Getting Rid Of The Pesky Automatic Update Nag Dialog

You know the one I mean: the one that comes up after you’ve gone through the wizard asking if you want to restart now or later… and then does the same thing over and over again every 10 minutes until you finally give in or go mad.

Yesterday I finally reached breaking point, and having waited 10 minutes for my machine to start up and get into a state where I can actually do some work (you all know how WinXP, as great as I think it actually is, taunts you by logging you in really quickly and then spends ages loading stuff before you can do anything). After updating that dialog appeared, and I just thought, “There must be some way to get rid of this thing.” I’m not against the restart at all, but it would just be nice to be able to choose when you want to do it.

Well, it turns out there is a solution as explained in this excellent post by Jeff Atwood:

I decided to go for the two-pronged approach yesterday, first editing the group policy, and then killing the Automatic Updates service to be sure: as the article points out it starts up again on the next reboot, and since I shutdown my machine every night that happened this morning so everybody’s happy.

The other option, pointed out by one of my colleagues (Andras), is that you can just go through the wizard and not close the last page. Then you just move the wizard dialog out of the way and carry on working. He did also admit that this approach lacks a certain finesse. But then Dan Archer suggested that you can just use nircmd ( to hide the wizard like so:

C:> nircmd win hide title "Automatic Updates"

Kind of cool.

Still, I think I’d recommend the group policy and/or service killing approach.