Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Vista home and automatic restart after downloading updates

Vista home has a very annoying tendency to try to reboot after doing an automatic windows update.

Great idea.. let’s make sure the updates get installed. … HOWEVER, tonight I was working on copying files from a client’s dead .. well dying.. laptop. There were tons of family pics so I started copying that over. About 10 minutes later I get the “Click here or windows is gonna reboot” dialog. I set it for four hours but I have a nagging feeling that the system would reboot before the copy was done. I don’t feel like setting the alarm for four hours to make sure I’m back to babysit.

I did find that it is possible to change the behavior with gpedit.msc. Just go to START, and in the search box, type in gpedit.msc. That will bring up the global policy editor where you can change the behavior after updates are downloaded form a forced reboot to a nagging screen. HOWEVER, that only works if you are on Vista Business. Home users get the royal microsoft $haft..

If you have Visa business, you can

  • Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.
  • Double click “No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installation”.
  • Select ENABLED and click OK

So, if you are a Home user, what do you do?? I found a tool at This site that will stop the auto restart process. Use it at your own risk. I did some checking and scanned it and it appears to be OK but you never know. It appeared to stop the automatic update process. I think you might be able to do the same thing by going into services and manually stopping the auto update service.

In the meantime, in order to prevent this idiocy in the future, I went into Windows Update in the Control Panel and set it to download and notify me but to not install the updates. That way, I won’t end up losing a desktop full of work in process because some dilbert like engineer at Microsft thought it would be cool to force a reboot.

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