Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Prevent Windows Automatic Updates

Although Windows Update is a nice feature of Windows, it is sometimes annoying -- stealing your CPU power to determine what update is necessary, and stealing bandwidth while downloading updates. You can disable it from the Control Panel, but it's not completely disabled. See how to prevent Windows from "phoning home" for updates.

Disable Windows Automatic Updates
A lot of us know how to disable Automatic Updates in Windows. Go to Control Panel, select Automatic Updates, and choose Do not download or install updates. Well, that works, sometimes.

Even with Automatic Updates turned off, Windows still contacts Microsoft Update website occasionally. And, as I have found out, a bug in Windows is present that makes Windows act as though Automatic Updates were set to Notify. A lot of Windows users leave their computer running for a long time without saving their work. They will be frustrated to see all their hard work is lost when Windows suddenly updates and decided to restart itself.

Also, if you turned off Automatic Updates, you might not know that two more services are running in the background that are useless. These services are the Background Intelligent Transfer Service, and Automatic Update service.

Turn off these services and free up memory for your computer, and prevent Windows from updating unless you told it to. Oh, and you need Administrative Privileges to do this. If you do not have that privilege, it's wise not to tinker with the system.

Go to the Services console by going to Administrative Tools under Control Panel. Alternatively, go to Run, and type services.msc and press Enter. The Services Management Console should open.

Now, look for the name Background Intelligent Transfer Service. Double-click it to open its properties. Click the Stop button. Then, select Disabled for the Startup Type. Press OK to confirm. Do the same for Automatic Updates service.

There you go. Without these services, Windows can't contact Microsoft and update itself without your permission. To enable Automatic Updates again, follow the steps above, but click Start instead, and select Automatic for the Startup type.

This trick also affects updates from the Microsoft Update Website.

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