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How to stop Windows 10 from performing automatic restarts after installing updates

Windows 10 is an advanced OS that includes an extensive list of great features, but its tendency to reboot automatically to apply new updates is not one of them.

Although updates are necessary to ensure your device are in line with the latest improvements and security patches, if you don't restart soon enough, Windows 10 will eventually reboot automatically to finish applying updates. It simply isn't a good user experience.

In an attempt to mitigate this issue, in the Anniversary Update, Windows 10 introduced Active Hours to prevent installing updates while you're actively working on your computer. However, this won't stop Windows 10 from restarting during off hours, which can be a problem if you typically leave your computer in the middle of a task for an extended period.

Fortunately, there is a workaround that can be traced to Winaero, which allows you to take full control and prevent Windows 10 to reboot on its own everytime a new update installs.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to prevent Windows 10 from rebooting after downloading and installing an update.

How to stop your PC from automatically restarting after installing updates

Important: Before proceeding note that this is a workaround not supported by Microsoft, and it can stop working at any time. You should use it at your own risk.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Task Scheduler and click the result to open the tool.
  3. Right-click the Reboot task and select Disable.

Once you completed the steps, your device will no longer restart after downloading and installing new updates. However, new updates won't apply, and future updates won't install until you manually reboot your computer.

Additional steps (if needed)

In the case, Windows 10 automatically re-enables the Reboot task; you can stop this behavior by doing the following:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type the following path and click OK:%windir%\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\UpdateOrchestrator
  3. Select the Reboot file without an extension, right-click it, and select Rename.

  1. Rename the Reboot file to Reboot.old.
  2. Right-click inside the folder, select New, and click on Folder.

After you've completed the steps, Windows 10 will no longer be able to re-create the task to reboot your computer automatically.

If you want to revert the changes, go back to the UpdateOrchestrator folder and delete the Reboot folder and rename the Reboot.old file back to Reboot.

Then follow the Task Scheduler steps mentioned above but on Step 3 select Enable.

Note: We're not saying that you should skip installing updates, as they're important to keep your device secure and up to date. However, there are scenarios where you make want to take full control and decide exactly when to restart your computer to apply new updates, and this is when knowing how to stop automatic reboots comes in handy.

More Windows 10 resources

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

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

43 Comments
  • It would be awesome if MS developed some options for more graceful reboots. It's really because you can't control the shutdown and restart conditions (like reopening all open apps or something) that it's such a problem.
  • This feature isn't working on my Lumia ...
  • PC only.......... sorry.
  • I thought it is clearly visible that this a PC only "feature".. If not, tell where to find the reg editor on my Lumia 950XL.
  • Enable developer mode and install Interop tools 1.9.
  • Reboots are part of the update process, deal with it and move on. Set the active hours to all times except early hours of the morning or something if they're that much of a problem
  • I often times have many things open, and a reboot would close all of them, my ISP requires a login every so often so I'll come back to "sign-in" pages of the web, throwing my 40+ tabs out of whac. Turn of auto-reboot and I'm good. 
  • Screwing up and losing work is a bad part of an update process that this article informs on how to avoid. Move on to other articles if you're someone who isn't used to leaving work half finished when you need to abruptly put your laptop to sleep to complete other tasks. Many of us have lost lots of work and time due to idiotic forced and intentional reboots that past versions of the OS didn't plague us with.
  • This is the must stupid thing I have ever heard. Updates should not be this intrusive. I'm sorry i love windows 10 but Microsoft are in the wrong here.
  • It's absolutely HORRIBLE. It's not a "deal with it and move on" type of problem. Enterprise users don't have to suffer this kind of nonsense but everyone else does. If you've got a lot of work open that takes a while to set up (e.g. number of documents open) a forced restart can cause you to waste lots of time setting up. I've also had documents corrupted because of a night time forced restart. Luckily I have Windows Pro and was able to hack it so that updates are not force installed (they get installed when _I_ want them to... which usually is the second I receive the update notice because I am deathly afraid of an unattended reboot given how bad Windows 10 is at handling the install process). If your device has drive level encryption turned on (which we should nowadays unless you've got your user profile encrypted) you're SOL if there's an unattended reboot. You have to wait for the entire process to continue once you come back to your device because it can't get past the device level encryption. The tendency to force an install on a shutdown is also highly problematic to file corruption/OS stability. Let's say you're on a laptop with a battery that's almost empty. You need to shut down leave a little juice in your battery for later. If you shut down properly Windows will force, EVEN ON A NEARLY EMPTY BATTERY, an update install. Battery runs out half way during the update and you've got a corrupted OS and non-functional computer. The way Microsoft has handled updates with Windows 10 is an unmitigated disaster. Apple can handle updates smoothly. Linux can handle in-place updates that don't even require a reboot. Why does Windows need to reboot nearly every time it applies an update? Is Windows still that poorly designed? I thought they re-engineered Windows 8 and 10 to deal with the legacy crap from earlier versions of Windows?
  • Wish there was a workaround for phones. I use my phone as my alarm, and several times it hasn't gone off because the phone failed to restart properly overnight
  • Just set your active hours to night times, I did this and nothing happened till now.
  • I've set my active hours. That's why i said it tries, but fails, to restart overnight.
  • Oh, well than I don't get your problem :D
  • No, me either. Just fails to restart. Maybe it's faulty.
  • But wait if you set your active hours to night times, then it is intended that it doesn't restart, because therefor we got the active hours feature, to prevent it from restarting itself, when we "actively" use it.
  • Wow, they have this same sh*t experience on windows phones? Oh well, I just keep appreciating my decision to never consider that platform...
  • LMAO you wish you knew what you're talking about
  • "However, this won't stop Windows 10 from restarting during off hours, which can be a problem if you typically leave your computer in the middle of a task for an extended period." I think your guidance would be a lot more helpful if you simply encouraged users NOT to leave tasks open for extended periods when updates are pending. It is *never* a best practice to walk away from a PC for more than a few minutes without first saving your work and/or closing open files. Knowing that your computer may restart for a power loss or a myriad of other reasons, *including updates*, should encourage some common sense. And *in particular* if you are aware of pending updates (Windows always notifies you), then a proactive restart on your terms is a vastly better solution than trying to disable restarts altogether.
  • I've done things in 3d that have taken hours to render, I'll walk away from my PC and live my life instead of waiting all day.
  • "It is *never* a best practice to walk away from a PC for more than a few minutes without first saving your work and/or closing open files." You're sounding so shortsighted with that statement. Who are you to dictate how everyone's workflow goes? Some people leave their Laptop/Tablets going through some file converting, or exporting, or rendering, or even more common, downloading process while they do something else. Some use their Laptop/Tablet as a second alarm clock (including me). In any of those cases, having the computer restart due to some stupidly-forced update is not welcome. "Knowing that your computer may restart for a power loss or a myriad of other reasons, *including updates*" Power loss would definitely not be the reason for Laptop/Tablet computers, you're thinking merely about desktops. If your system is restarting without consent, it's already sounding like a stupidly unreliable system, and you shouldn't rely on it...that's probably part of why Windows 7's usage share has stabilized ( http://www.computerworld.com/article/3175094/windows-pcs/windows-7-share... ); many don't find windows 10 to be reliable as of now.
  • "Knowing that your computer may restart for a power loss............" How quaint.  Here in the 21st century, we have these things called Uninterruptable Power Supplies.  Power loss will not cause a restart for my desktop.   Nor will it for a laptop.     There are many reasons to leave your PC running overnight, as others have mentioned.  Just because you have no need to, is no reason for you to pontificate such sage advice as "It is *never* a best practice to walk away from a PC for more than a few minutes without first saving your work and/or closing open files". 
  • We have an older stratasys printer that needs to be teathered to a computer via USB to run. I've lost a lot of overnight prints because of automatic restarts. It wastes a lot of time and money.
  • "I think your guidance would be a lot more helpful if you simply encouraged users NOT to leave tasks open for extended periods when updates are pending." I love it. Your advice is to not use a computer. Modern computers are stable. Many modern computers are laptops. Modern computer can stay on stably without power failure for weeks or even months on end. Modern software usually autosaves. Some operating systems can gracefully handle a restart or a shutdown and restore everything. Windows cannot. Modern operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux can gracefully handle updates. Windows 7 can handle updates sort-of (it takes forever but that's a different story). Windows 10. Why is it so backwards? Anyway, back to your advice. You basically are saying that the user is wrong and the short-sighted developer is right. This is the same attitude that made DOS software terrible compared to comparable Mac software. Mac software was designed for the user. DOS software was designed for developer convenience. It took longer to write Mac software because it was better. You're telling me we need to go back to that bass-ackwards approach to software development?
  • If you fear updates to re-enable it, simply make a scheduled task to disable it every startup... Start tasks scheduler > new task. As condition, use "At startup" or "At logon" In the "Actions" tab, add this: -Program: schtasks.exe  - Arguments: /change /disable /tn "\path_to_your_task_folder\task name" In general tab, if you have multiple user account, choose a local administrator then check "Run whether user is logged or not" and "Run wth highest privileges".   You can also disable windows update service (or other services, like nvidia or intel stuff you don't need) by adding this action: -Program: sc.exe  - Arguments: config wuauserv /start=disabled (replace wuauserv by other services names if required)   The same way, you can add a task to renable windows update the 1st of each month Condition: Every month action 1 : -Program: sc.exe  - Arguments: config wuauserv /start=auto action 2 : -Program: sc.exe  - Arguments: start wuauserv action 3 : -Program: wuauclt.exe  - Arguments: /detectnow then go to the settings tab and check "Run task as soon as possible when a scheduled start is missed". I never tried the "wuauclt.exe /detectnow" on win 10, so... at your own risks...
  • Great idea! However, as a test, I tried using "sc.exe config wuauserv start= disabled" in command administrator prompt ( had to get rid of the / before start as it would not run with) got the message "ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS" Ok, but when I go to task scheduler reboot is still active!
    I can disable it manually from there but that defeats the point of this trick.
  • OK I think I got it now. wuauserv  is for the windows update not the reboot. What if you want to get the updates but not autoreboot? So your updates are installed on manual reboot not automatic reboot.
  • So I tried "SchTasks.exe /change /disable /TN \System32\MusNotification.exe" in admin command prompt and got  "....MusNotification.exe" does not exist in the system, although it is there if I look in explorer. MusNotification.exe being the active task in Reboot under UpdateOrchestra.
  • After a bit of googling, and trying a few (eg taking ownership of Reboot in UpdateOrchestrator), the best solution I could find was RebootBlocker https://www.udse.de/en/windows-10-reboot-blocker which installs a service to update the active hours every hour on the hour. It seems to work OK giving a rolling twelve hours. I could see all the other methods being possibly affected by some windows update in the future.
  • The second image is not located in the task scheduler it's an image of the file explorer and you say to click disable but you highlight rename so that's confusing.
  • Oddly I always thought windows 10 eliminated automatically installing updates and rebooting, hasn't happened to me since upgrading. Windows 7 was the worst offender, would install updates and reboot the computer while I'm playing Battlefield.
  • Odd... I had auto-reboot issues with Vista, but Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 were perfecly controllable as long as you didn't leave Windows Update on automatically install updates.  I actually always set Windows Update Settings to Download updates but don't automatically install so it wouldn't do anything on me, this kind of control is gone from Windows 10.
  • You need the Enterprise edition to do that sort of stuff :(. Mere mortals are confined to the consumer grade crap :(.
  • That's a nice guide, the only issue is that this task has been disabled on my PC for a while and it still restarts on it's own after installing updates
  • I like Windows 10 but find offputting that a "professional" OS won't allow users to easily disable automatic reboots for good.
  • Yeah, Home Edition: no control, Professional Edition: some kind of control, but you need Enterprise Edition for real control... but you can't have that edition unless you have some kind of deal with Microsoft and you need to have a lot of computers to install Windows on for it to be worth it.
  • People need to stop making excuses for Microsoft like stupid fanboys. Since I started using Windows 10, I have never once felt grateful that updates were automatic on restart. It has been an annoying experience. I even had my pc restart while watching a movie.
  • That's problem with your windows 10 installation, your personal experience is not like mine
  • I'm a skilled and experienced computer user. I've used all manner of OS (Windows NT-10, DOS 6.x, Mac System 1-8 + Mac OS X, OS/2, various Linux distros) and gotten them to do things that most others couldn't. Windows 10 is the only OS that actually has me scared because of its auto-update. I'd happily be on Windows 7 (Windows 8 was terrible and 8.1's lame attempt to fix Metro not much better) but I'm on Windows 10 because I appreciate the importance of bug fixes and security updates. Unfortunately, the price with Windows 10 is that you sacrifice a great deal of stability. The threat of unpredictable reboots is offputting. Every single OS I've ever used has allowed for the user to decide when to install an update. Even the notoriously controlling Apple has always allowed users to decide when to install updates, even on their all-in-one closed ecosystem iOS devices. Microsoft made a big mistake when they enabled the forced reboots. I think you'll see Microsoft try to figure out a better way to handle updates. But, in the mean time it's left a nasty taste in many people's mouths. I suppose if you don't work with your Windows computer a forced reboot is not important, but, if your Windows computer is a tool then a forced reboot is the last thing you want to deal with.
  • Not once have I had an unintended forced reboot with Windows 10. But then again, I'm not doing whatever I can to prevent Windows from getting its updates and restarts either. I try doing needed restarts when I can, instead of postponing them indefinitely. Never have a just installed update decided to take down my system. If you have 24/7 systems and for some reasons use Windows 10 with those, there are workarounds like this, but as users they really are not needed.  
  • What is that wallpaper and where do I get it?
  • This update/restart crapola is just reason #27 why I am staying on 8.1.  When you need elaborate workarounds like this - just to bring back basic functionality that Windows has had for 20 years - it's a good indication that Windows 10 is a bad joke. When you have to give it away for a year - and actively trick users into installing it - is another.   10 is the worst version of Windows since ME.  Even Vista was better than this.   
  • Is this the type of thing that knocks you out of what you are working on before you can save it? I had that happen before with windows "updates".... Windows Updates, meet BSOD, BSOD, meet Windows Updates.   Something this disruptive should NOT be an easter egg.