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Windows update registry keys

Learn how to modify windows update controls using registry keys. Windows auto update can be enabled/disabled using these registry settings.

Location of Windows updates registry keys

The registry keys that control Windows update settings are located in the below registry key.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update
This key has several registry values under it. Out of these, the following values we would be interested in.

  • AUOptions
  • IncludeRecommendedUpdates
  • ElevateNonAdmins

Let’s look at each of these registry values and see how they impact windows update behavior.


This one decides whether auto update should be enabled or not. If enabled, how should the downloads be installed on the system. It can take the values 0,1,2 and 3.  The behavior for each of the values is as below.

0 : Auto updates are enabled and the downloaded updates will be installed immediately.

1 :  Automatic updates feature will be disabled. Windows will not check if there are any new updates for installation. However, users can manually initiate update.

2 : Check for updates, do not download them until user says so.

3 : Download the updates but do not install.


This registry value controls whether Microsoft’s recommended updates should also be included in addition to the important updates. If this is not set, only important (i.e essential) updates will be downloaded and installed. Value of ‘1’ indicates that the option set where as value of ‘0’ indicates that the option is not set.


This registry value controls whether updates can be installed from non-admin privileged user accounts. If a non-admin user is logged in to system, and if Windows detects that there are some updates available, then setting upon the registry key, updates will be downloaded and installed on the system.

 How to find the last time updates were installed on my Windows computer?

You can find the last updates installation time from the registry value ‘LastSuccessTime’ under the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\ResultsInstall

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • ETL April 6, 2012, 7:07 am

    Do these registry keys work for XP? or is this tip intended only for win7?

    • admin April 8, 2012, 5:26 am

      Yes, the regkeys are applicable for XP too.

  • Leslie July 11, 2012, 2:53 am

    I changed a registry key to disable windows update of ONLY Internet Explorer. All other updates work. [I needed to keep the machine at IE8 for testing purposes.] Now, I’m ready to go to IE9, and I cannot find which key needs to be fixed. I’ve looked at many posts about the keys, and all the ones I’ve checked have been okay. How do I find the one which is stopping this update? And I did try manual update which also failed.

    • admin July 11, 2012, 5:06 pm

      Did you check this registry value ?
      DoNotAllowIE90 in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSetup9.0?

  • Enrique October 11, 2012, 4:53 pm

    What about if I cannot find this key?
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows there isnt any windows update folder

    • admin October 12, 2012, 7:16 am

      You are not checking it in the right node, remove policies from the path.

  • Jeel October 23, 2012, 9:42 am

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionWindowsUpdateAuto UpdateResultsInstall’

    I dont have the install folder. For me I have

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionWindowsUpdateAuto UpdateResultsDetect
    and then I have a file called ‘LastError’ with the value 80070003

  • Srinivasan January 5, 2014, 1:56 am

    A old version of Ulead express is used on the Windows 7 ultimate. whenever the application opens the message box gives an information that “failed update to Regedit.”
    Please give guidance how to update…
    when going to properties and check for compatibility the program does not start at all.
    so i have to go back to square one.

  • Syed Kazmi August 2, 2019, 11:36 am

    Thank you. It is a nice piece of information!

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