How to Permanently Disable Windows Maintenance

In the more recent iterations of Windows, a feature called “Windows Maintenance” came bundled with the software. This tool performs maintenance work on your PC every day at a specified time. If it detects the computer is busy or turned off at that time, it performs the maintenance the next time your PC is left idle for approximately five minutes.

While useful for some, users who want to turn off this feature in Windows 8 and beyond will be annoyed to discover that it isn’t optional! Past Windows 7, there’s no longer an option within Windows to fully shut down automatic maintenance. All you can change is the time that Windows will perform the maintenance which doesn’t help if you want to stop it activating altogether.  You can still turn it off once it has started, but what if you don’t want it starting at all?

Before we go around turning off features within Windows, it’s a good idea to actually figure out what, exactly, is being turned off!

On the topic of Windows Maintenance, Microsoft says the following:

Windows depends on execution of inbox and third-party maintenance activity for much of its value-add, including Windows Update, and automatic disk defragmentation, as well as antivirus updates and scans.

The goal of Automatic Maintenance is to combine all background maintenance activity in Windows and help third-party developers add their maintenance activity to Windows without negatively impacting performance and energy efficiency.

It’s a little cryptic as to what, exactly, Windows Maintenance does, but it appears to automatically handle Windows Updates, disk defragging, and ensuring the PC is free of viruses and malware.

But these all sound like good, positive things to have Windows perform on your computer. Why on earth would you want to shut it off?

For some users automatic maintenance does a lot more harm than good. When left alone for five minutes, the PC’s processor and disk activity can go through the roof, which can considerably heat up both. Users have reported that the system becomes incredibly sluggish and unresponsive when coming back to it after maintenance has begun, and others even report that it’s crashing their computers. These users would prefer to be able to leave their PC alone for five minutes without it causing problems, and as such will want to turn off automatic maintenance.

Even if Windows performing maintenance on your computer sounds like something you’d want, the disabling method we’ll be exploring can be toggled on or off by changing a single value. If you find yourself wanting to perform maintenance on your PC, you can turn it back on and manually activate it by yourself, so don’t worry about losing the maintenance feature forever!

So how do you disable Windows Maintenance from starting automatically?

To do this you need to open the registry. Press “Windows Key + R” and type regedit, then click OK.

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In the registry editor it’s important not to change files unless you’re told to! An errant change within the registry can cause havoc for your software or even the operating system itself. Make sure you’re extra careful in this window!

On the left pane navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then SOFTWARE, Microsoft, Windows NT, CurrentVersion, Schedule, and finally Maintenance. On the right look for a file called “MaintenanceDisabled.” If you don’t see it, right-click on the right pane and click “New”, then “DWORD (32-bit) Value.”

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Call your new file “MaintenanceDisabled.” (Make sure to get the spelling and capitalisation correct!)

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Regardless of whether the file was there or not, we need to tell it to disable maintenance. Right click on the “MaintenanceDisabled” file and click “Modify…”

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In the box that appears set the “value data” to 1. This enables the “MaintenanceDisabled” option which will therefore disable Windows Maintenance. Keep the Hexadecimal option selected, then click OK.

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Restart your PC and Windows Maintenance will be fully disabled on your PC.

If you want to re-enable Windows Maintenance, change the value from a 1 to a 0 and click OK. Then, after a restart, you can manually start up maintenance on your own terms, rather than Windows’!

Windows Maintenance is a well-meaning task aimed at keeping your PC in good shape. Sometimes, however, it can do more harm than good. By following these steps, you can shut off the feature altogether. Even better, you can re-enable it whenever you want, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Do you entrust the maintenance of your PC to Windows? If you don’t use Windows, would you if you did? Let us know below!

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