Disable restart after Automatic Updates

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 18, 2007
Updated • Apr 22, 2014
Windows, Windows Updates

The Windows operating system is configured to check for updates automatically. What this means is that the operating system checks for updates regularly to download and install them on the system when they are discovered.

The computer needs to be restarted after the updates have been installed on it, usually because Windows can't update some files while it is running and needs to do so on boot or because the Registry needs to be reloaded.

The dialog box after installing all updates gives you the choice to either Restart Now or Restart Later. Restart Now should be pretty obvious, this will restart Windows immediately while Restart Later displays the same annoying dialog again asking if you want to Restart Now or Restart Later.

This is really annoying if you are currently doing something that cannot be interrupted and after the third or fourth time that dialog box is really putting even the calmest user to a test.

Disabling Automatic Updates should not be an option for most users which is why we have to look at other solutions to disable or modify the restart dialog box after installing updates.

1. Stop the Windows Update Service

Stopping the Windows Update Service will get rid of the dialog box nagging you to restart now or later. Updates will be installed after the next reboot and the Automatic Updates service will be enabled with the next start of Windows XP as well again. Type the following line on the command prompt. You can alternatively open the services configuration by typing services.msc and stopping the Automatic Updates Service.

sc stop wuauserv

Note: If you are running Vista or newer, you need to open an elevated command prompt. You do that by tapping on the Windows key, typing cmd.exe, right-clicking the result, and select run as administrator from the options menu.

2. Modifying Group Policies

Run gpedit.msc from the run box which should open the Group Policies window. Note that it is only part of professional versions of Windows. The user has two options in here. First he could disable the restart for Automatic Updates completely or edit the interval of the nagging Restart dialog. Both settings are found in Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update

No auto-restart for schedule Automatic Updates installations will disable automatic restart and disable the dialog box asking you to restart now or later while Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations lets you edit the interval of the appearance of the dialog box in minutes.

The small software Auto Reboot Remover disables or enables the automatic restart option as well.

Update: Please note that newer versions of Windows display options to postpone the restart by a certain amount of time. The maximum is four hours which may be enough time sometimes, but not enough at others. The two options above are still valid for those new systems.


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  1. MKR said on June 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    How did I never think to stop the service?

    Thanks. :D

    Now I can keep watching this live stream without constant reminders to restart.

    1. Darkwiz666 said on October 22, 2009 at 2:59 am

      Wow…that’s the EXACT same reason why i’m doing MINE! XD

  2. Mike said on April 5, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Martin you just improved my life immeasurably. This is one of the most obscene and insulting processes in the history of computing. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  3. weylin said on December 1, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks, that helps.

    What the hell is there problem anyways? Cant they put a ILL RESTART IT BY MYSELF, THANK YOU button?

    Im trying to do stuff on the computer that cannot be interupted at the moment and that window is a pain!

    Once again, thanks

  4. PeterE said on November 18, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    I just use PowerMennu


    which allows you to do a bunch of great things (set priorities, always on top and transparencies for any window) but most importantly allows you to minimize a window to the system tray. When the first restart window comes up, right click on the title bar and select “minimize to tray”. My restart nagger window has been sitting in my tray for a couple of days now.

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