Set Deadlines for Automatic Updates and Restarts in Windows 10

Windows 10 is set to check for updates automatically unless you disable this feature manually. Starting with Windows version 1903, there is a new Group Policy option that allows specifying the number of days that a user has before quality and feature updates are installed on their device automatically. Also, there is an option to set a grace period after which the operating system restarts automatically.

Windows 10 comes with a special service called "Windows Update" which periodically downloads update packages from Microsoft's servers and installs those updates except for metered connections. If it is not disabled in Windows 10, the user can manually check for updates at any moment.

The update that is offered to a device depends on several factors. Some of the most common attributes include the following.

  • OS Build
  • OS Branch
  • OS Locale
  • OS Architecture
  • Device update management configuration

In Windows 10, there are two release types: feature updates that add new functionality twice per year, and quality updates that provide security and reliability fixes at least once a month.

A new Group Policy Option in Windows 10 version 1903

When a new update installs, the operating system shows a toast notification that informs the user that their device will restart automatically outside of the Active Hours period (if configured). The user can reschedule a restart using the appropriate options in Settings > Update & recovery > Windows Update.

If you are tired to postpone the restart all the time manually, you can now enable a new policy in Group Policy to specify a new default deadline for up to 14 days that Windows 10 will use to restart your device automatically. Also, you can apply a Registry tweak if the Local Group Policy editor app is not available in your Windows version, e.g. in Windows 10 Home.

A new Group Policy option in Windows 10 version 1903 allows the user to set the number of days that a user has before quality and feature updates are installed on their devices automatically, and a grace period after which required restarts occur automatically. Updates and restarts will occur regardless of active hours, and the user will not be able to reschedule. It comes with the following four options: Set a deadline for quality updates, Set a deadline for feature updates, Set a restart grace period, and, Don't auto-restart until end of grace period. Let's see how to configure it.

Note: When enabled, the policy overrides the following Group Policy options.

  1. Specify deadline before auto restart for update installation.
  2. Specify Engaged restart transition and notification schedule for updates.
  3. Always automatically restart at the scheduled time.
  4. No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installation.

If you are running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor app to configure the options with a GUI, as described below. Otherwise, you can apply a Registry tweak.

To Set Deadlines for Automatic Updates and Restarts in Windows 10,

  1. Press Win + R keys together on your keyboard and type:
    gpedit.msc

    Press Enter. Windows 10 run gpedit

  2. Group Policy Editor will open. Go to Computer Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Windows Components \ Windows Update.
  3. On the right, double-click the policy option Specify deadlines for automatic updates and restarts.Set Deadlines For Automatic Updates And Restarts In Windows 10 1
  4. Select Enabled to turn on the policy.Set Deadlines For Automatic Updates And Restarts In Windows 10 2
  5. Select 2 to 30 days in the Quality updates drop down list to set the number of days a user has before quality updates run automatically, regardless of active hours, with no ability to reschedule.
  6. Select 2 to 30 days in the Feature updates drop down list to set the number of days a user has before feature updates run automatically, regardless of active hours, with no ability to reschedule.
  7. Select 0 to 7 days in the Grace period drop down list to set the number of days from the time a restart is required until the device automatically restarts. Devices will restart regardless of active hours, with no ability to reschedule.
  8. Also, you can enable the Don't auto-restart until end of grace period option if you want.

You are done.

Set Deadlines with a Registry Tweak

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

    Tip: See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click. If you do not have such a key, then just create it.

  3. Here, modify or create a new 32-bit DWORD value SetComplianceDeadline. Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows, you still need to use a 32-bit DWORD as the value type. Set it to 1 to enable the feature.
  4. Modify or create a new 32-bit DWORD ConfigureDeadlineForQualityUpdates, and set it to a value from 2 to 30 in decimals for days you want to set for a Quality updates deadline.
  5. Modify or create a new 32-bit DWORD ConfigureDeadlineForFeatureUpdates, and set it to a value from 2 to 30 in decimals for days you want to set for a Feature updates deadline.
  6. Modify or create a new 32-bit DWORD ConfigureDeadlineGracePeriod, and set it to a value from 0 to 7 in decimals for days you want to set for a Grace period.
  7. Finally, create or modify the ConfigureDeadlineNoAutoReboot 32-bit DWORD value and set it to 1 to enable the option Don't auto-restart until end of grace period. A value data of 0 will disable it.Set Deadlines For Automatic Updates And Restarts In Windows 10 3
  8. To make the changes done by the Registry tweak take effect, restart Windows 10.

You are done.

Note: Delete all the mentioned five values to undo the change. Restart the OS after that.

To save your time, you can download the following ready-to-use Registry files.

Download Registry Files

By applying the provided tweak, you will set a 7 day deadline for both Quality and Feature updates, along with a 2 day Grace period. The undo tweak is included.

That's it.

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