How to Enable Windows Update in the Windows Registry


The Windows Registry is a file that holds all the settings for the operating system and personal software. The Windows Update service is an application that automatically downloads and installs updates according to the computer's settings. The service was included starting with Windows XP. Using the Registry, an administrator can enable Update service and set the configurations.

  • Click the Windows "Start" button and select "Run". In some versions of windows, you will have to go to "All Programs" and "Applications" to find the "Run" option. Enter "regedit" (without quotes) in the text box and press the "Enter" key. This opens the Windows Registry.

  • Click on the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" option, then choose "SOFTWARE", "Policies", "Microsoft", "Windows", "WindowsUpdate" and "AU". Within this directory, you'll notice four keys. These four keys are used to control the automation and behavior of the Update process.

  • Right-click the "NoAutoUpdate" key and select "Modify." Enter "0" into the value text box. This enables the auto-update process on the machine.

  • Right-click "AUOptions" and select "Modify." Enter "4" into the value. This sets auto-update to download and install the updates automatically. Enter "3" to download the update, but this option disables the software from automatically installing. With this option, you need to install the updates manually.

  • Right-click "ScheduledInstallDay" and select "Modify." Enter a value between 1 and 7. The numbers represent days of the week. For instance, entering a value of "1" will auto-update on Sundays. Right-click "ScheduledInstallTime" and select "Modify." Enter a time in military hours. For instance, enter "15" to have updates process at 3pm.

  • Close the Registry and reboot the machine.

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