Microsoft releases constant updates to improve stability, squash bugs, and fix security issues. Updates are good for the most part, and you should always keep your machine up to date. However, one thing that bothers some Windows 10 users is that it automatically restarts the system to install updates.
The benefit of this is that no matter the user, the system stays up to date with all the security fixes in place. On the downside, it can be a bit annoying for power users.
To deal with that, Microsoft introduced a new feature in Windows 10 called Active Hours. When enabled, Windows will not auto-restart itself for up to eighteen hours, depending on your configuration. If you think this is not enough time, then you can further extend the auto-restart schedule as shown below.
Using Group Policy Editor
The easiest way to change the auto-restart schedule is to use the Group Policy Editor available to all Windows 10 Pro users.
1. Open Group Policy Editor by searching for “gpedit.msc” in the Start menu. Once opened, go to “Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update.”
2. On the right panel find and double-click on the “Specify deadline before auto-restart for update installation” policy.
3. In the policy properties window select the “Enabled” option, choose the number of days (maximum of fourteen) under the Options section and click “OK” to save the changes.
As per the policy info, you can only extend the auto-restart schedule up to fourteen days. So even though the policy option lets you choose up to thirty days, Windows will only defer auto-restart for fourteen days.
Additionally, for the policy to work, the “Always automatically restart at scheduled time” and “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations” policies should not be enabled, meaning both these policies should either be disabled or set to “Not Configured.” You can find both these policies at the same place as the policy we just modified.
To make the changes take effect, restart your system. To revert back, simply disable the policy.
Using Windows Registry
If you are a Windows 10 Home user, the only way to configure the auto-restart schedule is to use the Windows Registry. In the Registry we need to create a key and a couple of values. To be on the safe side, back up the Registry before proceeding.
1. First, search for “regedit” in the Start menu, right-click on it and select “Run as administrator.” In the registry editor copy and paste the below path in the address bar and press Enter.
2. We need to create a new key. To do that, right-click on the Windows key and select “New -> Key.” Name the key “WindowsUpdate.” If you already have the key, proceed to the next step.
3. Right-click on the right panel and select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.” Name the value “SetAutoRestartDeadline.”
4. Double-click on the value and set Value Data as “1.”
5. Just like before, create another DWORD value and name it “AutoRestartDeadlinePeriodInDays.”
6. Double-click on the value, select “Decimal” under the Base section, enter the number of days you want to delay auto restart and click “OK” to save the changes. Similar to the Group Policy method, you can only extend the update auto restart for up to fourteen days.
Now, restart your computer to make the registry changes take effect. If you ever want to revert back, just delete the value we just created, or change the value data of “SetAutoRestartDeadline” to “0.”
Comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences regarding using the above method to prevent Windows from auto-restarting to install updates as long as possible.