Windows Update Set Active Hours for Windows Update in Windows 11


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Windows_Update_banner.png

Windows Update keeps Windows 11 updated by automatically downloading and installing the latest updates, drivers, and hotfixes released by Microsoft.

Active hours let Windows know when you're typically at your PC. Windows will use that info to schedule updates and restarts when you’re not using the PC.

The default active hours is 8 AM (8 on 24 hour clock) for Start time and 5 PM (17 on 24 hour clock) End time.

This tutorial will show you how to set active hours for when you use your PC to not automatically restart your Windows 11 PC during this time to finish installing a Windows Update.


Contents

  • Option One: Set Active Hours for Windows Update in Settings
  • Option Two: Set Active Hours for Windows Update in Registry Editor
  • Option Three: Set Active Hours Policy for Windows Update in Local Group Policy Editor
  • Option Four: Set Active Hours Policy for Windows Update in Registry Editor





OPTION ONE

Set Active Hours for Windows Update in Settings


1 Open Settings (Win+I).

2 Click/tap on Windows Update on the left side, and click/tap on Advanced options on the right side. (see screenshot below)

Active_Hours_Settings-1.png

3 Click/tap on Active hours to expand it open. (see screenshots below step 5)

4 Select Automatically (default) or Manually for what you want in the Adjust active hours drop menu. (see screenshots below step 5)

5 If you selected Manually, perform the following actions: (see screenshots below)
  1. Click/tap on the hour for Start time, and select an hour you want in the menu.
  2. Select AM or PM in the menu.
  3. Click/tap on the check mark in the menu.
  4. Click/tap on the hour for End time, and select an hour you want in the menu.
  5. Select AM or PM in the menu.
  6. Click/tap on the check mark in the menu.
Active_Hours_Settings-2.png
Active_Hours_Settings-3.png

6 You can now close Settings if you like.





OPTION TWO

Set Active Hours for Windows Update in Registry Editor


You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

This options sets the same setting in Option One.


1 Open Registry Editor (regedit.exe).

2 Navigate to and expand open the key below in the left pane of Registry Editor. (see screenshot below)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UX\Settings

Active_Hours_regedit-1.png

3 Do step 4 (automatically) or step 5 (manually) below for what you want.


4 Adjust Active Hours Automatically

A) In the right pane of the Settings key, double click/tap on the SmartActiveHoursState DWORD to modify it. (see screenshot below step 2)​

B) Type 1, click/tap on OK, and go to step 6. (see screenshot below)​

Active_Hours_regedit-4.png

5 Adjust Active Hours Manually

A) In the right pane of the Settings key, double click/tap on the SmartActiveHoursState DWORD to modify it. (see screenshot below step 2)​

B) Type 0, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)​

Active_Hours_regedit-5.png

C) In the right pane of the Settings key, double click/tap on the ActiveHoursStart DWORD to modify it. (see screenshot below step 2)​

D) Select (dot) Decimal, type in an hour (ex: 8) using the 24 hour clock format for your active hours Start time, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)​

Active_Hours_regedit-3.png

E) In the right pane of the Settings key, double click/tap on the ActiveHoursEnd DWORD to modify it. (see screenshot below step 2)​

F) Select (dot) Decimal, type in an hour (ex: 17) using the 24 hour clock format for your active hours End time, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)​

Active_Hours_regedit-2.png

G) Go to step 6.​

6 You can now close Registry Editor if you like.





OPTION THREE

Set Active Hours Policy for Windows Update in Local Group Policy Editor


You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Four to configure the same policy.


If any of the following two policies are enabled, this policy has no effect:

1. No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations
2. Always automatically restart at scheduled time


1 Open the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc).

2 Navigate to the policy location below in the left pane of the Local Group Policy Editor. (see screenshot below)

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update\Manage end user experience

Active_Hours_gpedit-1.png

3 In the right pane of Manage end user experience in Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Turn off auto-restart for updates during active hours policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4 Do step 5 (default) or step 6 (specify) below for what you want.


 5. Use Default Active Hours

This will allow using Option One and Option Two.


A) Select (dot) Not Configured. (see screenshot below)​

B) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below.​

Active_Hours_gpedit-2.png


 6. Specify Active Hours with Policy

This will override and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Select (dot) Enabled. (see screenshot below)​

B) Perform the following actions under Active Hours in Options.​
  • In the Start drop menu, select the start time you want for active hours.
  • In the Ends drop menu, select the end time you want for active hours.
C) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below.​

Active_Hours_gpedit-3.png

7 Close the Local Group Policy Editor.

8 Restart the computer to apply.





OPTION FOUR

Set Active Hours Policy for Windows Update in Registry Editor


You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

This options sets the same policy in Option Three.


If any of the following two policies are enabled, this policy has no effect:

1. No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations
2. Always automatically restart at scheduled time


1 Do step 2 (specify) or step 3 (default) below for what you want.


2 Specify Active Hours with Policy

This will override and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the Set_Active_Hours_group_policy.reg file below.​

This downloadable .reg file will add the registry keys and values for you to make it easier to specify what you want starting at step 2D below.



(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]
"SetActiveHours"=dword:00000001
"ActiveHoursStart"=dword:00000008
"ActiveHoursEnd"=dword:00000011

B) Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.​

C) When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.​


D) Open Registry Editor (regedit.exe).​


E) Navigate to the key below in the left pane of Registry Editor. (see screenshot below)​

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

Active_Hours_gpedit_regedit-1.png

F) In the right pane of the WindowsUpdate key, double click/tap on the ActiveHoursStart DWORD to modify it. (see screenshot below step 2E)​

G) Select (dot) Decimal, type in an hour (ex: 8 for 8 AM) using the 24 hour clock format for the active hours Start time you want, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)​

Active_Hours_gpedit_regedit-3.png

H) In the right pane of the WindowsUpdate key, double click/tap on the ActiveHoursEnd DWORD to modify it. (see screenshot below step 2E)​

I) Select (dot) Decimal, type in an hour (ex: 17 for 5 PM) using the 24 hour clock format for the active hours End time you want, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)​

Active_Hours_gpedit_regedit-2.png

J) Close Registry Editor, and go to step 4 below.​


3 Use Default Active Hours

This will allow using Option One and Option Two.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the Undo_Active_Hours_group_policy.reg file below.​


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]
"SetActiveHours"=-
"ActiveHoursStart"=-
"ActiveHoursEnd"=-

B) Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.​

C) When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.​

D) Go to step 4 below.​

4 Restart the computer to apply.

5 You can now delete the downloaded .reg file if you like


That's it,
Shawn Brink


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