How do I restart my computer for updates without having it reset because the log in window, suddenly, now appears?

How do I restart my macbook for updates without having it reset because the log in window, suddenly, now appears? I've never had this issue until a few days ago when there were updates available. Somewhere the settings were changed. I may have inadvertently changed a log in preference but can't trace it back.

That usually doesn't happen (unless you do not use automatic login) unless you boot into Safe Mode. When prompted do you enter your admin password? What happens when you do that?

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