Preventing Restarts on Auto-Update

Much as I think the Windows Auto-Update feature is a good thing, it has one major drawback. If you set it to automatically install patches as they become available, it will restart the computer. You get warned a few minutes beforehand, but if you’re doing something else it’s not much use. I’m not entirely sure, but I have a strong suspicion it forces all applications to close, too, irrespective of any errors that may be thrown up. Somebody in Mum and Dad’s office lost half an hour’s work on a spreadsheet when this happened while they made coffee. As a result I’ve set the updates to be downloaded automatically but not installed, which isn’t my preferred solution. There’s a fix, though. Binary Bonsai points to a registry edit to prevent XP from restarting. Go to:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU]

You may need to create the WindowsUpdate and AU keys. Create the following dword value:

“NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers”=dword:00000001

I haven’t actually tested this myself, but it’s in the registry so I’ll see how it goes. As ever, the standard registry editing caveats apply – if everything dies, don’t blame me!

A much more thorough analysis of this issue can be found here.