How to disable automatic updates in Windows XP?

Elvis Elvis

You may have a good reason to disable automatic updates in Windows XP.

Windows XP, by default, will download and install updates to the operating system automatically.

Personally, I prefer to backup the operating system before installing anything, so I have my computer set to download the updates and then notify me so that I can choose when to install them.

There has also occasionally been the update that broke things instead of fixing them, and you may want to wait for others to be the testing platform instead of your computer.

Whatever the reason, here’s how to do it.

  • Click the Start button
  • Right-click My Computer in the Start menu
  • Click Properties in the pop-up menu. The System Properties dialog box opens with the General tab in front.
  • Click the Automatic Updates tab to bring it to the front.
  • Under the Notification Settings area near the top of the dialog box, “Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed.” will be selected by default.
  • You can click the radio button near either of the other choices if you choose.
    The choices are:
    “Notify me before downloading any updates and notify me again before installing them on my computer.”
    “Turn off automatic updating. I want to update my computer manually.”

How to disable automatic updates in Windows XP?

If you disable automatic updates, make sure that you keep up with Windows updates by periodically clicking Start, All Programs, Windows Updates in the Start menu to take you to Microsoft’s update site.

If you have Windows XP without any Service Pack installed, then you’re done. By the way, you should have at least Service Pack 1 installed, and seriously consider Service Pack 2 (after doing a complete backup, of course).

If you have Service Pack 2 installed, Windows will keep nagging you about not having Automatic Updates enabled. Here’s how to stop the nagging.

  • Open the Control Panel by clicking the Start button and then click Control Panel.
  • If your Control Panel is in Category View (you’ll know because it’ll say Pick a category at the top of the window) then single click the Security Center icon. If you’re in Classic View, double click the icon.
  • On the left side of the Security Center window that opens, click “Change the way Security Center alerts me” under Resources.
  • Uncheck the Automatic Updates option.

This will tell Windows with Service Pack 2 not to alert you that Automatic Updates has been disabled.

Remember, if you choose to disable automatic updates, make sure you keep your Windows XP updated by visiting the Microsoft Update page frequently.