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I configured this:

Automatically check for updates: Never

But the update manager keeps poping up against my wishes, I have no control. I feel like I'm using Windows again.

I want to be able to install updates from time to time, manually.

What can I do?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Disabling the popups in the configuration seems no to be possible, as told by coteyr in the comments above.

I also wanted to get rid of the popups and of the underlying program that would consume the resources of my Ubuntu 12.04 system on a weak Toshiba AC100 (ARM) --

So the simplest working solution must be removing the "update-manager" (as I've mentioned in the comments at ).

I have had no problems after that because I could still use apt-get or synaptic to do package updates.

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Just turning off notification of updates will not be enough. There are several background jobs that run apt-get update (including a nightly cron job if I remember right).

To stop the pop-up run update-manager

Then in settings, set Update automaticly to 'Never' and Notify of new version to 'Never'

Sample settings

I suggest leave security at immediately and, setting "others" to every two weeks.

You also need to make sure your not running apt-get update anywhere else. This can happen when you install software, run update-manager, or in a cron job.

If that doesn't work for you:

You can do this by

editing /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic and changeing

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";


APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0";

Last Resort

You can always apt-get remove update-manager-core to remove the feature all together.

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It's important to note that other then removing update-manager-core you can't really stop the popup. You can just delay it till something else runs apt-get update – coteyr Nov 18 '12 at 9:14
Ah, apt-get update is the culprit then. So what do I lose exactly if I remove update-manager-core? I think I read somewhere that it will remove the desktop too if you use unity. – ChocoDeveloper Nov 18 '12 at 9:43
It will remove the desktop 'meta-package'. But that shouldn't harm a thing. It's just a shortcut for installing all the other packages needed for an official "ubuntu" You will loose update-manager. You will need to update manually. – coteyr Nov 18 '12 at 10:32
Actually running apt-get remove update-manager-core removes almost the entire system. The proper package to remove is update-notifier: apt-get remove update-notifier which will also remove update-manager-core without pushing further packages to be removed. Cheers! :) – Rho May 16 at 15:54

Open up the config file that runs the update-manager part after apt

nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99update-notifier

Add '#' infront of the line making it something similar to:

#DPkg::Post-Invoke {"if [ -d /var/lib/update-notifier ]; then touch /var/lib/update-notifier/dpkg-run-stamp; fi; if [ -e /var/lib/update-notifier/updates-available ]; then echo > /var/lib/update-notifier/updates-available; fi "; };


This worked for me in stopping the update manager popping up after every apt update while still allowing me to run update-manager manually if i wanted to.

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You've set it to never check for updates, but you'll find the update manager is opening because it already knows there are updates to be done. Do the updates that it has and it won't bother you again until you update the file lists.

It's a bit like terminal will tell you when there are updates in the apt list that have been put there with 'apt-get update', and will keep on reminding you until you install them.

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Now you make me doubt about whether I've already done this in this particular box. Will try again – ChocoDeveloper Nov 18 '12 at 9:41
This doesn't work for 14.04 (xfce ubuntustudio 64). It checks for updates and reports my computer is up to date. – mchid May 31 '14 at 23:23

It is good that Ubuntu automatically checks for updates, it is not good that it pops-up windows against your will. You can have less invasive notifications via the gnome bar or from teminal based applications (like Byobu).

To disable the update-notifier while leaving the update-manager automatically checking for updates, run the following from a terminal:

  1. sudo apt-get install gconf-editor in case you don't have it already installed
  2. sudo gconf-editor mind the sudo attribute
  3. search for app->update-notifier and un-tick the "auto-launch" option
  4. close the window
  5. gconf-editor this time as a user (i.e. without sudo)
  6. search again for app->update-notifier and change the "regular_auto_launch_interval" to the number of days you want it to wait before popping-up (0 is immediately, 1 one day, 99999999 basically never again)
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This sounds like what I need, but I don't have that option. I have 'apps->update-manager', end there is no 'auto-launch' to un-tick. – ChocoDeveloper Jan 25 '13 at 18:32
I do not have update-notifier either (13.04). It seems this instruction is obsolete at least for 13.04? – pileofrocks May 30 '13 at 3:38
If you don't have update-notifier entry, you can use command line: gconftool-2 --set "/apps/update-notifier/regular_auto_launch_interval" --type int 9999 – webbertiger Feb 26 at 5:40
sudo killall update-notifier
sudo mv /usr/bin/update-notifier /usr/bin/update-notifier.real
echo -e '#!/bin/bash\nwhile :; do /bin/sleep 86400; done' | sudo tee /usr/bin/update-notifier
sudo chmod 755 /usr/bin/update-notifier

Brutal, but effective.

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Why a day-long sleep and not a simple exit? – muru Nov 5 '14 at 2:45
that might cause problems if the service manager kept restarting update-notifier when it exited. I'm not exactly sure what program it is that manages this "feature". glad that you can still uninstall it without it immediately breaking anything =/, I hope that not having the ubuntu-gnome-desktop metapackage anymore doesn't leave me out of anything like cool programs added to it in the future – sig_seg_v Apr 25 at 3:44
This is a solid option but it does not handle package updates. sudo dpkg-divert --divert /usr/bin/update-notifier.ubuntu --rename /usr/bin/update-notifier tells the packaging system that the sys admin has taken over that file. – Sean Perry May 26 at 19:44

I had a similar issue. Executing,

apt-get purge update-notifer*

resolved issue! Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS

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I do not like automatic updates so I want to disable them always. I use Ubuntu 14.04 with Gnome desktop environment. I do not know if gsettings is available in Unity.

On slow internet connections disabling apt-xapian-index prevents automatic package downloading which will take all your bandwith (I have 256 kb/s mobile sometimes).

sudo chmod a-x /etc/cron.daily/update-notifier-common 
sudo chmod a-x /etc/cron.weekly/apt-xapian-index 
sudo chmod a-x /etc/cron.weekly/update-notifier-common 

gsettings set com.ubuntu.update-notifier regular-auto-launch-interval 3650
gsettings set com.ubuntu.update-manager launch-time 1900000000

Seemed to do the trick for me. 3650 means days... 1900000000 tells that the update-manager is last run on year 2030 :)

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I am not sure if why anyone has not tried this.

I simply disable all checkpoints under "ubuntu software" and "other software" in "software and updates", besides setting options under "automatic updates" and "check for newer version" to "never". This avoids any check up as there is no link, hence no pop-up.

My main pain point was that these updates eat lot of internet data. For people on move, 3G/4G data is expensive and we'd like to optimize its usage. Hope ubuntu understands this concern and make easy options for disabling updates completely under certain circumstances.

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