How to enable automatic Active Hours on Windows 10?

By Eunice Samson | April 4, 2019 |

greater than 4 minutes

When Microsoft rolled out the Anniversary Update, the tech company also introduced the Active Hours feature for Windows 10. It helps users deal with the problem of sudden reboots which force update installations. Who would want their computer restarting while they’re in the middle of typing an important document or winning a match in a video game?

What is the Active Hours Feature on Windows 10?

The Active Hours feature’s main function is to keep a record of the timeframe in which your operating system remains active. Basically, it prevents Windows from restarting your computer during hours when you are typically active on the device. So, when a restart is necessary to complete an update installation, the Active Hours feature will delay the task, allowing you to focus on your work.

It is worth noting that the feature is not enabled by default. Now, you may wonder, “How do I set Active Hours in Windows 10?” Keep reading this post to learn the steps.

Method 1: Enabling Automatic Active Hours via the Settings App

  1. You need to launch the Settings app. To do this, press Windows Key+I on your keyboard.
  2. Once the Settings app is open, select the Update & Security tile.
  3. Go to the left-pane menu, then click Windows Update.
  4. Now, move to the right pane and click Change Active Hours.
  5. A new window will pop out. Toggle the ‘Adjust active hours for this device based on activity’ switch to On.
  6. Exit the Settings app.

After following these steps, your operating system will observe your PC usage. Based on your activity, Windows will determine the ideal time range for the automated restarts. Consequently, your system won’t restart while you are actively working.

It is worth noting that you still have the freedom to manually set your active hours. All you need to do is click the ‘Change active hours’ link, then select the hours that you are using the system. By default, the active hours are set to 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This time range is the typical work hours for most people. However, if you work non-traditional hours or you are a night owl, you can still opt for your preferred active hours.

Method 2: Configuring Active Hours via the Group Policy Editor

By now, you probably do not need to ask, “How do I enable automatic Active Hours on Windows 10?” After all, using the Settings app is the easiest way to do so. However, if you are more tech-savvy, you might want to try other ways to activate this feature. For instance, if you are using a Pro, Education, or Enterprise version of Windows 10, you can use the Group Policy Editor to enable Active Hours. Here are the steps:

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+R.
  2. Once the Run dialog box is up, type “gpedit.msc” (no quotes), then hit Enter.
  3. Go to the tree hierarchy on the left, then navigate to this path:
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Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Updates

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  1. On the right pane, you will see the ‘Turn off auto-restart for updates during active hours’ policy. You can start configuring the policy by double-clicking it.
  2. Make sure that the Enabled option is selected.
  3. Modify the Start and End times under Active Hours. Do note that the Group Policy will display a 12-hour system, regardless of the time settings on your OS.
  4. You should also know that the policy will have no effect if you do not disable the following policies:

No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic update installations.

Always automatically restart at scheduled time.

Method 3: Using the Registry to Enable Active Hours

Before you proceed, you should know that the Windows Registry is a sensitive database. Even if you make the smallest mistake, you can cause serious issues, like Blue Screen of Death errors. So, you should only follow the steps below if you have a backup of your registry. If you’re confident with your tech skills, you can proceed to the instructions:

  1. Go to your taskbar, then click the Search icon.
  2. Type “regedit.exe” (no quotes), then click OK.
  3. If prompted to give permission to the app, click Yes.
  4. Once the Registry Editor is open, go to the tree hierarchy on the left, then navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UX\Settings

  1. On the right pane, you will see these entries:

ActiveHoursEnd: This determines the end time of Active Hours.

ActiveHoursStart: This determines the start time of Active Hours.

IsActiveHoursEnabled: If the value of this key is set to 1, then it means that the feature is enabled. If it is set to 0, then it means that Active Hours is disabled.

You can double-click the entries to modify the start or end time of Active Hours. Remember to use a decimal system on the prompt. Use a 24-hour clock system for the starting hour.

Pro Tip: The Active Hours feature is quite useful in helping you maximize your time on your device. However, if you want to be more efficient and productive while you’re using your PC, you need to ensure that your apps will boot at an ideal speed. In this case, we recommend that you install Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro. This tool will get your drives optimized for top speed and maximum efficiency. It will allow you to defrag files that are inaccessible during system operation, ensuring faster application startup times. After using Auslogics Defrag Pro, you will notice a consistently high HDD speed.

Do you find the Active Hours useful?

Let us know your thoughts. Share them in the comments below!

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.
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