How to Disable Automatic Restart in Windows 8.1, Windows 8 or Windows 7

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windows update restart

Most of the time, Windows downloads updates quietly in the background while you are working and then installs them at your next shutdown or restart. However, if you wait too long to reboot on your own or your update occurs at a scheduled time, the operating system may warn you that it's going to reboot in a few minutes, unless you postpone further messages for a certain time (usually 10 minutes to 4 hours). If you fail to postpone, Windows will reboot without your permission. 

Fortunately, you can set Windows 8.1, Windows 8 or Windows 7 to stop automatically restarting after updates with a simple change to the registry.

1. Launch the Registry Editor by hitting Windows + R, entering regedit into the dialog box and hitting Enter.

run regedit

2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Policies/Microsoft/Windows.

navigate to windows registry key

3. Create a new registry key called WindowsUpdate under Windows if one does not already exist. You can create a new registry key by right clicking on the Windows key, selecting New then Key and renaming the folder which appears to WindowsUpdate.

registry new key

rename to windowsupdate

4. Create a new registry key named AU under WindowsUpdate.

create registry key au

5. Create a DWORD Value named NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers in the AU Key. To create a new DWORD value, right click in the right window pane and select New then DWORD Value. Then rename the value as needed.

new dword value

rename dword key

6. Set NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers to 1. You can set the value by double clicking on the DWORD name and entering the appropriate number in the dialog box which appears.

set dword value

7. Close the Registry Editor and Reboot.

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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • P. N. Gwynne Says:

    Does this work in 64-bit architecture? Or should I use a QWORD instead?

  • Dara Says:

    Thank you for this. Stupid windows update restarted my computer while I was editing an image in Photoshop and I lost days of work/editing history that I can't recover.

  • Charles Phillips Says:

    Is reboot necessary to implement the changes?

  • George Jacobs Says:

    I'm running Windows 8.1 and the registry hack worked for me today.I edited the registry and that was all. Computer did not reboot, and I did nor reboot it.

  • Lazy Says:

    Instead of pictures (can't copy and paste) and long instructions, would it not be easier to just run a .reg file or tell them to paste these contents into a .reg and run and reboot?

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

  • Mindy Says:

    This worked for me. The lock screen notification even changed from "Your PC will restart." to "Please restart at your convenience..."

    Or something like that. Basically less belligerence.

    Thanks Avram!

  • risc Says:

    This does not work, had this setting and today was forced to restart in the middle of something. horrible that MS has decided this setting is what i want - it clearly is not.

  • oscar Says:

    i was disappointed by the last bit of instructions, "close regedit and reboot" (damn windows..)

    the very thing i was trying to avoid, i have sensitive work that i can not save because of password issues..

    maybe if i turned off wifi and reset the date 1 day back so it doesn't know its time to reboot? lol..

    Anyway very precise, easy to follow instruction.

  • Luke Says:

    Why the fuck is it so complicated? this is typical of your generation X baby boomer bullshit way of working. give it a decade and it'll all be a fresh. thank god.

  • Disappointed Says:

    This registry hack does NOT work anymore.

  • Ella Says:

    PLEASE update this article. This trick no longer works!

  • chris Says:

    Help! it says it already has a key called WindowsUpdate.

  • Bob Says:

    This worked for me, not sure why the others are having issues. Also, I didn't need to restart after applying it, it picked up the change right away.

  • Tom Says:

    I had done that, but this morning the damn thing restarted automatically after an update.. It may have worked in the past but not any longer..

  • marcus Says:

    This does not work

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