All of the users on a single Windows XP Home machine want the 10-minute "you need to restart" dialogs to go away, as this machine is running LONG running jobs that cannot withstand a reboot for another 60 days.

I've already added the keys to the registry that are supposed to make the dialog appear less frequently or go away, but the users see no change. I have restarted the Windows Update service as administrator. No dice.

  • I have a hunch you're going to find a lot more people who've already put time & effort into this one on SU. – Kara Marfia Dec 1 '09 at 18:27

Run gpedit.msc to bring up the policy editor.


Local Computer Policy
  Computer Configuration
    Administrative Templates
      Windows Components
        Windows Update

You can set the "Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installation" option to enabled, then set the value to something large (I use 600 = 10 hours so I only get nagged once per day).

Alternatively set the 'No auto-restart for schedule Automatic Updates installations" to enabled.

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There's currently no way to disable it at all, but you can stop this annoying window from popping out. Also, you probably have noticed that the process is "wuactl.exe", and you can't just kill it: it comes again.

Install Process explorer from SysInternals: it's capable of 'suspending' a process for debug purposes.

Find 'wuactl.exe' there, right-click, and choose 'suspend'. The process will not display anything after this trick :)

I;m not sure whether each user has this process running, but being an Administrator you can suspend all of them. Make sure the popup window is not visible, or the user won't be able even to dismiss it temporarily!

A few words about automating this: 'suspend' action is WinAPI-dirven, so you can create a small daemon (or maybe even a bat script?) that determines whether 'wuactl.exe' is running, and suspends it if found.


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Stop the Automatic Updates service.

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  • I don't think the goal here is to kill the service completely, but just to stop it from prompting them to reboot every 10 minutes. – scraft3613 Dec 1 '09 at 17:57
  • This really isn't a bad solution though. If many updates require a reboot to take effect, then why not just stop them altogether? If I had critical long-running jobs, that's what I would do. – John Pirie Dec 1 '09 at 19:48


sc stop wuauserv


net stop wuauserv

That should stop the popup. And You can reboot whenever you feel like.

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