Hello our dear readers! Don’t you just hate it when Windows decides to suddenly update itself when you just want to shut down your laptop and go? Today’s tip will help you skip updating your Windows while shutting down or restarting.

Let me explain what happens:

  1. Your computer checks for updates (in most cases, automatically).
  2. If updates are found, Windows begins to download them.
  3. Once all the available updates are downloaded, it begins to install them one by one.
  4. After the installation is done, you computer will require a restart in order to set things up.

And that’s where our trick lies. We’re going to postpone that set up and perform it when we want, not when Windows wants.

Here’s what it looks like when the update is about to happen

When Windows is about to update the usual Shut down and Restart options become Update and Shut down and Update and Restart, like this:

This is the moment where you don’t click on these options and do something else to postpone the update / set-up. I’ll show you how in a minute.

But first, don’t waste your time with these solutions you may find online – because they won’t work!

Don’t try this! Here are some methods that DON’T work.

  • Pressing ALT+F4 because the same options will be there:
  • Executing this command in your CMD: “shutdown /s“, this one will only sign you out from the current user but won’t shut down your computer. We’ve included the correct command in Method II.

OK, here are the methods that do work! Method I: Configure the power button

Windows 10 and some older versions of Windows give you the ability to configure the power button to make it take actions of your choice. In our case, we will set it to shut down once pressed. This way, you will give your computer an order to shut down immediately without updating… exactly what we want right? So, let’s do it:

  1. Press your Windows logo Key to launch your Run app and then type control panel then press Enter or click Ok.
  2. search for “power options” and choose Power Options.
  3. From the left pane, choose “Choose what the power button does
  4. Change the action your computer takes When I press the power button to Shut down in both on “battery” or “plugged in” in case of a laptop. Don’t forget to click Save changes after setting things up.
  5. Now, whenever you press the power button, your computer will shut down immediately without checking if there are updates to install or not. Mission accomplished!

P.S This is different from doing a “hard shut down” which is performed by pressing the power button down for a long time – that just shuts down everything while disregarding any running processes and it could be harmful to the computer over time. 

If don’t like to change what the power button does or you prefer other actions to be taken when you press it, then we have other ways, keep reading the following methods.

Method II: Force shut down via CMD

Everyone should know that CMD (command prompt) is our little go-to magician when we are stuck with a problem. There are several commands that you can execute to make your computer shut down and restart without a problem. Try it yourself:

  • Type “cmd” in your start menu, right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
  • Click Yes to give it permission.
  • Type the following command then press enter: shutdown /p and then press Enter.
  • You computer should now shut down immediately without installing or processing any updates.

These two methods that we went over are the best ones, and they keep your downloaded/installed updates for future processing. If you want to remove the downloaded/installed updates for any reason, then the next method will be the best for you. Check out this guide if you want to permanently stop your computer from downloading updates (or at least until further notice).

Method III: Clear the SoftwareDistribiution download folder

The SoftwareDistribiution Download folder is the directory used by Windows to store the downloaded updates. You can simply delete all the files and folders there to clear any downloaded updates. Be aware that in case you need to update your Windows version, you’ll have to re-download all of these files and folders again. Now let’s go for it:

  • Type cmd in start menu, right click on Command Prompt and then choose Run as administrator
  • Click Yes to give it permission .
  • Type the following commands to stop the Windows Update service (Press Enterafter each command):
net stop wuauserv
net stop bits
  • Navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and delete all the files and folders there. Don’t worry, the next time Windows Update will run, it will recreate all of them from scratch.
  • Wait a few minutes and then try to shut down your computer from the start menu. If you can still see the (Update and shut down) option still there, then it’s recommended that you use Method I or Method II to shut it down.
  • Next time when you start your computer up, make sure the Windows Update service is started again by typing the following commands to in your CMD (Press Enter after each command):

net start wuauserv
net start bits
Finally, some alternatives for the shut down option

Let’s also talk about “Sleep” and “Hibernate“: other ways to stop your computer for a moment instead of letting it install updates.

Hibernation is a power-saving state designed primarily for laptops. While sleep puts your work and settings in memory and draws a small amount of power, hibernation puts your open documents and programs on your hard disk and then turns off your computer.

Sleep puts any open documents and applications in memory and on your hard disk, and then puts your computer into a low-power state, allowing you to quickly wake the computer and resume your work.

In order to use these options, you first need to make sure they are enabled in your Control panel. Follow me and I’ll show you how to enable them:

  1. Press your Windows logo Key to launch your Run app and then type control panel then press Enter or click Ok.
  2. search for “power options” and choose Power Options.
  3. Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable”.
  4. Now, make both Sleep and Hibernate checked in order to use them later and then click Save changes.
  5. Voilà, next time you click the power icon in your start menu, you’ll find the hibernate and the sleep options there even if you have updates to install.

Take a look at this article if you can’t shut down your computer, it’s really helpful and it will show you how to fix it.

Still stuck? Ask your question in our forum!

About Author

Mina studies communications and electronics engineering and works as a technical support. He keeps himself up to date with the latest developments and news in technology. He loves helping people with their daily tech issues, so he's always ready to go the extra mile.

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