I just migrated from CentOS to Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS. I chose "no" when it asked me to do automatic updates during the setup. However, I just realized that by default unattended-upgrades is activated and installed by default, since it had installed a kernel update automatically. This is very Windows like and is disappointing me. Why is this the case that it is enabled by default even though the user chose no during the setup?



3 Answers 3


Another way to disable unattended upgrades is to

Edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-updates and set "Unattended-Upgrade" to "0".

APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0";
  • 4
    Isn't that file called 20auto-upgrades, not 20auto-updates? May 18, 2018 at 20:31
  • 3
    Files from linux's *.d folders are read in alphanumeric order irrespective of their exact name. Thus, the answer will work as long as the name is alphanumerically bigger than "10periodic".
    – wedi
    Jul 29, 2018 at 20:19
  • 1
    @wedi Yes - and this should be taken advantage of. It avoids a package overwriting your changes on system updates. You have to make sure when using any conf.d area that your custom directive(s) come LAST. The filename 20auto-updates if used as user-created new override file, would be read in BEFORE 20auto-upgrades. Last file read wins. Better idea on any conf.d area is to create something you know will be read DEAD LAST. Try creating 99z-custom in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d with the statement APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0"; - it will be read last. Again: Last wins.
    – B. Shea
    Sep 22, 2019 at 12:35

I can't explain why it gives you the option and then ignores your response. Without installing, I can't confirm that behaviour, however, it's easy to fix it.

Edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades and comment out the -security line.

// Automatically upgrade packages from these (origin:archive) pairs
Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins {
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-security";
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-updates";
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-proposed";
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-backports";
  • Good rule of thumb when overriding in conf.d areas: Better to always create a custom override file when possible. 99z-custom would work in this area I think (untested). When apt updates itself your 50unattended-upgrades files might be overwritten. Your custom file will not.
    – B. Shea
    Sep 22, 2019 at 12:39

Another way is to use: dpkg-reconfigure unattended-upgrades

  • 1
    Correct. This also sets APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade and APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/*.
    – caw
    Jul 25, 2021 at 12:55

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