How to Manage Windows Update with Active Hours Feature

Windows 10 Anniversary Update, returns some control to users by providing more flexibility for scheduling when updates are installed and the PC restarts.

Since the launch of Windows 10, Windows Update has received a lot of controversy about how Updates are scheduled. Previous versions of Windows gave users more control over updates. In Windows 10, Microsoft has made updates a mandatory part of keeping your system current. There is sound reasoning for this. I have come across computers that have rarely been updated, which can easily make a system vulnerable to attacks.

Of course, there needs to be a balance. One of the major complaints about Windows Update in Windows 10 is its disruptive nature. We have discussed how users can better manage Windows Updates. Windows 10 Anniversary Update, returns some control to users by providing more flexibility in scheduling when you can install updates.

How to Manage Windows Update using Active Hours

Click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Under Update settings, two new options have been added — Change Active Hours and Restart Options. If you will be busy using your PC during certain times of the day, and you can let Windows know, and prevent your device from automatically restarting.

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Active hours must be 10 hours less (I think Microsoft could be a bit more flexible with this option, though).

Since my computer is normally between the hours of 8 am to 12 am. For most business users, work hours are typically 8 to 4 PM, so this is reasonable outside of home use.

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Once you have configured the hours when you are active, click the checkbox then click Save to confirm changes.

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Active Hours does give users an option to set a grace period using Restart options. If you need more time before a scheduled update kicks in, you can override it. Click the Restart options link, then toggle on the custom restart time. Choose a time and day when you would prefer the restart to take place.

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Active Hours and Restart options in Windows 10 Anniversary Update takes the confusion and risk out of trying to disable or block updates. What I like the most is how easy and straightforward the options are. There could be more flexibility, but the options provided especially with Restart options are quite reasonable. Users running previous revisions of Windows 10 will definitely welcome this change.



  1. Dennis  

    As my computer is only on when I am using it this option won’t help me, yes? So when online I’m going to be stopped working when it updates. Urgh!

  2. Hapuku  

    Yes – so much of computing nowadays is designed for modern 1st world urban society relying on computers being permanently on and permanently connected to the internet. Any design for those living in less connected environments with less reliable power supplies and even less reliable and much more expensive internet connection tends to be patch-work. The divide is growing wider.

  3. The previous solutions we provided are still an option for blocking updates such as Defer feature updates and also blocking them completely. You also have the option to over-ride a restart if you so desire. Its actually a bit more flexible.

    • Robin Window  

      Why do they have to make it so unneccessarily complicated.
      Why not like previous Window systems,install updates when you shut down,not rocket science.

  4. Dennis  

    Also after an update and switching on again it is necessary to wait while ‘getting your computer ready’ and then ‘configuring your updates’ or some such messages needing you to sit back and wait sometimes 10 minutes or so before you can use your computer. Perhaps this is necessary but why? Any explanation?

    This nonsense never happened with XP updates.

    • Robin Window  

      Updates happen once a month so what if you have to wait 10 minutes every 30 days or so?
      Are you in such a hurry you are unable to spare this time?

      • Linda Ellis  

        It’s the unpredictability that is the problem – suddenly your computer (apparently) grinds to a halt with no indication of what us going on, or how long it is going to take. It would help if you just got a message – “downloading windows update”, or “installing windows update” – then at least you wouldn’t start looking to see if you have an internet problem, or thinking that the program you are using has hung.

  5. Simon  

    This is useful for a single machine, but when trying to change the setting within group policy all other items in the policy appear to be applied but ‘Turn off auto-restart for updates during active hours’ although enabled still shows the default times on the PC’s under the policy?

    Any Ideas?

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