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One of my family members has a Windows (Vista) machine which is waking itself up from hibernation in an annoying fashion. Some investigation suggests that Windows Update is the guilty party - it doesn't happen every day, but when it does it's always at the time set for Windows Update to install updates at, and the WindowsUpdate.log file says that it's woken the machine in order to install updates.

I suspect I can fix this by changing it to not install updates automatically, but I'd really rather that I didn't have to. I would prefer if there was some option to simply not wake the machine for it, but I can't see such a thing.

Does anyone know how to stop this from happening? There are quite a few mentions of this kind of thing on the internet but I haven't found any real answers yet.

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Interested in the answer :) Have the same issue. – Simon Verbeke Nov 13 '11 at 20:16
up vote 13 down vote accepted

If you can't use the group policy editor, use Registry Editor instead.

Go to


(you may need to create the WindowsUpdate and AU keys) and create a DWORD value named AUPowerManagement. Set this value to 0.

Use of this registry key to configure Automatic Updates is documented although this particular value is not. That's probably just an oversight on Microsoft's part.

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Thanks - I found the same key myself in one of their reference spreadsheets (here: Cautiously it seems to have worked, but of course it's hard to tell without a few days to observe. – Peter Nov 14 '11 at 10:40

There are a couple things you can try.

1) If available (ie: non-Home versions) you can use local Group Policies to disable Windows Update from waking the computer:

  1. Start gpedit.msc
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
  3. Modify the "Enabling Windows Update Power Management to automatically wake up the system to install scheduled updates" policy.

Specifies whether the Windows Update will use the Windows Power Management features to automatically wake up the system from hibernation, if there are updates scheduled for installation.

Windows Update will only automatically wake up the system if Windows Update is configured to install updates automatically. If the system is in hibernation when the scheduled install time occurs and there are updates to be applied, then Windows Update will use the Windows Power management features to automatically wake the system up to install the updates.

2) Turn off Wake Timers for the current power plan (this should disable wakeup timers for all software):

  • A program or scheduled task might be waking your computer. By default, Power Option settings do not allow scheduled tasks to wake the computer from sleep or hibernate. However, some programs might awaken the computer if these settings have been changed.

To prevent programs from waking your computer

  1. Open Power Options by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, and then clicking Power Options.

  2. On the Select a power plan page, click Change plan settings for the plan that you want to change.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, click Change advanced power settings.

  4. On the Advanced settings tab, expand Sleep, expand Allow wake timers, choose Disable for both when your computer is running on battery and when it's plugged in, and then click OK.

Source/More info on #2

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Thanks for the info. Unfortunately it is Home Premium so I can't access the group policy stuff, and annoyingly I can't see the wake timers item under Sleep either. I'm looking around to try to find another way of achieving it though. – Peter Nov 13 '11 at 22:24

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