor” variant does not work in latest W10. You can only disable automatic restart on SCHEDULED TIME, not automatic restart as is. It is slighly tricky setting (read carefully), if you choose “allow”, it means that you allows prohibition of automatic restart, i.e automatic restart can happen anytime.

  3. As of jan-2022 the option is called:
    “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations”

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