Friday, April 11, 2008

Windows Automatic Updates: Delay that Reboot!

War Story:
In my previous company, not only was I prohibited from changing this behavior, but the IT police would roll updates mid-morning and force a reboot sometime thereafter. I worked in two different facilities for this company and in a fit of Standards Adherence they behaved differently at different facilities. At corporate HQ, I'd usually receive a notice about 10:00 in the morning that my machine would unceremonially reboot in four hours. The dialog could not be minimized and continued to taunt me with a countdown timer. I could suck it up and reboot manually to clear the requirement, but if I didn't I was in for a rude interruption in the middle of my work day.
The second facility, for the same multi-national conglomerate, would give the same warning dialog, usually about the same time of day, but with a 90 minute countdown. This meant that if I didn't take action shortly, my machine would reboot during lunch. Fortunately, I don't trust these things enough to walk away without saving my work, but I can't count how many delicate spreadsheets were lost by others while out for a quick sandwich.
Suffice it to say, then, I get rather annoyed on my personal machine having to tell Windows to wait until I'm ready to reboot after Automatic Updates are installed.
I don't mind the first message. I don't even mind being reminded - on a reasonable interval.
But every ten minutes? Come on, Redmond!
So here's how to tell your machine to leave you alone for a while.
From command line, run gpedit.msc
Navigate to:
> Computer Configuration
> Administrative Templates
> Windows Components
> Windows Update
Modify Configure Automatic Updates to Enabled and choose your settings therein
Modify No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates Installations to Enabled
Modify Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations to Enabled and specify your time limit (mine's 480 minutes)
Then enjoy clicking Later only once every eight hours rather than the default 10 minutes.
On some corporate machines, you may not be able to edit this policy.
Editing group policy is up there with registry editing - you could break something, so be careful! If you're like me, you'll wander from the path above and fiddle with things. It will start with "Hey, what's this do?" and could end with "Where's my Windows XP Professional Edition CD?"

Thanks for stopping by!


No comments: