Stop Windows 10 from automatically restarting to install new updates by setting up Active Hours.

It can be a little irritating when you come back to your computer to finish working on a report, only to find out that Windows 10 restarted to install new updates, and your work didn't save. While you can't stop updates from downloading and installing into your system, Microsoft is introducing new update improvements with the Anniversary Update of the operating system, which you can already test starting with Windows 10 build 14316 and later releases.

The new improvements come in a new feature called "Active Hours," which aims to make updates more pleasant by letting you specify the hours you're more likely to be using your computer to prevent Windows Update from restarting your system automatically.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to configure Active Hours on your PC to make Windows updates a little less annoying.

How to configure Active Hours on your PC

  1. Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Update & security.
  3. Under Update settings, you will notice a few extra links, click Change Active Hours.

  4. Specify the time you're actively using your computer.
  5. Click Save to commit the changes.

Note that the maximum active length of time you can set is 12 hours. Any other time range will be marked as invalid.

Now everything falls into schedule. Even though you can specify the hours you are actively using your computer, there will alway be those times when you'll have to pull an all-nighter to finish working on a project. And again, the last thing you want is Windows 10 restarting in the middle of your work, which can take some time — even longer if your PC runs into an issue while processing the update.

For these situations, Windows 10 includes the restart options, which you can use to temporarily override and set a custom restart time for the operating system to finish installing the new updates.

To set a custom restart time do the following:

  1. While in the Settings app, go back to Windows Update.
  2. Click the Restart options link under Update settings.
  3. Turn on the feature, and set the custom time and day.

Remember that you will only be able to change the "Restart options" settings when a new update is available. Otherwise, the feature will be greyed out.

This is a small but welcome addition Microsoft is bringing with the Anniversary Update that gives users a little more control over updates, and helps to prevent the loss of unsaved work when auto-save for a specific app or web service is not working correctly or not supported.

Will you be setting up your custom active hours on Windows 10? Tell us in the comments below.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers on Windows 10, you can visit the following resources: