I'm curious if there is any technical or user experience design reason for this phenomenon I'm experiencing: Whenever I select "Update and shut down", the machine will update for a while and then shut down, but when I start it up again, it will still spend time on updating. As far as I know, an "Update and restart" will fully complete the update. So why is that not the case with "Update and shut down"?

I clicked update and shut down last night, expecting Windows to be done with whatever it needs to do, and turned on the machine this morning to be greeted with an hour-long update process I did not expect.

I see no technical reason for this behavior, as Windows is perfectly capable of rebooting any number of times during an update (as it indeed did this morning).

As for user experience, consider this: What is the use case for shutting down versus turning on the PC?

  • Why do I want to turn off my computer? Because I'm not planning on using it for a good while. It now has all the time in the world to install updates and reboot as necessary along the way, then shut down.
  • Why do I want to turn on my computer? It is very likely that I want to turn it on because I actually want to use it, perhaps for work.

I'm sorry if this sounds a bit more like a rant than a question, but I'm genuinely curious about the reasons behind this behavior. Is there a technical reason? Does Microsoft simply think that this is the best way to go about updates? Is my preferred use case so unexpected / out of norm?

Is there a way to tell Windows to really install everything and then shut down?

  • Some updates cannot be installed while Windows is running, so these updates are installed early on in the next startup. – DavidPostill Nov 22 '17 at 10:39
  • 1
    Note that "Update and Shut down" was (temporarily) removed from latest Windows builds. – grawity Nov 22 '17 at 11:22

1.When windows updates, it first downloading files from whatever storage of MS there is.

2.Then it start to look thought packages your system already has and downloaded.

3.After this there is a dependency mechanism on what package need what actions to be performed: for example you have packages downloaded:


and already present packages:

The system during update can for example check that package "pack2" needs reboot and be installed only after "pack1" should be installed onto system, because of this it will need a complete system reboot.

That is the suggestion why after you shutdown your PC your downloaded updates are still "Updating" (but they are Installing in fact)

And the option that goes from Microsoft about shutdown your PC for good after download of updates can be more universall, maybe you want to see the process with your own eyes and shut it down for this reason. I think more can be found here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletins

for more detailed process on update i think it will be better to contact the support and mention the specific version of Windows you are using.

Is there a way to tell Windows to really install everything and then shut down?

I don't realy tried that, but scheduled reboot and then shutdown should help you in this. (Tasks Scheduler)

  • Would it be possible to scrit the task scheduling? I mean I don't want to go set up some tasks everytime there is an update. – findusl Sep 4 '18 at 21:03

Few observations

  1. When I have fast internet connection, "update and shutdown" will take about 2 mins to finish installing at next start up

  2. When I dont have internet or I have slow internet, "Update and shutdown" doesn't finish at next start up. It takes about 5 to 10 mins and then I see the homescreen with "Failed to install update" notification

  3. Interrupting the update process (by holding power button) never caused any problem in Windows 10. Though I noticed booting issues on Windows 7 and 8. [Try at your own risk]

From these observations, I suspect windows downloads a part of update while installing or sends some data to MS before it finishes installing.

For me, its not a good use case. Many of my friends are also frustrated of this behaviour. There's no legal way to postpone or schedule updates. You can set idle time but its restricted to contigious 12 hrs.

If I wish to update, I would expect it to finish it asap instead of waiting for me to restart it next morning.

However the update process is risk free now as compared to previous versions.

Workarounds to postpone update

  1. Hibernate instead of shutdown
  2. Or set your internet connection as metered (this will prevent windows from downloading updates, not recommended)
  3. Use something like 360 Security to patch security updates and postpone non-security updates with hibernation
  4. In windows update settings, check "Defer updates". (though it never seem to work for me)

Why I am sharing this?

There was an instance when I left Windows for an update. Next morning I had a presentation. I turned on windows to start the presentation in front of a huge audience and guess what? "Getting Ready..."

  • Your last paragraph is what I'm all about. I'm not really interested in postponing updates, but when I tell the system to update, it should do so completely. About the postponing issue though, the new version, (2017 Fall Creators Update, I think?) actually added new options for that, in Settings/Update and security/Windows update/Advanced options at the bottom: this page lets you pause updates for up to 35 days. – parachutingturtle Nov 23 '17 at 18:57
  • I haven't yet received that update. I usually install feature updates manually unless I have too much free time to wait for automatic update – sziraqui Nov 25 '17 at 0:52

protected by Community Jul 27 '18 at 19:35

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.