Over the years Microsoft has put a lot of effort into making sure that users keep themselves updated with all the latest security patches they need to keep safe. One of the unfortunate side effects of this effort is that when the updates are downloaded and ready to be applied a re-boot of Windows is usually required.
If you’re at the PC when this is required then you’re prompted with a box which will allow you to postpone this re-boot, however if you’re not present then the PC will usually re-boot in 15 minutes of it’s own accord, this can be a problem if you have un-saved open documents or your PC is doing something like ripping some music or video, which will be interrupted.
Fortunately there is a simple registry tweak that will disable the Auto Reboot option, and delay the installation of the updates until the next re-boot.
There are three different ways you can make this change depending on which version of Windows you have, or your level of experience.
- With a Registry merge file (All versions, easy for beginners)
- By manually editing the Registry (All versions, advanced users only)
- With Group Policy Editor (Business, Ultimate & Enterprise versions only)
Using a Registry merge file
- Click here to download the zip file WUReboot.zip to your PC
- Unzip the contents of the downloaded file to the desktop
- Right click the file NoReboot.reg and select the option ‘Merge‘ – the new settings will then be merged into your registry.
- If you want to undo the changes, repeat the line above, but with the file Reboot.reg
Editing The Windows Registry Manually
- Click on the Windows Start button, type ‘regedit‘ into the search box, and click the Registry editor option from the menu.
- Navigate to the registry key – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdateAU
- Right click in the right hand pane and create a new 32-bit DWORD entry called NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers and give it a value of 1.
- To reverse this change simply delete the whole DWORD entry.
With The Group Policy Editor
To open the group policy editor click on the Windows Button and type ‘Group Policy‘ into the search box, from the suggestions select the option ‘Edit Group Policy‘
Once the Group Policy Editor is open, in the left hand pane expand the tree in the following sequence, Computer Configuration then Administrative Templates then Windows Components then Windows Update and finally, in the right hand pane right click on the option No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations where you will see the screen below.
Next select Edit from the context menu.
In the top left corner there is a small set of three radio buttons, to prevent the PC from re-booting, make sure that the option is set to ‘Enable‘, click Apply and OK and you’re all done.
To re-enable automatic re-booting, simply follow the above instructions and select the ‘Disable‘ option instead.