Have you ever been sitting at a Windows computer and been informed that an update is available to your OS?  And so like a good security-conscious user, you download and install the update, only to be told that you need to reboot for some reason?  But then you decide that if you've been running without that update for years, then waiting a few hours until your current work is done shouldn't be a big bother.  Except, Windows now pops up a "Restart Now" dialog box every few minutes until you do restart.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to continue running his computer without rebooting.  Here's the secret.  Press Windows-R.  Type "services.msc" in the box and press Enter.  Scroll down the list that appears to the item "Automatic Updates".  Right-click that item and choose "Stop".  All done.  No more notice.  When you do eventually reboot (at your lesiure), the service will restart so that you'll be informed of future updates.  But you won't be annoyed for the rest of the session.


I'm glad you found the info useful. I've been looking for a way to disable that stinking popup for months, and now I don't have to worrk about it any more. :)

You should've just asked. :)
Of course, I don't recommend such things, but it's really not meant for people like you and I. It's mostly targetted at typical users who don't remember to restart their machine, and are still vulnerable

Also, I should mention that it's always a good idea to update ASAP (and some updates don't take wihtout a reboot). See: http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/12/1348250.shtml?tid=172&tid=201

most "typical users who don't remember to restart their machine" don't run Windows 2003 Advanced Server with 99.9% uptime, where restarts really need to be planned a couple days before.

Which is ofcourse where the restart message also pops up.

Thanks Owen!

Awesome, I've been looking for a way to fix this for quite awhile. It's extremely annoying when playing games because the pop-up will minimize them.

how bout a way to disable it permanently while keeping autoupdate on...i'd prefer not to have to do the batch file thing or the services.msc thing (so yeah, i'm lazy)

You can also stop the services from the Run dialog or a dos prompt. Heck, script a batch file.

Press Windows-R. Type the following and press enter:
net stop wuauserv
Alternatively you could start it with
net start wuauserv


Thanks soo much for this help you don't know how much you helped me. That message was soo anoying.

You totally rock!! I typically restart my comp once in 2 weeks and usually have some other stuff running because of which I don't like restarting out of turn. So.. this is something that works!!! Yayy!! ThankzaLott!!


Thank you so much! I have been running a computer analysis that I didn't want it to be stopped due to an automatic system restart. I was chosing "Restart Later" but getting the same message after a couple of minutes later, which was annoying me.. I did what you described and the problem is solved ! Thanks a bunch!!!

Just as an addendum to the "net stop" notes already posted, you can also stop the service by description:

net stop "Automatic Updates"

You can also do this : (Windows XP Pro & Server 2003 only)

* In the Start Menu go to Run type “gpedit.msc” and press Enter
* Now a Group Policy editor will open. In this window navigate to: Computer Configuration -> Administrative Template -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
* Double click on No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations
* In the settings window Choose Enabled and click OK
* Double click on Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations
* In the settings window Choose Disabled and click OK
* Close Group Policy Editor

In this very moment, i have 3 xls opened, an opera browser with 14 windows, adobe reader, winamp, a couple of notepads, a shh session, soon i'll open mapinfo and autocad. And i'm using them all :) If i'd had to restart, i'd have to spend another 20 minutes opening all the apps, and probably i'd curse many people related to mr. Bill.
Thank you very much for saving me a lot of trouble. And thank you, google.

I sufficently thank you for this help! Sometimes i just click at the yes button and i find myself clossing down the windows paving way for a sys's restart when i never wanted.
Thanks and again!
This can never happen to me again!

Excellent, thanks for a solution to this annoying issue.

There's nothing worse than being mid-game and your PC jumps to desktop and prompts you to restart. What's worse is that it is set to sit at the top of all other Windows so you can't ignore it!

4 hours in front of my PC because couldn't restart until my job was done, finally I can go to sleep, thanks!!!

YAY! Thanks!

Damn thing will eventualy reboot the machine for you if you go away, go to sleep etc. I dont know how many times Ive been doing an important file transfer and had this pest reboot my machine for me while I sleep and ruin my transfer!!

Most excellent - but a bit cr@p that I had to look to you to tell me that. The information's *nowhere* to be found on Microsoft's site, or in Windows help (or if it is, I couldn't find it). Thanks again.

After finally having had enough of this microsoft "feature" I asked google for help. Thank You!

Best is when you have a simulation or rendering running for work/class, or in my case last night, my alarm clock waiting to wake me up to catch an early morning train, and MS decided that you need 6 new updates overnight and that they have the authority to automatically restart your computer!!! These disable pestering restart requests and auto restart options should not be buried in the admin dialogs and only serve to make me feel like MS things I'm an idiot. I know where the restart button is and should be the only person with the authority to use it.


Thanks! I just wonder what kind of arrogant programmer thought such an annoying piece of code was worthy of inclusion in the first place. Reveal yourself now... here's your chance to explain your actions :)

I had been cursing & living with this for years. Today I searched it and found a soln. Gr8 thanks. Is there a way to reduce the frequency of the popus instead of swithing off the service. does stopping the service mean it does not look for any further updates also.

Hold down the Windows key, then press the R key. It opens the Run dialog faster than clicking Start, Run.

Thank you so much. This has been an annoyance for me for a very long time. I wish I'd have found this page years ago. You truly made my day.

Works in Vista too, except you have to disable "Windows Update", there is no "Automatic Updates"

thanks! my laptop serves as my alarm clock (windows sidebar) and It wont go off if the computer isnt logged in because of a restart.

Thank you very much! This popup is very annoying when you are running Windows XP MCE and some servers (VMWare). :)

I always have to look this page up whenever the reboot messages start popping up cause I forget the run code so thanks.

What a PITA! It should autosave if it's gonna close your work while your away from your desk. Lost a notepad with notes I was building and had to manually search all my trillian history logs to see if anyone had sent me an IM while I was away.
I have updated my registry with




so that it will only remind in 24 hours if I haven't yet rebooted on my own free will.

Thank god - just finished coding the back-end of a website and ususally i'd just keep hitting the button...
well i've had enough.. windows can wait - it keeps me waiting often enough!!!!

nice rank on google too!

Finally,I am a software developer and 5 minutes is not enough time to write a program. Thank you so much. You saved me probably 6 hours or more of recoding.

Still #1 on Google for 'restart now, restart later'. Excellent tip for this Win2K machine I use at wok, thanks! :D

Thank you very much... could cry - ok maybe not but I'm truly grateful! This is such a simple solution for a "feature" that has plagued my PCs for years now!

Cheers!! I've often left my computer in the past, only to find that I have lost hours of work through my computer restarting as a result of that damn dialog.

Thanks again!

YOUR THE MAN!! Once I stamped on my computer (Seriously) because I simply had had enough I left it for 2 days once just for pure spite of that stupid option!!


Many, many thanks; I hope MS get to read these comments and fix up a better system

"Do not do this. This will stop your Windows from getting updated at all."

If you're only stopping the service (either through services.msc or by command line) and not disabling it through services.msc, it will restart itself on your next reboot. This is the point of having an "Automatic" startuptype. Just to clear up :)

Oh yeah, thanks :)


You are a man amoung men, a demigod to the debased, and a geek's geek. Thank you a thousand times, and may the flies abandon your camel.


wow, this is excellent and so easy! this way i can leave my computer on (it's taking hours to compress old files) without worrying that it'll restart sometime in the night. THANK YOU!

Dude! The fact that this is so utterly obvious it what makes it so genius. Thanks!!

dude your a complete moron, and im not at all surprised your site comes up first for this problem on the every becoming lame search engine google. Your instructions disable updates for windows all together. For those of you that would like the proper solution try;
1. Start > Run… > cmd to launch the Command Prompt
2. Type “sc stop wuauserv” without the quotes


Dude, let's look at who's a complete moron:

Stopping the service allows it to restart when the computer starts. Disabling the service would prevent it from starting in the future.

Perhaps it's easier for people to type the command from the Run box, and that's why the statement also appears in the comments that you didn't read, above.

Ending a comment with "peace" after calling them "moron" is the true sign of idiocy here.

Owen --

You are an awesome individual. Thanks for sharing the tip. Looking at the many accolades above it is clear that you have touched and enriched the lives of many people.


You can set the number of minutes to display the restart message like this:

» In the Start Menu go to Run type 'gpedit.msc' and press Enter
» In the Group Policy editor go to: Computer Configuration -> Administrative Template -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
» Double click on 'Re-propmt for restart with scheduled installations'
» In the settings window choose 'Enabled'
» In the "restart (minutes)" text box enter 1440 and click OK
» Close Group Policy Editor
» Restart the computer.

Now you will be prompted once per day.

While this is an old, old post, Chris's comment is right on target...and I would simply add one thing: on machines where I can't really modify the alert interval (or am unwilling to stop the service when I can spend 500ms doing what I'm about to say) I simply grab the far upper-left corner of the update notice and drag it off the far lower-right corner of my screen. This keeps it forever out of view, until I have a chance to restart, and since I can't easily interact with it without dragging it back on-screen...I can ignore it as long as I like and it never pops up another copy. This takes about half a second on servers and workstations, and is a perfect workaround where the environment should be left alone.

Great trick and it worked! Gawd! I have a 400g 2nd hard drive formatting two partitions and that damn thing kept popping up. A few times when I was not at the computer Update restarted all by itself, without my permission. Harump! I didn't want that to happen in the middle of this formatting. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much. I can't believe it was that easy to get rid of that message. Now I can use my computer without being bothered.

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