One of Windows 10's most annoying features is its ability to install updates when you're actively using your device, which could cause you to lose unsaved work and valuable time when working on a tight schedule.

Although you can't completely disable automatic updates (at least not using the Settings app), Windows 10 includes "active hours," which is a feature designed to make updates a little less intrusive by letting you specify a period when you're likely to be working on your device. If an update is pending, restarts will happen outside your active hours.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to configure active hours to make sure that your computer doesn't suddenly reboot in the middle of your work to apply updates.

How to set up active hours on Windows 10

If you don't want your device restarting automatically when you're actively working, you can configure active hours using these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click the Change active hours option.

  4. Specify the time range you're usually working on your device.

    Note: The maximum amount of time you can set is 18 hours. If you specify any range that's more than the allowed, it'll be marked as invalid.

  5. Click the Save button.

Once you completed these steps, if there are pending updates, your computer won't reboot during the time range you have specified.

Reschedule an automatic restart

Although you can configure your device to prevent automatic restarts during your active hours, sometimes you may need to put in extra hours in front of the screen, and the last thing you'll want is Windows 10 rebooting in the middle of work to apply an update.

If an update is pending, and you know that you'll be working late, Windows 10 offers an option to reschedule a reboot.

To specify a different restart time, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click the Schedule the restart option. (Only available when a reboot is pending.)

  4. Under "Schedule a time," turn on the toggle switch.

  5. Schedule a time and date (up to seven days in the future) you want to postpone the restart.

After completing the steps, your device won't restart to apply updates until after the schedule you specified.

Using the Local Group Policy Editor and Registry, it is also possible to specify a new default schedule for auto-restart when an update is pending, and you can check the instructions for that here.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources: