Windows Update Service Properties Grayed Out in Services MMC

When you open the Services MMC (services.msc) and double-click Windows Update service properties, the Start and Stop buttons are grayed out. Also, you may be unable to change the service Startup type.

windows update service properties tab grayed out - wuauserv sddl fix

In some cases, the Startup type dropdown list box may be available. However, attempting to change the service startup type and clicking Apply or OK causes Access Denied error.

windows update service options grayed out - wuauserv

As a workaround, you can change the service startup and other settings using the registry or run the SC.exe command-line tool under the SYSTEM account and modify the service settings.



But, this article tells you how to make the Windows Update service configurable (by administrators) using the Services MMC.

Windows Update Service Options are Grayed Out in Services MMC

The Windows Update service properties may be grayed out due to corrupt service security descriptors or tightened permissions. To reset the Windows Update service security configuration, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Go to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wuauserv\Security
  3. Rename Security to Security.old
    windows update service options grayed out - wuauserv
  4. Exit the Registry Editor.
  5. Restart Windows.
  6. After restarting Windows, open an admin Command Prompt window and run the following command:
    sc.exe sdset wuauserv D:(A;;CCLCSWRPLORC;;;AU)(A;;CCDCLCSWRPWPDTLOCRSDRCWDWO;;;BA)(A;;CCDCLCSWRPWPDTLOCRSDRCWDWO;;;SY)

    windows update service options grayed out - wuauserv sddl fix

    The above command-line fixes the security descriptor for the Windows Update (wuauserv) service.

    The security descriptor (SDDL) D:(A;;CCLCSWRPLORC;;;AU)(A;;CCDCLCSWRPWPDTLOCRSDRCWDWO;;;BA)(A;;CCDCLCSWRPWPDTLOCRSDRCWDWO;;;SY) is the default security descriptor for Windows Update service in Windows 10.

  7. Launch Services MMC and see if you can configure the Windows Update service now.

    windows update service properties tab grayed out - wuauserv sddl fix

    Alternately, if the Windows Update service security descriptors are corrupt or incorrect, the Windows Update Troubleshooter tool would offer to repair the problem automatically.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

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