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Windows has finally fixed its awful auto-update system

How to Fix Windows Automatic Updates

Anyone who’s used a Windows PC for more than 20 minutes has probably run into the scheduled updater. This evil snippet of code will, on occasion, forcibly restart your PC, no matter how urgent a piece of work might be.

In the latest beta version of Windows 10, Microsoft has revealed how it will fix the auto-install with a new feature called “Active Hours.” It still doesn’t allow you to turn off auto-install — Microsoft is determined that you stay up to date — but it does the next best thing.

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When enabled, Active Hours lets you set the hours during which you most use your computer, and no updates will ever be installed during that time period. No, you can’t just set your Active Hours to be 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day — it tops out at 10 hours, which should nonetheless be enough to cover most people’s day jobs.

To set up Active Hours, you first need to be on the Insider beta program. Assuming you’re running the latest beta build, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings app (Windows +I)
  2. Open Updates and Security
  3. Click “change active hours” to set your preferred period of time

I think this strikes a decent balance between user-friendliness, and still keeping everyone’s systems up to date. I’ve been shafted by a Windows Update at a highly inconvenient time before (nothing like a spontaneous reboot in the middle of a Samsung press conference!). But I also appreciate the value of keeping everyone up to date, especially at a time when Windows zero-day security flaws pop up with alarming regularity.