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.

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:

Open an admin Command Prompt window and run the following command:


windows update service options grayed out - wuauserv sddl fix

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

Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

Additional Information

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.

The above SDDL translates to the following permissions (Discretionary Access Control List — DACL):







It denotes that the builtin Administrators group and the SYSTEM account have full control (“SERVICE_ALL_ACCESS”) over the service. Authenticated Users have the right to query or start the service only.

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 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.

8 thoughts on “Windows Update Service Properties Grayed Out in Services MMC”

  1. This was exactly what I needed — after spending hours looking at failed DISM/SFC Scans to resolve this issue. Like abinash, I couldn’t change the name due to a permissions issue. a search for “How to Gain Full Permissions to Edit Protected Registry Keys” led to an article that allowed me to resolve that issue. Once done, the instructions on this page worked.

  2. After getting nowhere for several hours, including reinstalling Windows 2019 Server, this resolved the powershell access denied issue set-service mpssvc -startuptype automatic. I used your instructions, except on mpssvc Windows Defender Firewall service by replacing your string with sc.exe sdset mpssvc… Now I can finally run the install for Microsoft Exchange Server.

  3. Hi Ramesh,
    Did exactly as per ur instructions. It worked for a while but soon the options were greyed out again. And in the reg edit window another security key appeared alongside security.old key. Should I delete the security key?


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