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Stop Windows Update restarting the computer

There are updates to Windows every month and sometimes more frequently. These updates are usually to fix security flaws, but sometimes they add new features too. Windows can automatically download and install updates in the background, which is useful, but not when it needs to reboot the computer to finish.

Windows 7 displays a warning message that the computer needs to be rebooted, but older versions of Windows had fewer warnings. On Windows 7 you can put off the reboot for a short time, but if you are away from your computer and leave it with programs and files open, you could return to find everything gone. Windows has installed updates and restarted. There is a way to prevent this from happening though.

Click Start (and Run on XP) and enter regedit to run the registry editor. In the left-hand pane, find and select the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. Right click it and select New, Key. Name it WindowsUpdate. Right click this new key and again select New, Key, naming it AU. Select it and in the right-hand pane, right click and select New, DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers. Double click it afterwards and set the value to 1.

Close the registry editor and restart Windows for the new setting to be activated. Now Windows won't restart automatically after an update. However, it is a good idea to close your documents and programs and manually restart though. At least you won't lose any work.

Related articles

* Get a better registry editor
* Defragment the registry to boost performance
* The extra options in Windows Update