The current version of the operating system — the Windows 10 Anniversary Update — allows you to block out the time of day you normally use the computer and prevent those automatic restarts that happen after new software is installed. You can set up to 12 “active hours” when Windows is not permitted to restart itself, so if you tend to use the computer at night, you can set different active hours and let the PC restart during the day when you are away. (Some test versions of Windows 10 allow 18 active hours, an option that may appear in future system updates.)

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update includes an “active hours” setting that lets you choose when you do not want automatic restarts.

To set your active hours, go to the Start menu and choose Settings, or just press the Windows and I keys on the keyboard. On the Settings screen, select Update & Security and then Windows Update. On the Update Settings area, tap or click “Change active hours.” On the Active Hours screen, set the start and end times in which you want to avoid restarts and click the Save button.

If Windows has installed new updates and has a restart pending that you want to get out of the way, you can temporarily bypass your active hours settings with a preferred restart time. To do that, go back to the Settings app to Update & Security and Windows Update, and then select Restart Options. On the next screen, set a customized time for the PC to restart. You can also get it over with by selecting the Restart Now option on the Windows Update screen.