How Windows updates work on MHC-owned office computers


MHC's Windows update configuration is designed to maximize opportunities for computers to restart outside of business hours (7am-10pm) on their own, by preloading the installs and holding for the restart. 

Since Windows releases updates on the second Tuesday of every month, the one or two day update cycle outlined below should only happen once per month, even though the computer is checking for updates more frequently.

What is the Windows update process?

  1. Every four hours, the computer checks for updates from the server and makes a list of what it needs to install. The computer needs to be on campus or connected to VPN to download the updates (we are exploring solutions to allow better options for off-campus computers).
  2. At noon or 3PM (differs by management groups to spread the load), it installs the updates from its list.
    • If there are no updates available, the computer is done.
    • If no updates were installed that require a restart, the computer is done.
    • If new updates require a restart, the computer sets itself as Pending Restart.
  3. At 10PM, the computer checks to see if it can restart. The computer does not have to be on campus for the restart.
    • If the computer is asleep, it should wake to complete the updates.
    • If a user is logged in, it shows a message that it will restart in 5 minutes.
    • If the restart is not interrupted, the computer restarts and is done.
    • If the computer is not powered on at 10PM, it will check its status when it powers on. If it's before 7AM, it will attempt to restart.
  4. The next day, the computer checks for available updates and makes a list. It notes whether it is still pending a restart, and if so, how many days it has been.
  5. At noon or 3PM, it installs the updates from its list as before.
  6. When the computer reaches two days elapsed without restarting overnight to install updates.
    1. The computer schedules the restart during business hours.
    2.  The computer displays a message that the computer will restart in 60 minutes for updates
    3. The restart message requires the user to dismiss the notice.
    4. If the restart notice is presented at an inconvenient time, the user need not panic – the update can be deferred.
  7. After the restart, the computer is done with that batch of installs but the cycle of checking for updates starts again. Some updates might depend on other updates, so it's possible for a computer to run updates two days in a row.
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Article ID: 306
Tue 7/25/23 4:13 PM
Tue 10/24/23 4:44 PM

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