System hacks: refuse to automatically update Windows 10 before shutdown

Windows 10 may automatically install system update files before shutting down, displaying the message “Windows is updating, nn% complete, do not shut down your computer” (Figure 1). While this service may seem user-friendly as it prepares users for safe or earlier delivery of new features, sometimes users are in a hurry to shut down their computers and don’t want this to drag on. So, how can you get Windows 10 to stop automatically performing content updates when you shut down your computer?

 

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1. Eliminate the root cause Clear the system update patch distribution folder

Windows update files have some non-essential optional updates in addition to the important security and quality updates. Among them, security and quality updates are generally security software and data updates, bug fix patches, etc. The automatic updates that we see before shutting down the system are usually updates that involve system security or major vulnerability fixes that need to be installed immediately. Since the update files are automatically downloaded to the system’s distribution folder first, to disable these updates from being installed automatically before shutdown, first clear the contents of the distribution folder so that automatic updates cannot be performed at shutdown. This will involve the Windows services associated with the distribution of the update files.

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Specifically, to clean up the distribution folder, you need to disable the automatic distribution-related services first. Right-click on the Command Prompt icon and select Go to the Administrator Command Prompt window (Figure 2); then execute the following commands in order to stop the file distribution service (Figure 3).

net stop wuauserv

net stop cryptSvc

net stop bits

net stop msiserver

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Next, locate the distribution folder “C:WindowsSoftwareDistributionDownload” in File Explorer, select all the folders under this folder, and then press Shift+Del (or select the Permanent Delete command) to perform the permanent deletion operation (Figure 4).

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After executing the above command, the automatic upgrade will not be executed when shutting down the computer because the distribution file no longer exists.

To restore the automatic download service of the distribution files, start the file distribution-related services with the following command in turn (Figure 5).

net start wuauserv

net start cryptSvc

net start bits

net start msiserver

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Or, after bypassing the automatic upgrade before shutdown, if you wish to perform a system upgrade, you can manually check and upgrade from the System Upgrade Settings window while the system is running.

2. Enable power button shutdown to bypass automatic upgrade

Since using the shutdown command in the Start menu may trigger an automatic system upgrade, we can bypass this shutdown route and instead shut down Windows by directly pressing the power button, which by default can force a shutdown, but that may result in data loss. We can set it up so that a short press on the power button acts as a system shutdown.

Type the command powercfg.cpl in the Cortana search box to launch the Power Options window. Click “Select power button function” in the list on the left (Figure 6); select the “Shutdown” option in the “When pressing the power button” list, and then click the Then click the “Save Changes” button (Figure 7).

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After that, you can just press the power button to shut down your computer without performing the upgrade patch check, and you will not install any Windows upgrade patch before shutting down your computer.

3. Seek alternative shutdown solutions to bypass automatic upgrade

In addition to taking measures to avoid downloading upgrade patches and bypassing upgrade checks as described above, a way to avoid installing upgrade patches before shutting down the computer is to also take advantage of the energy-saving solution provided by Windows itself and arrange for the computer to run continuously with minimal energy consumption without shutting down the computer. For example, putting the computer in sleep mode or hibernation mode when it is not in use will avoid the shutdown command from causing problems with the upgrade package installation.

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Hibernate mode allows applications to be dumped from memory to the hard drive and then completely cut off power until the computer is turned on again, thus bypassing the need to shut down the computer to install the upgrade patch. Sleep mode, on the other hand, allows the computer to enter a low-power state, maintaining the data stored in memory with a weak power consumption; this mode does not actually turn off the power and does not install the upgrade patch (Figure 8).

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