After enjoying the satisfaction of being protected from harmful viruses by having Vista destroy more work in one badly timed restart than I’m likely to ever lose to a virus, I looked into how to fix this while still leaving automatic updates on. As usual with Microsoft products, there’s no problem that can’t be fixed by an obscure administrative tool. If you are running Vista*, here’s how to keep your computer from spontaniously restarting itself without your permission:**
- In the start menu, type “gpedit”Â in the search box and hit return. (If you’re running Windows XP, type “gpedit.msc” in the “Run…” dialog box that can be selected from the start menu.) This will start the “Group Policy Object Editor.”
- Drill down to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Windows Update | No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installation. Completely intuitive, no?
- Click “Enabled.“ Remember, enabled here means you’re disabling the automatic updates. Make sense?
*This apparently also happens with XP running SP2, though I’m not sure if these instructions apply.
**There’s a sentence I never thought I’d have to type.