One of the big problems I have with Windows is when you shut it down it automatically installs any outstanding updates.
On a normal day this is just annoying, but sometimes it is essential you get the machine shutdown as quickly as possible and, by default, Windows gives you no way to do this.
We lost one machine to this problem when we knew the power to the building was going off at 9am and started shutting the machine at 8am. Plenty of time we thought - wrong. The machine was still updating 9:15am when the power when off. When we tried to restart machine it was corrupted :(
This was one of the reasons we switch over to using Mac OSX a while ago - we simply can't afford to lose machines. Now we only have 2 Windows machines left for legacy things we can't run on OSX.
However as we were faced with the same problem today with the power to the building going off at 9am, I found a way to force Windows 7 to shutdown without installing updates.
- Run the Group Policy Editor (Start -> Run -> gpedit.msc)
- Navigate to: User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
- Find the option called “Do not adjust default option to ‘Install Updates And Shut Down’ in Shut Down Windows dialog box”.
If you enable this, then clicking “Shut Down” will just shut down your computer without installing updates. However, the “Install Updates And Shut Down” option is still available in the little menu, in case you need it.
Thanks to lambit on the Microsoft Community for this tip!
Source: Shutdown Win 7 without being forced to perform updates