Disabling the automated Windows Updates forced reboot

Scheduled automatic updates may require a restart of your system and if you happen to be away from your computer a forced shutdown can cause problems. You may have running programs with open data files and the waiting time during a forced restart may not be enough to gracefully close these files. These data files can become corrupted!

However, if you have your system configured to automatically download and install updates then you can configure your system to wait for your command before it reboots. This can be achieved through the Local Group Policy as shown below:

  1. In the Start search text box type gpedit.msc and press enter
  2. Go to the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update node
  3. Enable the No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations policy – This means 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.

On the other hand, if you schedule Windows Update just to download updates without automated installation then you end up with your Shutdown button replaced with Install Updates and then Shut Down computer. If this annoys you, you can enable the policy setting, Do not display ‘install Updates and Shut Down’ option in Shut Down Windows dialog box. If you enable this policy setting, ‘Install Updates and Shut Down’ will not appear as a choice in the Shut Down Windows dialog box, even if updates are available for installation when the user selects the Shut Down option in the Start menu.

In addition there is a registry tweak that performs a similar function. Go here to find how to apply this registry tweak.

Note: Be aware that the computer needs to be restarted for the updates to take effect.