Shut down Windows without installing updates

Hey You

It’s a nice sunny Friday and I hope your week was just as awesome as mine was. Why shouldn’t it, we had Easter the other day. 

2 weeks ago I sat down at my desk to start the day, working on some awesome projects when suddenly BAM (insert own sound effects of explosions)

(follow me on twitter btw)

I got the familiar Windows updates screen. Unfortunately even the Batman (on my t-shirt) couldn’t help me with this. I just had to wait.

I always love new updates, especially when it brings new stuff but sometimes when I really want to start working this can be annoying.

Right after Easter though; BAM (insert another sound effect explosion please)

So today I want to share some tips on how to shut down Windows without installing the updates.


Please install your updates. Updates are good (not always but often). They secure your Windows and make sure that everything works fine. I do not recommend doing the following but sometimes it is necessary.

SoftwareDistribution Folder

SoftwareDistribution Folder can be deleted
SoftwareDistribution Folder can be deleted

As you can see from the image above there is a folder named “SoftwareDistribution” in your Windows installation folder. Normally this is “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution”.

Introduced in Windows XP the SoftwareDistribution folder is a system folder used to store Setup information for updates and other programs. When new updates are downloaded it’s downloaded in that folder.

This folder can be deleted completely but there are some downsides of deleting this folder. Windows Update relies on this folder to store temporarily files. If you remove the folder, Windows will re-download and re-create all necessary files and components.

Also; if you delete the folder your Windows Update history will vanish like a coin in a magician’s hand. (probably behind your ears).

The folder is safe to delete but you cannot delete it just willy-nilly. The folder is constantly in use so you have to stop/kill some services to do so.

So start a elevated command prompt and fire off the following commands

#This is the Windows Update Services
net stop wuauserv
#This is the Cryptographic Services
net stop cryptSvc
#This is the Background Intelligent Transfer Services (BITS)
net stop bits
#This is the Windows Installer Services
net stop msiserver

After stopping these services you can delete the SoftwareDistribution folder. 

Bye Bye

Do not forget to start those services after you’re done. These services will automatically start after a restart.

#Do I have to ...
net start wuauserv
#... explain what these ...
net start cryptSvc
#... services do ...
net start bits
#... again?
net start msiserver

The Shutdown command

There is a shutdown command. That’s basically all that I can say, it’s nothing much to it. It’s a basic command but by adding some parameters you can make it fancy. 

Not that fancy because it’s still a command but you get my drift right?

Here’s the command to shutdown your Windows immediately without installing updates

shutdown /p
shutdown /p

Not hitting ENTER at the moment because I am writing this article. The P switch turns of the local computer with no time-out or warning.

The on/off button

SSsttt… just sleep…

Don’t do this… Don’t long press the on/off button to kill your laptop or pc. It’s not worth it.

How about the “Shut down” button?

There is a shut down button
There is a shut down button?

… Did I just wrote this article for nothing? Is there an option to shut down Windows in the menu?

It’s time for weekend. #MEMBeer

Final words

I don’t like to wait until my laptop is ready when I really want to work (and I really want to work) so sometimes these updates can be annoying. However; they’re there for a reason and even though that on rare occasions updates can break some vital parts (which some anti-windows blogs will not let go) most of the time they’re just harmless.

Remember; best time to install Windows updates is a week after patch Tuesday.

Thanks for reading.