How to Enable Active Hours in Windows 10

To control when Windows 10 installs the updates and restart the system, you need to let the Active Hours in Windows 10. Here’s how.

The automated updates in Windows 10 are pretty helpful. They make sure your machine is up to date and always patched. However, one major problem with automatic updates is that the system might force reboot to accomplish the update installation. Though not a problem for the vast majority of users, it can be a inconvenience every so often. To avoid this type of behavior you have to switch on the Active Hours feature.

As you have seen in the name itself, Active Hours are hours that you make use of the computer. Once enabled, Windows is only going to install the updates outside the active hours. For instance, if you work on the body all day, say from 7 AM to 10 PM, you can set that point range as active hours. When the active hours are set, Windows will not install the updates until after 10 PM and before 7 AM.

As you can guess, the Active Hours feature is pretty helpful. Especially for home users who generally turn off their system at night time. In this simple and quick guide, allow me to demonstrate the steps to allow active hours in Windows 10.

How to enable active hours in Settings

The settings app in Windows 10 comes with an easy-to-use option to enable and configure active hours. Here’re the steps to follow along with.

Open the Settings with “Windows Key + I” keyboard shortcut.
Go to the “Update & Security” page.
Select “Windows Update” around the left panel.
Click on the “Change active hours” option on the right panel.
Turn off “Automatically adjust active hours based on activity” option.
Now, click on the “Change” link.
Within this window, set both Start some time and End time for active hours. The active hours are limited to 18 hours max.
Click the “Save” button.
Now, switch on the switch underneath the “Automatically adjust active hours according to activity” option.
Close the Settings app.
Restart Windows 10.

That’s all. You’ve successfully switched on active hours and configured it to restart when you are not while using system.

Should you open the Settings app and visit “Update & Security → Windows Security”, you will see current active hours timing under the “Change active hours” option.

How to enable active hours GPO in Group Policy Editor

You are able to enable and configure active hours in Group Policy Editor using the turn-off auto-start GPO policy. This is particularly useful if you want to enforce the rules and disallow changes in the Settings app. Keep in mind that the group policy editor is just readily available for Windows 10 pro and enterprise versions.

Below are the steps to turn on active hours in Group Policy Editor.

Open the Start menu by pressing the “Windows Key”.
Type “Edit Group Policy” within the search bar and select it from the Start menu.
After opening the audience Policy Editor, go to the “Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Windows Update” folder.
On the right panel, double-click on the “Turn-off auto-restart for updates during active hours” policy.
In this window, select the “Enabled” option.
Underneath the options section within the same window, set the Start some time and End time using the dropdown menus.
Click “Apply” and “Ok” buttons.
Close the audience Policy Editor.
Restart Windows to use the insurance policy settings.

After restarting the system, the Active Hours group policy is applied automatically. From now on, Windows will only restart the machine automatically outside the active hours to set up updates.

To disable active hours, select “Not configured” within the policy properties window.

How you can Switch on Active Hours in Registry

You can enable active hours in Registry Editor or registry key. Backup the Registry and follow the steps listed below.

Open the Start menu by pressing the “Windows Key”.
Type “Registry Editor” and then click it to open.
Now, copy the below registry path.
HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate
Paste the copied path within the Registry Editor’s address bar and press Enter.
Right-click on the “WindowsUpdate” folder and choose “New → Dword (32-bit) Value”.
Name the worth as “SetActiveHours”.
Double-click around the “SetActiveHours”
Type “1” in the Value Data field and click “Ok”.
Right-click on the “WindowsUpdate” folder again and choose “New → Dword value”.
Name the value as “ActiveHoursStart”.
Double-click around the “ActiveHoursStart” value.
In the Value Data field, type several between 0 and 23. The number range signifies 24-hours where 0 is 12 AM and 23 is 11 PM. For example, to set the beginning time to 7 AM, type 7 in the Value Data field.
Click “Ok”.
Right-click around the “WindowsUpdate” folder yet again and select “New → Dword value”.
Name the worth as “ActiveHoursEnd”.
Double-click on the “ActiveHoursEnd” value.
In the Value Data field, type a number between 0 and 23. The number range signifies 24-hours where 0 is 12 AM and 23 is 11 PM. For instance, to set the end time to 9 PM, type 21 within the Value Data field.
Click “Ok”.
Close the Registry Editor.
Restart Windows.

That is all. You are done creating the registry answer to enable active hours. In the future, Windows will automatically restart outside active hours to install Windows updates.

To disable active hours, double-click on the “SetActiveHours” value, type “0” within the Value Data field and click on “Ok”. Alternatively, you can also delete all three values.

Wrapping Up

That is it. As you can tell, Windows offers a number of different methods to turn on and from the active hours. Based on your use case, stick to the one you want. That said, I’d recommend you stick with the first method as it is simple to configure. If you want to enforce the rule then stick to the Group Policy method.

Alternatively, you may also completely stop Windows 10 from rebooting to set up updates whenever a user is logged in.