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Thursday, May 10, 2007

How to Disable the Windows Automatic Update Restart Nag Screen

I've been dealing with the Windows XP Automatic Updates restart nag screen for the past hour or so. To preserve my sanity after clicking the Restart Later button for the tenth time, I decided to figure out how to shut it off.

It turns out to be pretty easy. Courtesy of Coding Horror are two ways: you can either use the command line to shut off the Automatic Updates service or manually shut it off in the Services panel.

To shut it off manually:
1. Go to Start->Control Panel->Administrative Tools and double-click on Services.
2. Right-click on Automatic Updates and select Stop.

To use the command line:
1. Go to Start->Run. Type in "cmd" without quotes to open up the command line.
2. Now, type in "net stop wuauserv" without quotes and hit Enter.

A third way requires you to have Windows XP Professional. Read all about it here.

One thing to note is that the Automatic Updates service may auto-restart the next day after midnight rolls around so you'll have to do this again.


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Comment Archive

Reader Comments:

Thanks a lot, obvious solution that I hadn't thought of yet!

thanks very much for that

just an FYI: according to the description of the group policy item, the third way actually works with windows server 2003, xp sp1, and win 2000 SP3. to me this seems like a better measure than just stopping the service, which you say restarts automatically (how does that trigger?).

Thank you, I can now get some sleep.

I am rendering a very large video file that will take at least 8hrs, and in the middle of this stupid pop-up threatens me, "hey punk, you did a nice job on that video, but I'm going to restart the computer right in the middle of your rendering. Haahahahah!"

Thanks, to you...Hal is taking a nap.

Thanks for the solution. A suggested upgrade to the instructions is to make a batch file. You can save the command "net stop wuauserv" (without the quotes) in a text file with the extension .bat instead of .txt and leave it on your desktop, then all you have to do in the future is click on the .bat file and it will execute the command. So, 1. open notepad, 2. put the phrase "net stop wuauserv" without the quotes as the only text in the document 3. save as filename.bat (mine is saved as "stop update restart nag.bat") - put it somewhere where it is handy...in your start menu or desktop. Then, whenever you need it, click/double click on it and it will execute that command.

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