How to Fix: Disable Windows 11 Reboot on Update

Dennis Faas's picture

(Note that the solution below applies to any Windows 11 machine that needs to stay up and running without a reboot after updates, and not just one running VMware Workstation).

Infopackets Reader Calli P. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

We recently upgraded our server machine to an AMD Ryzen 9 with 16 cores and 32 threads. The old machine was very outdated (only 4 core). The role of the new server is the same as the old - to be a Hypervisor - which runs VMware workstation. Inside of VMware Workstation is a virtual machine which we regard as the Server virtual machine, which runs our ESC software for our heating and cooling business. Currently the Server virtual machine runs Windows 10, but will be upgraded to Windows 11 shortly because Windows 10 reaches end of life in October, 2025.

The issue I'm having is that Windows 11 running on the Hypervisor likes to reboot itself every time there is an update. This is extremely problematic because during a reboot, the shutdown process does not send a signal to VMware Workstation to pause the server virtual machine - it simply powers off and data is lost. We are running SQL Server inside the Server virtual machine (as part of the ESC software) and an unclean shutdown can corrupt our databases. This cannot happen because it is mission critical.

I have gone to Settings -> Windows Update -> 'Notify me when a restart is required to finish updating' and enabled that setting on our Windows 11 Hypervisor. This works for a short time - i.e. Windows 11 updates are downloaded and a reboot is 'paused' - and Windows 11 will notify you that you need to reboot, but if you don't manually reboot after some time has passed, Windows 11 will automatically reboot on its own. I think this sort of defeats the purpose of being notified about needing a reboot. I am not sure what to do and need help! "

My response:

I asked Calli if she would like me to look into this using my remote desktop service, and she agreed.

Below I will discuss my findings.

How to Fix: Disable Windows 11 Reboot on Update

I have looked into this problem extensively and here's what I found:

  1. As Calli mentioned, the Windows 11 setting 'Notify me when a restart is required to finish updating' does not work - I tested this on my machine as well and had the same result. The result is that Windows 11 will still reboot on its own, but only after warning you and only after some time has passed.
  2. There are posts online that suggest using regedit (registry editor) in Windows 11 to set a registry key called NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers to 1, in hopes of stopping Windows 11 from rebooting on an update - but after applying this registry setting on my own machine, it simply does not work.
  3. Other posts suggest using gpedit (group policy editor - only on Windows Pro versions) and enabling the "No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations" flag, but after enabling this setting on my machine, it also does not work.
  4. It's worth mentioning that the Windows Update Orchestrator hack I previously used to disable Windows 10 from rebooting after an update does not work anymore because Microsoft removed the Reboot scheduled task from Windows 11.
  5. I also came across a few forum posts that suggest it is possible to use gpedit (group policy editor) to call a script during the shutdown process (in hopes of pausing the virtual machine before shutdown occurs), but this also does not work.

    I spent about 4 hours writing a script to log, pause and resume virtual machines during a shutdown - however, whenever I'm being logged out of the system, the running virtual machines would suffer a power loss even after the script executed.

    That's because during the shutdown process, Windows 11 kills all running tasks in order to prepare for shutdown, including the vmware-vmx.exe task (i.e. the graphical user interface to VMware Workstation). This happens prior to calling the script which would then pause the virtual machines.

The Only Solution That Works: Prevent Windows Updates

Therefore, the only solution that I found to prevent Windows 11 from rebooting on an update - albeit very reluctantly - was to stop Windows 11 from updating in the first place. It's very sad that it has to come to this, but there appears to be no other viable solution at this point in time. In Calli's case, this will keep the Windows 11 Hypervisor on all the time because there are no new updates being applied. In turn, the machine won't automatically reboot on its own.

For such a task, I used a freeware program called Windows Update Blocker. So far, it seems to work by stopping Windows 11 updates from coming through. Obviously, the only issue with this approach is that the machine won't have updates being applied automatically. This is dangerous because the Hypervisor is now susceptible to zero-day exploits, which means that it will need to be monitored to have updates applied manually.

As I mentioned at the top of the article: using Windows Update Blocker will work on any Windows 11 machine that needs to run 24/7 without having it reboot. Although this article is particular to VMware Workstation and virtual machines, it can apply to any circumstance where you need to have the machine uninterrupted 24/7.

I hope that helps.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the CEO and owner of Since 2001, Dennis has dedicated his entire professional career helping others with technology-related issues with his unique style of writing in the form of questions-and-answers; click here to read all 2,000+ of Dennis' articles online this site. In 2014, Dennis shifted his focus to cyber crime mitigation, including technical support fraud and in 2019, sextortion. Dennis has received many accolades during his tenure: click here to view Dennis' credentials online; click here to see Dennis' Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science (1999); click here to read an article written about Dennis by Alan Gardyne of Associate Programs (2003). And finally, click here to view a recommendation for Dennis' services from the University of Florida (dated 2006).

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gi7omy_15619's picture

OK - this is slightly convoluted (and a bit of a pain) but my procedure is:
1:- block updates
2:- regularly check with for any updates, new builds, etc
3:- download and use rufus to make an installation drive on a thumb drive
4:- use that file to update at a time of my choosing (after stopping and saving any running apps)

Not very elegant - but it works