Freeware: Turn Off Windows Update Restart Nag

by Brad Isaac on June 3, 2008

Nothing is more annoying than working in the zone and getting interrupted.  When it turns out Windows Update is pestering you to reboot, a double homicide is imminent. 

Microsoft likes to “help out” by installing patches in the middle of the night.  That is a good thing.  But whatever goodwill they earn with this convenience is immediately destroyed when first thing in the morning a “reboot computer” message appears.  And appears… and appears…

disable_windows_restart

If you choose Restart Later, it waits about 10 minutes and then pops this screen up again.  Argggh!

leave_me_alone

It occurred to me some of you may hate this as much as I do, but you don’t want to go fiddling around in Services.msc or have to memorize “net stop” commands.  Worse is the articles that teach you to shut it off permanently.  If you shut it off for good, you don’t get updates unless you manually go to Windows Update.  In the long run, this can be more painful than rebooting as soon as you see the message.

So to address this problem, I created a simple little app called Leave Me Alone!  When you run it and click the “Leave Me Alone” button it temporarily turns off the source of these restart messages.  It is certain to boost your productivity when the WU Restart beast comes calling.

I see about 5 advantages to using this software:

  1. You can get back to work immediately
  2. Does not permanently disable your updates
  3. You don’t have to memorize net-stop commands
  4. You don’t have to fish around in the system services panel
  5. You don’t have to set a system policy

Trivia:  I coded Leave Me Alone! in C#.  It is my first stand alone C# program.  Woot!  

Download Leave Me Alone! (Windows XP/Vista)

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{ 20 comments }

Erwin Ried June 25, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Nice idea but the only thing your app do is shutdown the Windows Update service.

Brad Isaac June 26, 2008 at 7:45 am

Erwin, yes, i had indicated that originally. The point is many people don’t want to have to learn the method of doing that or memorize the shutdown command(s).

This saves a few keystrokes and solves the problem.

Leonard Grossman January 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Your app killed two birds with one stone. I just installed an update and WU wouldn’t stop nagging me to reboot. Even when I set it for 4 hours it came back every ten minutes. Then I had to leave the room for a while so I took that opportunity to reboot.
When I came back the WU nagger was reminding me that there was an update I hadn’t installed. I chose not to install it. I don’t want to install it, but it wouldn’t stop reminding me.

Your app is intended to stop the reboot message but solves the update waiting issue as well. WONDERFUL.

Question, Your description says it stops reminders “temporarily.”
When do they start again? What starts them?

Thanks again for getting rid of a major annoyance.

Len

Brad Isaac January 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Leonard, glad you find it helpful. It only turns off alerts until you reboot.

Cheers!

dave August 6, 2008 at 12:04 am

Those “midnight patches” always seem to happen when I’ve left my Pc running doing something I want to get to straight away in the morning, only to find MS has done an update which means all my browser windows have to reload (and hopefully nothing gets lost).

daves last blog post..Sound Card Driver Download – Get The Sound Card Drivers For Your PC The Easy Way

Sharley August 6, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Yes its pretty annoying when these updates comes up. And what’s worse sometimes when I just kept on pressing “Later” my PC crashes.. hmph..

sam August 16, 2008 at 4:31 am

Thanks a lot. I’m so tired of leaving something running overnight just to come back the next morning and the computer has been restarted.

mail August 19, 2008 at 1:36 am

Thank you for the free software. Accidentally found your website while surfing internet.

This is really usefull software :)

mails last blog post..Backup Computer Devices Driver

Crana September 23, 2008 at 10:41 am

I personally prefer to:

1. Create a notepad file, save it as whateveryouwant.bat
2. Paste the following: net stop “automatic updates”
3. Save, then double-click.

Same thing as your program, but with less clicks ;)

Max Roble November 24, 2008 at 1:26 am

Crana – it is dangerous to totally stop uploads from you pc,
Deepfreeze lets you update as much as needed and once you restart everything goes back to normal.

Nadz (Outperforming Productivity) December 7, 2008 at 2:33 am

Wow, I can live with the extra usability (If that’s what Microsoft calls it) that ships with Microsoft products. But it’s the annoyance that I can’t live with. Thanks for the great resource. Found it useful.

Cheers.

Pitnicker December 20, 2008 at 1:28 am

Cool! However, it would be more logical to have “LeaveMeAlone!” give the order “Stop Windows from nagging *me* to reboot after an update” instead… ;D

(No, “Pitnicker” is not the sound one might hear after clamping a horse’s muzzle in their axial cavity! XD)
(Well, maybe it is… :P )

lyndsey January 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Nice little app. You know what, I recently go so nuts, I just went and disabled the automatic updates. Now I just have a schedule that I use to update manually on my own. :)

lyndseys last blog post..Get the Best Credit Card Rates

Janardhanaya February 8, 2009 at 11:04 am

It sounds like you’re creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place.

Peter May 29, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Hi there,

This application is great. I kept turning off the automatic restart manually but then would forget and have to look it up again.

I’m still not a big fan of Windows, but at least your application has made it slightly less tiresome to use! :)

–Peter

henk June 29, 2009 at 5:37 am

you cant just turn off automatic updates! a better option is to only stop the auto restart function; http://lifehacker.com/software/top/get-rid-of-windows-update-restart-nag-183976.php

Dams July 31, 2009 at 2:57 am

The netstop commands aren’t too much to memorize but hey that program is a treat, really, it’s soooo nice to be able to kick windows out of your mind by a simple click, really. Those updates messages are quite possibly among the most annoying and upsetting things I know about computers (being a software engineer and a film maker myself…) so congratulations for this brilliant little idea of yours and all the best.

Jake October 14, 2009 at 6:22 am

Sweet. I like it. I posted a longer post but your anti-spam blocker ate it :(

mike February 12, 2010 at 3:08 am

i love this utility for the obvious reason of untimely reboots and also having the reboot now window pop up in front of what you are doing and you click on it..

But this does leave you exposed to whatever vulnerability is being fixed the updates you just installed. As you may or may not know, Microsoft “patch tuesday” is generally followed by “exploit thursday”- as hacker’s reverse engineer the fixes, discover the exploits and then spread them around the net. So delaying updates or reboots exposes you to all this !

Terry April 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm

This does what Lifehacker pointed out:
Start / Run / gpedit.msc / Local Computer Policy / Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Update / Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations

This is what the Explanation of the service states:

“Specifies the amount of time for Automatic Updates to wait before prompting again with a scheduled restart.
If the status is set to Enabled, a scheduled restart will occur the specified number of minutes after the previous prompt for restart was postponed.
If the status is set to Disabled or Not Configured, the default interval is 10 minutes.
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.”

So the best you can do is to ENABLE the service, and set it to 1440 minutes (24 hours) which is the maximum setting and it will come up only once a day, unless you restarted, which would eliminate it entirely. So worst case, you click on the original popup only once a day and you don’t have to install and run another app that would do the same thing.

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