Three Tricks for Shutting Down Your Windows 7 PC without Having to Install Updates


Have you ever been in a hurry to shut down your PC only to find that Windows says it is installing updates and you have to wait? Wait no more. Here are three different tips for shutting down without having to install updates.

First, note that if updates are waiting to be installed, the “Shut down” button has a little orange shield warning on the left as shown in the graphic below. The tips below are to be applied before Windows starts installing.

Update warning on Windows 7 Shut down button

How to shut down without updates method 1

  1. Make sure that your desktop has the focus. Either click on a blank spot on the desktop or use the keyboard combination: Windows key+D
  2. Enter the keyboard combination: Alt+F4
  3. A dialog box will open. In the pull-down menu, select “Shut down”. The figure below shows an example of the dialog. (A very similar dialog will appear in the Windows 7 Home version.) Of course, if there are no updates waiting to be installed, the option “Install updates and shut down” will be missing.

Shut down menu

How to shut down without updates method 2

  1. Lock the computer with the keyboard combination: Windows key+L
  2. If you have several user accounts, click the button “Switch User” on the new screen that opens. Otherwise go to the next step
  3. The screen that opens has a red shutdown button in the lower right corner with a drop-down menu containing the option “Shutdown without installing updates”.

How to shut down without updates method 3

  1. Open the command prompt (described here)
  2. Enter shutdown /s /f /t 0 (The last character in the command is "zero".)

After using one of these procedures, the updates are still there waiting until the next time you want to shut down. 

You can also skip this problem entirely by changing Windows Update from automatic to manual. Just be sure to install all necessary updates as soon as is convenient.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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