Windows update grayed out


When you open the Automatic Updates tab in My Computer Property sheet, or from Control Panel, all of the Automatic Updates configuration options may be grayed out. This happens due to any of the following reasons:

  1. You’re not logged on as Administrator (or equivalent)
  2. Automatic Updates Policy is enabled
  3. Automatic Updates (and Windows Update) access is blocked via Group Policy


To make the Automatic Updates options configurable by the user (only for stand-alone systems), remove the restrictions 23 above.

  • Click Start, Run and type REGEDIT.EXE
  • Navigate to this location:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows \ WindowsUpdate \ AU

  • In the right-pane, delete the two values AUOptions and NoAutoUpdate
  • Navigate to this location:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ WindowsUpdate

  • In the right-pane, delete the value DisableWindowsUpdateAccess

Using the Group Policy Editor – for Windows XP Professional

  • Click Start, Run and type gpedit.msc
  • Navigate to the following location:

    => Computer Configuration

    ==> Administrative Templates

    ===> Windows Components

    ====> Windows Update

  • In the right-pane, double-click Configure Automatic Updates and set it to Not Configured
  • Then, navigate to this location:

    => User Configuration

    ==> Administrative Templates

    ===> Windows Components

    ====>  Windows Update

  • In the right-pane, set Remove access to all Windows Update features to Not Configured

More Information

Configure Automatic Updates corresponds to AUOptions registry value. More information on this Policy can be obtained from here

Remove access to all Windows Update features corresponds toDisableWindowsUpdateAccess registry value. Also, when this Policy is enabled, the following errors are shown when accessing the Windows Update, depending upon the way you access the Windows Update page.

Network policy settings prevent you from using Windows Update to download and install updates on your computer. If you believe you have received this message in error, please check with your system administrator.


Error Windows Update was disabled by your system administrator.

More information on this policy can be obtained here.

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