How to Stop Wuauclt.exe

By Matt Koble

Wuauclt.exe is Windows XP's automatic update feature. While it's best to update your PC when Windows suggests, this particular update appears when you need to restart your computer to complete an update, which can be a problem if you're working on something important. While the Wuauclt.exe dialog box does have a "Restart Later" option, the dialog box will pop up every 10 minutes until you comply. You can either disable Wuauclt.exe specifically or completely disable Windows XP's automatic update feature. You must remember to manually update XP regularly when you disable automatic updates.

Disable the Auto-Restart Schedule

Step 1

Turn on your PC and wait for Windows XP to load. Click "Start," "Run" and type "gpedit.msc" before hitting "Enter." This will bring up XP's Group Policy Editor.

Step 2

Using the left pane of the group policy editor, click "Local Computer Policy" if it's not already opened. Click the plus sign next to "Computer Configuration," "Administrative Templates" and "Windows Components," and double-click the "Windows Update" folder.

Step 3

Right-click "No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations" under "Settings" on the right side of the window. Select "Enable" before clicking the "X" in the top, right corner of the window to close the Group Policy Editor.

Disable Automatic Updates

Step 1

Turn on your computer and wait for XP to fully load. Click "Start" and choose "Control Panel" from the "Start" menu's right side.

Step 2

Click on "Performance and Maintenance" and then "System." This will bring up the "System Properties" window.

Step 3

Navigate to the "Automatic Updates" tab and select "Turn off automatic updating. I want to update my computer manually." Click "Apply" in the lower, right corner and click "OK" to close the window.

Step 4

Perform manual updates periodically by clicking "Start," "Help and Support," "Keep your computer up-to-date with Windows Update" and "Custom." Windows XP will search for updates if your computer is connected to the Internet.

Step 5

Click "Review and install updates" when XP finishes searching for updates. Select the updates you want to install, including all labeled under "High Priority." Click "Review and Install Updates" when you're finished choosing and click "Install Updates." Wait while they're downloaded and installed and click "Close" when finished. You may be required to restart to enact any updates.

Tips & Warnings

  • Failing to update Windows manually after you turn off automatic updates will leave you without important updates designed to make XP and your computer's hardware run safely and smooth.