The new versions of Microsoft Windows 10 and and Windows Server have made managing Windows Updates right out of the box kind of a mess. It is not fun for an important server to suddenly reboot itself causing any number of important features to be interrupted. The newest version of Windows 10 as of this writing has only just allowed us to postpone Windows updates and even then they only allow a delay of a week. Windows Server will force a reboot if left with the default settings.
There are a number of ways to fix this such as using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of Windows. You can also use Group Policy to control some aspects of Windows Updates.
In this example we will stop Windows Updates from installing using Sconfig and then the next article will be about scripting the updates with Powershell.
Sconfig is built into Windows Server so you don’t even have to go and download it. To start Sconfig run a Command Prompt as an administrator. When it opens simply type: “sconfig” without the quotes and hit Enter.
A new, blue-colored Command Prompt will open:
You can try out the other options, but the one we’re looking for is number 5: “Windows Update Settings”. Set it to “M” for Manual.
You will know it worked when you see this:
Double-check the Sconfig menu to make sure it says Manual there, too:
This will ensure Windows Server will not try to install any updates unless you tell it to. This can be set in Group Policy also, but in my experience it doesn’t always work and a server may still try to update and reboot unless you use Sconfig and set Windows Updates to manual. It’s worth taking a few minutes just to be sure.
Keep in mind that Sconfig is only for Windows Server. It doesn’t work with Windows 10.
For some of you just setting updates to manual with Sconfig will be enough to relieve the stress of unexpected server reboots. If you want to schedule the updates to happen, for example, every Sunday afternoon when no one is working, the Powershell fun is coming up in the next article.