ComputersIT SecurityLinux

Windows Vista – Disable auto reboot after Windows Update

It seams that every-time Microsoft release a new version of software they always manage to add a new features that really bugs you. In this case (as it was with Windows XP SP2) Microsoft has introduced an anti-productivity feature, in fact to say it just bugs me would be generous as that doesn’t indicate the way it can help you lose the work you’ve just been doing.

It seams that for almost every Windows update a reboot is required (so much for Microsoft’s promise to remove the need to reboot several times a week). In Windows XP and earlier you were given a choice whether to install these updates and then what to do after they’ve been installed. This took the form of a pop-up box which was very annoying. It was annoying but at least it didn’t reboot Windows without your permission.

Thanks to the “progress” made by Windows Vista, Windows Update can now force a reboot without needing the user to agree to it. This can therefore result in the computer rebooting before you have had the opportunity to save the work you were doing, as has just happened to me. This update appeared to be for a malicious software removal tool, which has now resulted in a the loss of the work I’d been doing. Now it did say “removal tool” didn’t it, as this sort of behaviour is what I expect in the malicious software, not the removal software. Well thanks a lot Microsoft!

The good news is that there is a way of disabling this, but the bad news is that it involves editing the registry. If you’ve never edited a Window registry then you may like to take a look elsewhere about what you need to do to edit the registry.

Before starting the usual warnings about backing up your computer apply. A mistake in the registry can stop Windows from working.

Launch the registry editor
Start -> regiedit (in the search box on the start menu).

Navigate to:

The last two parts of the key may not exist so after reaching the Microsoft\Windows part use New->Key to add those to the registry.

Then create a DWORD entry called
NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers with the value of 1.

Reboot your machine and all being well you shouldn’t get the computer rebooting without your explicit permission. Or at least until you get a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) or Microsoft find another way to force a reboot.

At least you don’t get this underhand rebooting from other operating systems I can think of.