Keeping Windows up to date is essential if you wish to avoid running into unexpected issues. For this reason, available updates are downloaded and installed automatically on Windows 10.
However, installing the updates requires a system restart. And when this happens during the time you are using your PC, it can cause a great deal of inconvenience.
Fortunately, Microsoft recognized this and introduced Active Hours in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The feature gives you control of when downloaded updates will be installed. It is a 12-hour window (this has been extended to 18 hours starting with the Creators Update) within which your PC won’t be forced to restart.
Note: This setting does not restrict the download of available updates. It only allows you to decide when they will be installed so that your work won’t be disturbed by a sudden restart that often lasts several minutes.
How to enable Active Hours in Windows 10:
In case you haven’t yet assigned Active Hours, follow the steps below to do so. But if you already have but Windows ignores it and disrupts your busy time, then skip to the section below to find the solutions.
To set Active Hours:
- Press the Windows logo key + I combination on your keyboard to open the Settings app.
- Go to Update and Security > Windows Update.
- Under Update Settings, click on ‘Change Active Hours.’
- Now, choose a Start time and End time that corresponds to when you’re normally busy on your PC. For instance, 7Am to 6Pm (note that any interval that’s more than 18 hours will be deemed invalid). Windows will only install updates after the specified time frame.
- Click Save.
Keep in mind that you can’t set different active hours for different days. But if updates are available and you wish to get them installed within your active hours, you can do a temporary override and create a custom restart time by following these steps:
- Go to the Settings app.
- Click on Update and Security and select Windows Update.
- Click on Restart Options under Update Settings.
Note: In the May 2019 Update, it is possible to allow Windows to automatically set Active Hours based on the recognized pattern with which you use your PC. If you’d like to enable this option, follow the steps presented above. But instead of choosing a ‘Start time’ and ‘End time’, enable the option that says, “Automatically adjust active hours for this device based on activity.”
How to Fix Windows 10 Downloads Ignoring Active Hours
Sadly, some users have reported that Active Hours don’t work after Windows 10 update download.
If you are experiencing the issue, don’t worry. There are a few workarounds you can use to stop this from happening.
How to make Windows 10 stop ignoring Active Hours:
- Configure active hours via Update Settings UI
- Schedule update installation
- Prevent Windows from automatically downloading updates
Let’s get right to it.
Fix 1: Configure Active Hours via the Update Settings UI
Follow the steps below:
- Press the Windows logo key + R combination on your keyboard to open the Run dialog.
- Type ‘regedit’ in the text field and press Enter or click OK to open Registry Editor.
- Click the Yes button when presented with the User Account Control (UAC) Prompt.
- Making manual edits to the registry can be risky. We suggest you create a backup first. Click on the File tab and select Export. Then enter a name for the backup file and choose a safe location on your PC. Click Save.
- Navigate to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UX\Settings’ and right-click on a blank area.
- Hover over New in the context menu and select DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Name the New DWORD ‘IsActiveHoursEnabled’, then right-click on it and set the value data to 1.
- Save the change and then close Registry Editor.
If the issue persists afterwards, move on to the next solution.
Fix 2: Schedule Update Installation
This applies to computers managed by a group administrator on Windows Server 2019 version 1903.
Take note that Group Policy Editor can only be accessed in Educational, Enterprise, and Professional editions of Windows 10.
Follow these steps:
- Press the Windows logo key + R combination to bring up the Run dialog.
- Type ‘gpedit.msc’ in the text field and click Ok or press Enter.
- Navigate the following path in the pane on the left-hand side:
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update.
- On the right-hand side of the window, locate ‘Configure Automatic Updates’ and double-click on it.
- In the window that opens, select Enabled.
- Go to ‘Options:’ and select ‘Auto download and schedule the install.’
- Expand the ‘Schedule install time’ drop-down and choose an appropriate time that suits you.
- Save the change.
After you’ve completed these steps, Windows will only force restart during the set time.
Note: You can also set a timer to notify users of an impending restart.
Now, if the problem persists after you’ve applied the above solutions, you can either stop Windows from automatically downloading and installing updates or you can wait it out and see if the issue will be resolved when a new patch is released.
Fix 3: Prevent Windows from Automatically Downloading Updates
If your busy time still gets interrupted by update installations, consider stopping Windows from downloading updates automatically. This can be done on both Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro.
There are different methods to use as follows:
- Set a metered connection
- Stop the Windows 10 Update Service
- Disable automatic updates via Group Policy
- Configure Windows updates via Registry Editor
Note: It is not recommended to miss out on important updates. Make sure you install them manually on a regular basis.
- Go to the Start menu.
- Type ‘Windows Update’ in the search bar and click on the option when it appears in the results.
- Click the Check for Updates button.
Also, the Active Hours interruption could be due to some updates not getting installed at the appropriate time. To see if this is the case and install them manually, here’s what you have to do:
problem yourself, you can
ask our certified PC technicians for immediate assistance in the chat right on this page.
- Go to the Settings app by clicking the Windows logo key + I combination.
- Go to Update and Security and click on Windows Update > Update history.
If they continue to interfere, then use any of the methods below to block the automatic updates and prevent the forced restarts.
Method 1: Set a metered connection
You can set your internet connection as metered to stop Windows 10 from downloading updates on it. Windows will always remember the choice so you can disconnect and reconnect to the network as you like and the setting will not be undone unless you choose so.
Automatic updates will only be allowed when you mark the connection as unmetered again or use another network that is not metered.
To enable this for a Wi-Fi network, follow these steps:
- Press the Windows logo key + I to open the Settings app.
- Click on Network and Internet and select Wi-Fi.
- Click the name of the Wi-Fi network you are on.
- On the Properties page, enable the ‘Set as metered connection’ option.
Follow these steps if you are using a wired Ethernet network:
- Go to the Settings app and click on Network and Internet.
- Select Ethernet and then click on the name of your Ethernet connection.
- Enable ‘Set as metered connection.’
Method 2: Stop the Windows 10 Update Service
Keep in mind that this method is temporary. The update service will become active again after some time.
Follow these steps:
- Press the Windows logo key + R combination to invoke the Run dialog.
- Type ‘services.msc’ in the text box and press Enter or click Ok.
- In the Services window that opens, scroll down and locate Windows Update. Select it and click the Stop icon in the toolbar at the top of the page.
- Once the Windows update service has stopped, right-click on it and select Properties.
- Under the General tab, expand the ‘Startup type:’ drop-down and select Disabled.
- Click the Apply button and click Ok to save the change.
- Close the Services window
Method 3: Disable automatic updates via Group Policy Editor
Remember that Group Policy Editor can only be accessed on Windows 10 Professional, Windows 10 Education, and Windows 10 Enterprise. It is not available in the Windows 10 Home Edition.
Follow these steps:
- Go to the Start menu.
- Type ‘Run’ in the search bar and click on the option when it appears in the search results.
Alternatively, you can bring up the Run dialog by pressing the Windows logo key + R combination on your keyboard.
- Type ‘gpedit.msc’ in the text box and click Ok or press Enter.
- Now, navigate to “Computer Configuration” > “Administrative Templates” > “Windows Components” > “Windows Update.”
- Locate Configure Automatic Updates in the list on the right-hand side. Double-click on it.
- In the window that opens, if you select Disabled, you will not be notified of updates and neither will they be downloaded and installed. So instead, select ‘Enabled’ and then go to ‘Options:’ to select a preferred setting, such as “Auto download and notify for install” or “Notify for download and notify for install.”
- Save the change. Your settings will now be enforced, and you can see them under ‘Advanced options’ when you go to Windows Update in the Settings app and click on the ‘Check for Updates’ button.
Note: If you’d like to change the settings back to default, go back to Configure automatic updates in Group Policy Editor and select ‘Not Configured.’
Method 4: Configure Windows updates via Registry Editor
Always keep in mind that it is risky to manually edit your registry. Irreversible damage can happen if you make a wrong change. So ensure that you create a backup before proceeding.
Follow these steps:
- Invoke the Run dialog by pressing the Windows logo + R combination on your keyboard.
- Type ‘regedit’ in the text box and press Enter or click the OK button.
- Click Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt shows up.
- In the Registry Editor window that opens, click on the File tab and select Export. Enter a name for the backup file and choose a location where it will be saved. Then click the Save button.
- After you’ve successfully created a backup, go to the following path:
- On the right-hand side of the window, right-click on a blank area and hover over New.
- Select Key.
- Name the new key ‘AutoUpdates’ and press Enter.
- Click on the newly created key and then right-click on a blank area on the right-hand side of the window.
- Hover over New and then click on ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value.’
- Name it ‘AutoUpdateOptions.’
- Now, double-click on the newly created DWORD and set the value data to 2 (Note that this refers to ‘Notify for download and notify for install.’ So, when there’s an update, Windows will inform you and you can then choose to download and install it).
- Click Ok and then close the Registry Editor window.
There you have it. Your PC will no longer be forced to restart for updates to be installed.
We hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful.
If you have any questions, remarks, or further suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
We’ll like to hear from you.
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