How can I configure Windows 2008 R2 to always reboot after a Windows Update?

Here's why:

  • We have Windows Update configured at 5am on production servers.
  • Windows Update can leave a server in a bad state if it's not rebooted. For example, the asp.net Oracle Padding patch did that.
  • We don't want to disable Windows Update, because we want to stay secure and we are too small to always pre-test windows update on a test server.

But it's a pain, because it does not reboot.


To answer your question, if you have a WSUS server you should be able to tweak the WSUS settings in Group Policy to automatically reboot if required. If not, you should be able to set Windows to automatically reboot at the specified time (it's in the configure Windows Updates dialog).

This next part is not quite answering your question, but I think it's important that you bear it in mind.

Personally, I always do my Windows Updates on a weekend and am always physically present on site when installing Windows Updates. As unlikely as a Windows Update is to brick your server, it can happen and I'd quite like to be there if it did crash my server when I rebooted it.

If I'm on site at the time, I know it has gone wrong immediately - if I'm in bed at 5am, I would only find out it crashed when I got up and saw the Nagios alert on my BlackBerry. If you are on site when it goes wrong, you have a massive advantage in that it's the weekend, so you have some breathing space to fix the problem. If you've ever walked into your office at 9am and a server is down, you will know it isn't a fun experience.

  • +1 for installing/rebooting updates during a "quiet time". – poke Jan 22 '11 at 20:34
  • 1) I do not have WSUS. 2) The windows update dialog does not seem to always work. It seems to reboot only if the update was configured so. I want to always reboot. 3) Thanks for explaining why you update during a quiet time. – Malartre Jan 31 '11 at 14:45

If you want to reboot after every Windows Update even if the update doesn't require it, you can push Scheduled Tasks out via Group Policy. Through those you can force a reboot at a specific time.

  • That's cool, but can the task update when the windows update is finish OR do I have to configure it an hour later? – Malartre Jan 31 '11 at 14:46

Big environments choose one weekend of the month and install updates during this weekend. If there are a lot servers present the servers are divided into different groups. Groups can represent different time frames (example "10-17" - from 10:00 am till 5:00 pm) during which all selected updates for the patching have to applied and servers restarted, so when it becomes 5:00 pm the servers of this group have to be operational again and doesn't need to be restarted anymore. The whole patching process is controlled by engineers so if anything goes wrong it can be restored as quickly as possible.

  • it is not my downvote, however your answer was probably downvoted because it does not really answer the original posters question (which was "how do I automatically get the server to reboot"). – Ben Pilbrow Jan 22 '11 at 23:31
  • No problem, Ben. Hope I was helpful though. Automatic reboot after installing updates can be configure trough group policy. But if you have critical servers always monitor their updating. – Stanislav Zhelyazkov Feb 4 '11 at 6:47

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