Prevent Windows Update from Automatically Rebooting Your Computer (Windows 7)

I recently had a user complain that their computer randomly restarted to do updates.  What likely happened is that they didn’t notice the popup warning them what was about to happen (as seen below).

reboot

Your computer needs to be rebooted after certain updates, but the way Microsoft goes about making that happen isn’t very user friendly.  If you are a person who shuts down or reboots your computer every day, I’d suggest revoking Windows Update’s ability to restart your computer.

WARNING_SMALLWarning – This procedure involves modifying group policy.  The procedure itself is quite simple, but you can cause some serious issues “playing around” with group policies if you don’t know what you are doing.  Proceed at your own risk!

  1. Click the start button, type “gpedit.msc” (into the search box), then hit the enter key on the keyboard.
  2. The “Local Group Policy Editor” should now be open.  Use the left column to navigate to Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update (as seen below).
    gpedit_step2
  3. Double-click the No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations item in the right column.
  4. Click the Enabled radio button then click Apply, then click OK (as seen below).
    gpedit_step4
  5. Close the “Local Group Policy Editor”

Your computer should no longer prompt you to reboot in order to apply updates.  The updates will still be applied the next time your computer is (re)booted, but you are no longer at the mercy of the “Postpone” button.  Free at last!