You can also configure Automatic Updates via Group Policy. In the Group Policy Object Editor, drill down to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Update. Figure 6.6 shows the available settings.

Figure 6.6: Configuring Automatic Updates through Group Policy.

The Configure Automatic Updates setting specifies the mode and schedule. It offers the same options as the System Control Panel applet. You can specify the mode and, if automatic installation is selected, the day(s) and time that the installation should take place.

The next setting, Specify intranet Microsoft update service location, redirects the Automatic Updates client to an internal Software Update Services (SUS) server.

CO We will explore SUS in more detail in the next section.

Reschedule Automatic Updates scheduled installations specifies how long after boot the service should wait before installing updates if the computer was shut down at the last scheduled installation time. This setting is very useful on workstations, but isn't often necessary on servers.

Finally, the No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations setting suppresses the reboot (if the update being installed requires one). This setting is helpful if you are running automated reboot scripts on your terminal servers and do not want to reboot twice on nights that critical updates are installed.

When configuring Automatic Updates, there are some factors to consider. If your servers are used only during business hours, it is very easy to set up an automatic installation schedule. However, if your servers are in use 24 x 7, stagger the installation schedule so that not all servers are rebooting at the same time. You can use a scheduled task to disable logons in advance of the scheduled installation time so that the server has a chance to drain before updates are installed and the server is rebooted.

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