Using Windows 2003

I'm connecting to a remote computer - I can restart it but I dont want to shut it down. (as i can't turn it back on)

There are pending windows updates.

enter image description here

What I want to do is install them then reboot the computer. Usually there is a little triangle icon in the tray (near the clock) that you can use to install the updates.

This isn't there and tickling windows update doesnt do anything either.

How can I force windows update to install what it wants to install?


Check to see if there are other users logged into the server (Task Manager>Users tab). If so, they may be seeing the Update icon in the system tray. You can log them off from there. Windows only shows the update status to one logged on user at a time. If not, try connecting to the remote console (Start>Run>"mstsc /admin" (or /console depending on the RDP version) and seeing if the update icon shows for you then. Also try running a "wuauclt /detectnow" from Run.

  • thanks, very good suggestions, I've tried them all with no success. wuauclt didnt appear to do anything. (ran from command line), no other users were online and connecting to the console didnt reveal anything extra. – wal Sep 16 '11 at 12:34
  • I can't seem to find anything that will install pending updates if the server doesn't tell you they are pending in the systray, but I found a previous serverfault question that may help you out - you can run a script that will let you know the status of pending updates on the server: serverfault.com/questions/183663/… – August Sep 16 '11 at 13:01

Stopping and restarting the Windows Update (wuauserv) service may also help in these situations.

I've also written a script which will install all available updates.

  • I'll give both a shot next time it faulters and come back. – wal Sep 19 '11 at 5:18

There's no option in the dropdown to install and restart? And if you just restart, it still has the updates waiting to install?

According to https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsServerFeedback/feedback/details/367108/install-updates-and-restartNative it looks almost like this is a consequence of using Windows Systup Update Server, is that right? If so there may be a policy change in the link that can be altered. Personally I don't advocate workarounds like that just because I'm not sure of the consequences, but depending on your situation (and backups), maybe it can help.

Don't you have some hands remotely available to power it back up? What do you (or your company) do when something happens to the system? Seems like there should be a plan in place to deal with something like this, as it's not entirely uncommon. Things like this help push me into wanting to virtualize more servers so I have better access to the "machine" when it powers down for some reason.

  • >There's no option in the dropdown to install and restart? And if you just restart, it still has the updates waiting to install? Correct If I had to i could get someone to restart of course, but its something i'm trying to avoid - u know what windows update is like, you get the updates, restart, then more updates, wash, rinse, repeat etc etc – wal Sep 16 '11 at 10:14

Ok I found a possible solution.

Go to Control-Panel, System, Turn Automatic Updates Off, then turn them on again. Looks like it needed a good tickle.

After doing so the update icon appeared in the tray and i could start installing the updates.

At the same time as i was doing that I ran windows update on IE thru microsofts website so am unsure which 'fixed' it.

  • 1
    Ahh good your Auto-Update policy wasn't locked down by Group Policy so you were able to do that. Windows really sucks at letting you know what is going on with updates. A suggestion has been logged with Microsoft for the last 3 years requesting that same thing you are - a "Install Updates and Restart" option: connect.microsoft.com/WindowsServerFeedback/feedback/details/… – August Sep 16 '11 at 15:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.