One of the most annoying things about Windows is the way it handles reboots after updates (whether a manual update or an automatic update). The way it is designed is it’ll give you a popup window every 10 minutes asking you to reboot. The only options are to reboot or wait another 10 minutes.
It gets better. If nobody is actively using the computer, it will go ahead and reboot for you. Never mind if you had important stuff running. Never mind if you hadn’t saved your files. Just go ahead and reboot.
The one user-apparent way around this is to disable Automatic Updates, and manually update when it’s safe to reboot. However, this has the effect that you will then need to remember to manually check for updates periodically, Windows Defender will not get updated, and it’ll nag you about Automatic Updates being turned off instead.
After this month’s update rebooted in the middle of running a disk recovery on a friend’s laptop drive, I finally got fed up enough to find a solution. You can find it in this blog entry: XP Automatic Update Nagging
There’s a few different solutions. I chose to use the group policy editor to disable the auto-restart option. (Though in Microsoft’s continued effort to twist logic, you have to “enable” the “no auto-restart” option.)
Now you will have to remember to reboot your box, though my experience is that you have to reboot XP every few days anyways.