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.

disable-maintenance-run

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.”

disable-maintenance-new

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

disable-maintenance-file

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…”

disable-maintenance-modify

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.

disable-maintenance-value

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!

13 comments

  1. “How to Permanently Disable Windows Maintenance”
    Switch to a different O/S (BSD, OS/X, Linux)? :-)

    “Windows Maintenance is a well-meaning task”
    The way to hell is paved with good intentions.

    On the face of it automatic updates are great for the reasons you mentioned. However, considering Microsoft’s past history of stealth dirty tricks, I would not trust them to not install a keylogger and/or some other monitoring program as part of their ‘maintenance’ to gather data on the users.

    • @dragonmouth you’re gonna either kill me or call me a dumbass and either way you’d probably be justified. But after I think trying at least 5 different Linux Distros and I’ll admit at least for me Linux Mint worked the best out of all of them. They all had a problem with my built in wifi chip. I tried probably every driver they had listed for my wifi chip. I turned off power management like what was suggested. Uninstalled and reinstalled drivers and yet my Wifi kept disconnecting and reconnecting every 3 minutes. So finally I gave up and went back to Windows 10 Professional. And lo and behold my wifi works perfect again. So not sure what the problem is but if Linux finds the fix for my wifi Issue I’ll go back. Hard to use an OS when you have to be tied to a wired connection only. At least for me it was that way. I know I know I’m a dumbass

      • My solution to permanently disabling Win Maint by switching O/S was very much tongue in cheek.

        What distro and what WiFi chip is giving you trouble?

          • I assume that you have done a web search on “mediatek mt7630e drivers Linux” From the hits it looks like there are many Mint users who have/had problems with that chip.

            From what I see the ‘mediatech’ chip is manufactured by Ralink. Have you tried Ralink drivers?

            Have you tried ‘ndiswrapper’? I have never used it myself so I don’t know much about it but I think it allows you to use Windows drivers on Linux.

  2. After digging around on the Web, I find that removing Cortana from Windows 10 Home is nigh on impossible. There are means of doing so with Win 10 Professional, but the Home version ‘apparently’ has a different file setup that wasn’t covered in the article, and I rec’d no response from the author. Although I have technically turned it off, periodically the freaking annoyance pops up a big black box and demands I ask it something. This has got to be a system drain, even if it actually did stay in disabled mode. I would have been perfectly happy with Windows7 ..but nope! No longer. Now you have to jump through hoops to make Windows 10 act like Windows 7.

  3. @dragonmouth You are seeing everything I saw and tried all of that. I even tried installing the windows drivers. And everything that you saw I tried and no matter what I did every 3 minutes the wifi would disconnect and reconnect. And I saw that it seems to be a common issue with this wifi chip. So until one of the Linux Distros resolves that I’m gonna have to stick with windows or at the very least do a dual boot setup. I remember you once before said you didn’t like any of the Ubuntu based Linux Distros which Mint is one one of those. Which one is your distro of choice? And does it have the taskbar on the bottom your Distro of choice? Even if it doesn’t I’d be willing to try your Distro of choice as a dual boot setup this go around

    • ” So until one of the Linux Distros resolves that”
      Ostensibly the problem with certain WiFi chips may look like shortcoming in Linux. However, the more I think about it, the more it looks like the old ‘Win modem/Win printer’ problem of some years ago when printer and modem manufacturers made them to only work with Windows. I know, the history lesson is not helping you any. :-) It would be nice if the chip makers released the specs or provided drivers for all O/Ss.

      My dislike for Ubuntu and its offspring has no bearing on whether you should or should not use any of them. For the past year or so I have been using PCLinuxOS. Prior to that I used Mepis but it was a one-man show and the developer decided to retire. For most users almost any distro on the DistroWatch list will be good. Having said that, one should use a distro for at least couple of months before determining whether one can live with it. I would stay away from Gentoo, Linux From Scratch and maybe Arch. Those the user has to compile from scratch so are recommended for people with some Linux knowledge (or for masochists).

      The placement of the taskbar is a function of the desktop, not of the distro. KDE, XFCE, LXDE, all have the tskbar on the bottom. GNOME and its derivatives have the taskbar at the top. Some Desktop Environments allow you to move the taskbar to any edge of the screen that you wish.

      • @dragonmouth I completely forgot about those days of printer and modem manufacturers only making proprietary drivers for windows os’s only. So that makes complete and total sense with this issue that I have or had. And your dislike for Ubuntu and there offspring I do pay attention to how you feel about them because you know I highly value and respect your decisions the way I see it is if you dislike Ubuntu and it’s offspring there’s a very good reason for it and therefore if I want to avoid problems I’m gonna pay attention to and listen to what you have to say. And if you think PC Linux is the best Linux distro and has worked well for you then I’m gonna give it a shot as a dual boot system. The only thing that scares me is I always forget how to shrink the windows partition to make room for the Linux system. And also during the Linux install I always forget what choice to pick when making the swap partition

        • I must reiterate that my dislike for Ubuntu should not deter anyone from using it, just as my dislike for Windows should not (and does not) deter anyone from using it no matter how much respect they may have for my decisions.

          I dislike Canonical and Ubuntu on philosophical grounds. To me they seem like the Microsoft and Windows of the Linux world. Ubuntu-based distros are/work great when used as installed by default. I like to uninstall all the software that I will never use. That is not possible with these distros, or at least very difficult. Ubuntu-based distros do not allow direct root signon which I insist on. Ubuntu-based distros allow you to use Linux, they do not really teach you Linux.

          “if you think PC Linux is the best Linux distro”
          The ‘BEST’ distro is the one that works for YOU. PCLinuxOS works for me for now. On my desk, I have a stack of 20+ DVDs with various distros that I will be trying on my test system to find the ‘best’ one. If you are used to Mint, feel comfortable with it and like it, stick with it. If you feel adventurous then by all means try other distros. You may even find one that will have no problems with your WiFi chip.

          “I always forget how to shrink the windows partition to make room for the Linux system”
          There are two solutions, both involving putting each O/S on its own drive. 1) permanently install two hard drives in your PC, or 2) use a rack with swappable trays or a docking station. The advantage of #1 is that the drive is mounted out of sight. The disadvantage is that the drive is mounted permanently. The advantage of #2 is that you can have many drives, each with a different O/S just ready to be plugged in and no need for GRUB or dual booting. The disadvantage is that you will have multiple drives laying around. And using a docking station is a little Rube Goldberg looking.

          “during the Linux install I always forget what choice to pick when making the swap partition”
          Swap can be part of the root partition or it can be stand-alone. When stand-alone, it can be on its own drive. The recommendation for its size used to be twice your RAM but now, with m/b holding up to 64GB of RAM, swap need not be more than 4GB.

          • @dragonmouth your solution for dual booting to have each OS on it’s own drive would be the ultimate solution if I had an actual PC. Unfortunately I’m using a laptop as a PC. So I would have to keep swapping hard drives in order for what you said to work in my scenario unless I was able to use an external drive via USB. So in my scenario if I want both windows and Linux I would have to dual boot. And again I do trust your judgment and I’m gonna give PC Linux a go until you find something even better

  4. Why turn it off? To then put a bunch of programs to optimize your computer? Funny though. Just need to adjust at a convenient time, for example at night, when you watch a movie or a minimum load, or once a week.

  5. @SaulGoldfarb:
    Ahhh, the old ‘When you’re a hammer…………” conundrum! :-)
    I’m used to using a PC, so my solutions are PC-centric. My apologies. I should realize that today most people use portable devices. Just like Win modems, I am from the last millennium. LOL

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Stories