How to Stop Windows from Auto Restart to Install Updates

We’ve all been there before: you step away, leaving your PC on, and it restarts automatically without your permission. This is typically due to the automatic installation of Windows updates. When this occurs, you may lose all your open windows, browser tabs, and other essential elements of your work.

Naturally, an effortless way to prevent this from happening is to disable Windows from automatically downloading and installing updates. However, this leaves us vulnerable to missing crucial security updates.

If you’ve found yourself in this predicament, but want to enjoy the best of both worlds, here’s a method to keep Windows updating automatically while preventing it from restarting your PC every time it needs to install an update.

This workaround doesn’t disable the restart prompt Windows displays after it has downloaded updates, but it does prevent Windows from automatically restarting if you don’t respond to the prompt within 15 minutes.
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Stop Windows From Automatically Restarting

This is going to require some registry editing, so the first thing to do is open Windows’ built-in registry editor, Regedit. To do this, open the Run prompt by pressing Win + R, type regedit into the text box and then press enter or click OK.

Launching Regedit

This will open Regedit. Before we go any further, it’s important that you make a backup of your registry, since editing the registry is risky and can easily go wrong. Just go to File > Export and save the exported registry file anywhere you please.

Exporting Registry

Now, navigate through the registry to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. Once you’re here, right-click on Windows and add a new registry key by going to New > Key. Name the new key WindowsUpdate.

Once the WindowsUpdate key has been created, right-click on it and add another new key named AU. The path should now be HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU.

Adding WindowsUpdate And AU Keys

Now all that’s left to do is to add two DWORDs to this key. Do this by right-clicking on the AU key and going to New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. The two new DWORDs you need to add are:

  • AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime
  • NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers
Adding DWORDs

You’ll have to set the value of the NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers to 1. To do this, just double-click on the DWORD in the right panel then change the Value data in the window that appears from 0 to 1.

Changing DWORD Value

And there you have it: Windows should no longer automatically restart to install recently downloaded updates.