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Stop Windows Update from Hijacking the Sleep/Shutdown Button

As an avid user of the Sleep function on my laptop, I’ve been more than irritated with Windows 7 or Vista’s habit of changing the Sleep/Shutdown button into an “Install Updates and Shut Down” button whenever there are updates from Windows Update.

After the last time I accidentally clicked this stupid button when I just wanted to enter sleep mode, I decided to look for a solution.

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Update: Windows 7 does the same thing to my Shutdown button, and this same registry hack fixes the problem.

Manual Registry Hack

If you’d like to manually create this hack, you can open up regedit.exe using the start menu search box and then browse down to the following key, creating the key if it doesn’t exist.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

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Add a 32-bit DWORD value called NoAUAsDefaultShutdownOption with a value of 1. No reboot should be necessary.

Now our Sleep button should be back to the way it was, but if you wanted to use the Install Updates and Shut Down option, it’s still available via the shutdown menu:

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Download Registry Hack

Unzip the file and double-click on the StopHijackingMySleepButton.reg file to activate the registry hack. You shouldn’t have to restart anything, as the changes will happen immediately. There’s also a registry file to uninstall the hack.

I believe there is a similar option for XP, but I’m guessing the key is located in a different place.

Download StopHijackingMySleepButton Registry Hack

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 08/28/07

Comments (14)

  1. Steven

    You are the man. I

  2. tuttle

    Apparently this fix must be applied for each user account separately. In Vista, I ran the .reg file when logged in as Administrator. However, a few days later when logged in as a Standard User, I saw that the Sleep button had turned into “Install Updates and Shut Down” button.

    But, Standard User cannot run the .reg file. So, how do I apply this fix for the Standard User account?

  3. J-P

    @tuttle Right click the .reg and choose run as administrator. UAC will ask for the admin password, then you can run it.

  4. jd2066

    @tuttle: You can add the value listed in this article to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU and it will apply to all users.

  5. Spacegold

    What would be really clever is a hack that would let Updates steal the sleep button but then force a restart and resleep when the update installation was complete.

  6. vbt

    FWIW the option to enable/disable this feature is available in the Group Policy Object Editor (run: gpedit.msc) under Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->Windows Components->Windows Update. The setting is “Do not display ‘Install Updates and Shut Down’ option….

  7. steve

    thank god. nothing to tick you off more than when you shut down your computer (laptop) to go home from work and 15 minutes later your still waiting for it to shut down so you can undock it an leave.

  8. SabreWulf

    Nice, but When will M$ ever get the C..L..U..E.. to make an install updates and restart?
    Anyone got a hack for that? Oh yeah. Let me install updates and shutdown my server…

  9. A Hylian Human

    Hmm, how is there an extra “lock” icon in the first screenshot. I never noticed that in Vista nor 7.

  10. Krish

    This doesn’t work on XP. Is the key different? I couldn’t find Windows update in Current User or in Local Machine

  11. Ken

    Same result as Krish – - XP doesn’t have the same key sequence and couldn’t find one.

  12. Soufiane

    Thanks !!!

  13. Zoky

    Thanx,man,you saved my nerves!!! ;)

  14. Paul

    @vbt Thanks man, the reghack didn’t work for me but you posted did, had to do a restore after the latest update messed my computer up, nice to be able to shut down properly.

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