/* Filed under How-To, Windows */
I can’t tell you how many countless remote machine connections I’ve lost and how much work in progress has been thrown away no thanks to the automatic restart in Windows XP after installing a Windows update. No matter if keep telling your dumb machine to “Restart Later,” the nag box keeps popping up and when it detects a slight weakness in your armor, when you are not at your desk for a prolonged period of time – booyah! it’s time to restart sucka.
Well now you can take matters into your own hands by disabling the restart. It’s an option that’s hidden away in the group policy settings for Windows XP Pro users, and XP Home users will need to make a small registry change. After setting this up, you won’t need to worry about the automatic restart kicking in at the most inopportune time so you can restart your PC on your own terms.
For XP Pro users:
- Click Start -> Run.
- Type “gpedit.msc” without the quotes to open the group policy editor. Hit enter.
- Navigate to Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update.
- Double click on “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations” (it may be something similar depending on your service pack installed)
- Select the “Enable” radio button. This disables the automatic restart after updating.
- Click OK and close Group Policy.
What this setting does exactly, according to Windows, is:
Specifies that to complete a scheduled installation, Automatic Updates will wait for the computer to be restarted by any user who is logged on, instead of causing the computer to restart automatically.
If the status is set to Enabled, Automatic Updates will not restart a computer automatically during a scheduled installation if a user is logged in to the computer. Instead, Automatic Updates will notify the user to restart the computer.
Be aware that the computer needs to be restarted for the updates to take effect.
If the status is set to Disabled or Not Configured, Automatic Updates will notify the user that the computer will automatically restart in 5 minutes to complete the installation.
Note: This policy applies only when Automatic Updates is configured to perform scheduled installations of updates. If the “Configure Automatic Updates” policy is disabled, this policy has no effect.
For XP Home users:
- Click on Start -> Run.
- Type “regedit” without the quotes. Hit enter.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU.
- Double click on the “NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers” registry key and set its DWord value to 1. If it does not exist, create it yourself by right clicking on the right window pane, selecting New -> DWORD Value. Then type in the same name and set its value data to 1.