How to Stop Windows Update from Automatically Restarting Your PC

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Sometimes Windows automatically downloads updates and then restarts your computer, even if you don't want it to at that moment. There's a way to work around this, however, in Windows 10 and a fix for earlier versions of Windows. Get back control of your PC with the steps below.

windows update restart image warning

Schedule Automatic Restarts in Windows 10

After downloading updates, Windows 10 automatically picks a time to restart your computer for you, based on when you tend to not use it (e.g., 3 am), but that would depend on your computer being on at that time. Instead, choose a more convenient day and time for the reboot so the update gets installed and your work doesn't get cut off. Here's how to tell Windows you want to choose the restart time for Windows Updates:

1. Navigate to the Setings menu. You can get there by selecting Settings from the Start menu.
2. Select Update & Security.

windows updates settings

3. Click Advanced options.

windows updates advanced options

4. Change the dropdown from Automatic (recommended) to "Notify to schedule restart"

windows updates notify

Windows will now tell you when an automatic update requires a restart and ask you when you want to schedule the restart. You'll see the option to select the time and day (up to 6 days forward) in Windows Update like below.

windows updates schedule

MORE: How to Snap 4 Windows at Once in Windows 10

Stop Windows 8 or Windows 7 from Automatically Restarting with the Registry Editor

In previous versions of Windows, there's a registry hack you could use to prevent your Windows Update from restarting your computer. (You could follow the steps below for Windows 10, but many people are reporting it doesn't work, so you might have to just stick with the scheduled automatic restarts above.) Head to the Registry Editor to make the changes.

1. Open the Registry Editor by pressing Win + R to open a run box. Type in regedit and hit Enter.

windows updates regedit

2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

If you don't see the Windows Update or the AU keys, you'll have to create them by following these steps.

2a. Right-click on Windows and go to New > Key

windows updates newkey

2b. Name the key WindowsUpdate (no space)
2c. Right-click on the WindowsUpdate key and go to New > Key again
2d. Name the new key inside WindowsUpdate AU

3. Open the AU key.

4. Right-click in the right-pane and go to New > DWORD (32-bit) Value

windows updates dword

5. Name the new DWORD NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers.
6. Double-click on the DWORD and change the 0 value to 1. Leave it as Hexadecimal.

windows updates noautoreboot

7. Reboot your computer.

Going forward, Windows won't automatically restart your computer after installing updates. However, it's important to know that, after updates are installed, you should definitely still reboot your computer, since important security patches might be involved. Now you just can reboot at a more convenient time for you.

Top photo credit: Microsoft

Add a comment
17 comments
  • Egeslean Says:

    There is no longer an option to change the scheduling. This does not work for Win 10 anymore.

  • Bob Gest Says:

    Like so many others, I have found that this does not work.

  • FedUpWithUpdates Says:

    I disabled Windows Update in Services. I'll reactivate it once per week WHEN I WANT TO UPDATE AND RESTART!

  • EVERISTUS Says:

    THANK u for the above explanation, but i want u to further explain to me what could go wrong with my system, i installed a new Asus mother board and the system keep restarting pleas i want u to assist me right away

  • Jeff Sternman Says:

    This doesn't work after the latest windows updates. The dropdown list is no longer on this screen

  • SWally Says:

    The latest update to Win 10 removed the option to notify before restarting. I leave programs running on my computer and don't want it restarting just because some "update" comes in.

  • Allycat Says:

    This is useless. The layouts look very different on my computer than what's shown here. I finally found the part where I was supposed to be able to stop automatic restart, changed it, but it restarted anyway. After the restart (it was doing another update by the way and it took over an hour to finish) everything looked different again. This time the option to turn off automatic restart is completely gone. Windows is getting more ridiculous after each new version. I seriously consider getting a Mac.

  • Windows 10 Says:

    This article does not tell you how to stop the automatic restart on windows 10. you should change the title!

  • Justyce Says:

    I agree with the other comments as this does NOT work and this is NOT acceptable! My security/DVR system is on Windows 10 and stops recording, etc every time it reboots - even with the noted registry setting updated. Microsoft is really putting out some garbage. Time to go back to Windows 7 until they figure out WTF they are doing!

  • Person Says:

    This doesn't work, the option, "choose how updates are installed" is not there. This feature seems to have been removed from Windows 10. I will have to switch to Linux, I run a telescope with photography software, I simply must have the system remain on at night. This new windows, which they forced me to upgrade to, wasn't compatible with most of the same software, and after spending a lot to get suites that are, it interrupts what I need it to do. I need a medium reliability system that doesn't interrupt my active tasks. This is totally unacceptable. There are many phenomenon that you really only get limited windows to see. This could be extremely harmful to my work.

  • Gari Lare (Papua New Guinea) Says:

    does not work I have this windows vista/ cant prom ted me with the results. Still I need some tips of help from you.
    Regarding laptop ASUS BRAND /

  • Gari Lare (Papua New Guinea) Says:

    does not work I have this windows vista/ cant prom ted me with the results. Still I need some tips of help from you.
    Regarding laptop ASUS BRAND /

  • Gari lare Says:

    i just get impressed to ask a question and would you please help me with some of the tips i have never have had,regarding to the
    hard disk failure. why then my new laptop automatically restart by not prom ted me with the reboot option? genially.

  • Gari lare Says:

    i just get impressed to ask a question and would you please help me with some of the tips i have never have had,regarding to the
    hard disk failure. why then my new laptop automatically restart by not prom ted me with the reboot option? genially.

  • mtnmedic Says:

    None of this works. Windows 10 still reboots to install updates automatically. This is so bogus. It's time for a MASSIVE petition to Microsoft.

  • Peter Wharton Says:

    Does not work. I have this setting in the registry and Windows 10 still reboots to install updates on its own

  • Courtney Says:

    How do yiu stop your wjndows from restarting when it is already doing it
    Plz help meeee

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