Registry Tweak to Force Automatic Restart in Windows 8 After Installing Important Updates

When you install an important update in Windows 8 using Windows Update, Windows asks you to restart your computer by showing a notification message at login screen. This message tells you that you have to restart your system within 3 days and after 3 days your computer system will automatically restart to apply the updates.


Once 3 days grace period ends, Windows shows a 15 minutes countdown and after 15 minutes your computer system is restarted by Windows.


But there is a small issue! After 3 days time if your computer is locked i.e. if you have used Windows built-in lock feature, Windows doesn't start the 15 minutes countdown and it waits until you unlock the computer. Once you unlock the computer, Windows starts the countdown and after 15 minutes it automatically restarts your computer.

Although its not a major problem but it might be an issue for system Administrators who want to spend less time in managing several computer systems in their organization.

To solve this issue, Microsoft has released a new update for Windows 8 and Server 2012 which introduces a new Registry feature to force Windows to automatic restart computers even if the computer is locked.

First of all download and install the required update using following links:

After installing the update, you'll need to edit Windows Registry to apply the new feature. Here are the required steps to complete the procedure:

1. Press WIN+R keys to launch RUN dialog box. Type regedit and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:


If AU or WindowsUpdate keys are not present, you'll need to create them manually.

3. In right-side pane, look for a DWORD AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime. If its not present, create a new DWORD and set its name to AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime.

4. Double-click on the above mentioned DWORD and change its value to 1


5. Close Registry Editor and restart your system.

Now Windows will always automatically restart your computer system when you install an important update in Windows 8 or Server 2012 and do not restart your computer within 3 days time period.

PS: If you don't want to allow automatic restart feature, change the value of AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime DWORD to 0.

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Posted in: Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Thanks VG.

  • Nice addition by Microsoft. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  • I checked my PC running Windows 8 and I did not see this WindowsUpdate subkey in the Windows Registry. I double-checked the list of installed updates and I saw KB2822241 (and KB2823516) there.

    Seeing the screenshot that you included above, VG, I can safely assume you manually created the subkey.
    (A newly created subkey is always listed last but the next time you reopen the Registry Editor to that same registry branch, the entries will be automatically sorted.)

  • The registry key does not get created until you either set a GPO to set these settings via a domain or you change your local group policy settings in gpedit.msc. Once you've updated either of the locations with Windows Update related setting changes, the keys get created with the appropriate values based on the settings you have created.

    They can manually be created and the Windows Update service restarted for them to take effect.

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