How to Disable Windows Updates and Stop from Downloading Automatically

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  • You can still disable Windows Updates from starting automatically fairly easily if you’re annoyed by them.
  • Here are two quick ways to prevent Windows Update from downloading and installing updates automatically.
  • You can still check for updates manually when you feel like it.
software update

I have to be honest with you: automatic Windows Updates don’t bother me. It’s true that since Windows 10 the new automatic downloading and installation process implemented by Microsoft did annoy a lot of people.

I was lucky maybe, but my PC never restarted automatically on me while I was working. I don’t even think it ever restarted while idle. That doesn’t mean Windows Updates can’t still act crazy for some people.

If you’re one of them I showed you how to pause updates in Windows and how to disable automatic driver updates. If that’s still not enough for you read on and you’ll find two very quick ways to completely stop automatic Windows updates from happening in the background.

These guides will only block automatic updates. You can still check for updates manually from the Settings app anytime you need to.

How to Block Windows Automatic Updates with a Local Group Policy

I’ve started to like the Local Group Policy Editor a lot lately. It feels a lot safer to use than the Registry Editor and it’s also easy to use. Here’s how you can configure the appropriate policy that controls the automatic Windows Update process.

1. Click on the Start menu icon and type Group Policy Editor. Select the Edit group policy item to open.

start menu local group policy editor

2. Use the left-side tree menu of the Local Group Policy Editor app to open the following section:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update
local group policy editor configure automatic updates

3. Once here locate and double-click on the policy called Configure Automatic Updates.

By default, the policy is set to Not Configured. Change its state to Disabled and click on Apply.

policy configure automatic updates disabled

If you changed your mind, you can redo these steps and set the Configure Automatic Policy to Not Configured or Enabled. The latter option allows you to choose how often your system checks for updates and how it proceeds when updates are found.

Disable Automatic Windows Updates with a Registry Key

The second option involves the Registry Editor. It’s safe if you’re a bit careful, but there’s still the risk of modifying or deleting the wrong registry key. Personally, I would always use other methods, if available.

1. Open the Start menu and type Registry Editor. Click on the first result to open.

start menu registry editor

2. Navigate on the left tree menu to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

3. Right-click on the Windows folder and select New > Key:

registry editor new key

4. Name the key AU and press Enter.

5. Open the AU folder in the tree menu, then right-click on an empty area in the right side panel. Select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

windows registry add value

6. Name the value NoAutoUpdate.

7. Double-click on the new value and set its value to 1.

registry editor no auto update dword

8. You will need to restart your computer at this point for the registry change to stick. From now on automatic Windows Updates shouldn’t bother you.

Is this method too complicated for you?

Almost forgetting what I said about using the Registry Editor in Windows, there’s a quick and safe way to use registry keys, and that’s with the use of REG files. You only need to download and execute them yourself, provided your account has administrator privileges.

Here are the two keys that do exactly what the guide above does, faster and much safer:

Download the keys, move them to a safe place, and use them when needed.

You’re still having trouble when you try to disable Windows Updates. Let me know the issue you’re facing in the comments and I’ll try to help you out.

Avatar for Ionuț-Alexandru Popa
I'm obsessed with technology, science, and gadgets. I write about them since 2003. I make websites because I like to build stuff. I'm also passionate about digital marketing and graphic design. I watch movies and play games in my spare time. I'm also reading books, mostly SciFi.

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