• ARTICLES
SEARCH

How-To Geek

Temporarily Disable Windows Update’s Automatic Reboot in Win7 or Vista

So you’re in the middle of doing something important on your computer when the “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates” dialog comes up, and asks you to restart your computer.

image

Sure, you can postpone it up to 4 hours, but then the dialog will just come up again. If you were downloading some important files you might not want the computer to reboot automatically.

The quick way to disable the reboot for the current session is to stop the Windows Update service from running. You can do this by opening an administrative mode command prompt.

Type cmd into the start menu search box, and use Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open in administrative mode. You could also right-click the item in the menu and choose Run as Administrator.

Once at the prompt, just type in the following:

net stop “windows update”

image

Don’t worry, the service will start right back up when you reboot your computer, but at least you don’t have to deal with the restart dialog.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/3/07

Comments (38)

  1. David Vivek

    Hello; my question is as a result of notification “windows is configuring updates” and all my work of the moment disappears and in fact windows shuts down and re-boots immediately. This happened for the second time; this time upon start, the message “dock view needs to be disabled now; to do so click here”; I didn’t make it before that note disappeared. Are these related messages? How can I resolve that windows no-longer randomly updates and shuts down? Thank you!

  2. Sue G

    I tried this–it says system error 5 access is denied
    !! help!

  3. Victoria

    How do I undo this command? It did not end up being the solution to my problem so I want to undo it.

  4. Ian Morris

    Sue G – you need to run the cmd prompt as administrator. right click and choose the run as admin option.

  5. jensn

    i love you ;D been looking for this everywhere

  6. anon

    Victoria, As he says just reboot and it will undo the changes or if you need to start it again without reboot just run (as administrator) net start “windows update”

  7. anon

    Oh and if you want to have it disable it perminantly check out this link
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/prevent-windows-update-from-forcibly-rebooting-your-computer/

  8. Rick

    On Windows 2003 you need:

    net stop “automatic updates”

  9. Antu

    It helps lot for me. I start to initialise the database from my terminal, it may take long hours, but windows ask to reboot. i can’t levae the system. because if it reboot means i lost 125 GB database initializaion. This will help lot.

  10. Cameron Klenk

    When I try to do that…it says windows update cannot be stopped. Any reason why it would do that?

  11. James

    I have gone through Microsoft and they have failed me to help fix my system. That damn Service Pack 1 screwed my system up; it does not come or even start up or do anything anymore. Been through the F8 function and all their recommendations to fix itself, but it just crashes once it starts.

    Root of the problem: I was working and as usual that annoying pop up for update came up and I hit a button let it start installing. So, I allowed it to finish and it asked if i wanted to restart so the update will take effect. Naturally I say yes since it already did install it. Goes down and right as it comes back on and shows the files being updated…..BAM! it stops. It sits there doing nothing more than showing this: !! 0x01a001d !! 27891/87588 (registry\machines\COMPONENTS\DerivedData\….) or !! 0x01a001d !! 9427/87588 (registry\machines\COMPONENTS\DerivedData\….) can’t read the end of the line as it fades outside of the screen’s view.

    Microsoft customer support and I spent 2 hours and everything they suggested did not work. Tired to run the system restore through the options found in F8 and it does nothing but crashes. I believe the term is “took it up the backside” is what I feel this damn update did to my system. Any help would greatly be appreciated. I am pissed that this crap got into my system…VISTA sucks, bring back XP

    James

  12. Luke

    Victoria,

    To re-enable this service type: net start “windows update”

  13. Mike

    Easier method: Drag the box to the bottom corner of your screen, and just dont click restart or postpone, then it won’t restart.

  14. Mic

    Thanks a bunch, that forced reboot crap is some of the worst coding from microsoft yet. Spending 20 hours converting some movie, then once its almost done you leave for a toilet break, when you get back the system has been rebooted..

  15. Swannou

    I Love you guy.

  16. -hgn-

    Thanks for this hint, exactly what I was looking for! I wonder if Microsoft will ever add a “do not restart” option to the menu.

  17. AT

    Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for, it sure help when you’re in a middle of something important and don’t want to restart.

  18. B

    THANK YOU god I hate how annoying Microsoft can be.

  19. S

    System error 5 – access is denied. This used to work, could have something to do with recent MS updates. I can confirm that a similar command works in XP too.

  20. Randy MacDonald

    B – I agree 100%. I think Mac next purchase, based on my daughter’s and sister’s comments. Get past the transition curve and life is easy with your computer.

    I don’t know how many times, even with the postpone option, I’ve come back from a break and found the computer in various stages of restart while I have been working on an important email or doc.

    If this works you guys are gods in my eyes.

  21. Ken Carlyle

    This worked for me.
    Doing a data transfer which was going to take 14 hours and then Windows update said it wanted to reboot. agh!
    This saved me from re-doing hours of work! Thanks!

  22. Lala McLala

    The command given is slightly wrong. If you use net stop “windows update” in windows 7, you get an error. It’s fussy about capitalization. You must type net stop “Windows Update” .

  23. Sheshagiri Rao

    i am getting system error 1060 error

  24. DVDfever

    Hi, thanks very much for this fix. Oh, how I hate stupid Microsoft for making this necessary in the first place!!!!!!

  25. DVDfever

    Oh no – it’s come back! :(

    I’ve just done the same procedure again. Hope that gets rid of it. Where I am it’s very late, so I’ll have to see in the morning if it comes back. I’m sure I’ve got rid of it completely before (prior to my next reboot)

  26. Skier Guy

    I found that this command is case sensitive.

    In Windows XP I had to use:
    net stop “Automatic Updates”

    FYI… you can also accomplish the same thing by going to
    >Control Panel
    >Administrative Tools
    >Component Services
    >>Services
    >>>Automatic Updates (double click)
    >>>Push the “Stop” button

    Enjoy.

  27. BHF

    I LOVE YOU MAN :D:D AMD TNX TNX TNX

  28. Paul

    Thanks man, worked great.

  29. LK

    I can’t get into admin mode? Maybe it would be better to just get a less obnoxious OS…

  30. chenna

    its:

    net stop wuauserv

  31. cris

    thank you!!

  32. chris

    THANKS!!

  33. Dee

    THANK YOU!!!! Worked perfectly on Windows 7 when I started command with Ctrl+Shift+Enter, this helped massively.

  34. Prateek

    Thanks, helped me =)

  35. Sakthivel

    I stopped Windows update, but still windows updates are downloaded automatically and I can see the latest updates in my update history regarding windows defender.
    I am using Vista, and I see a statement in windows update window that only updates related to windows os will be downloaded though automatic updates are turned off.
    please help me….

  36. rob

    Hallelujah! Thanks, this really annoys me usually. Even if you postpone for 4 hours it still comes back after 10 minutes.

  37. guy

    another option is to make a batch file so you can access this from the start menu.

    step 1: open notepad
    step 2: type in the following: net stop “windows update”
    step 3. save as .bat
    step 4: run as admin

  38. Mike

    Thanks man, this worked perfectly!

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!