Will Windows Update automatically install service packs ?

Posted on 2004-08-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-14
If you have Windows 2000 or Windows XP with Automatic Updates enabled (ie. install at 3:00am every day), will it also install the major service packs the same way ?

I have some machines that have installed all the Critical Updates, but are skipping the 'Express Install of Windows 2000 Service Pack 4'.

Is this behavior normal ? Is there a way to force the Windows Update to also install the Service pack if so ?

Thank you.

Question by:frashii
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Accepted Solution

Yan_west earned 125 total points
ID: 11755835
No it does not apply them..

"Microsoft regularly issues patches or updates to solve security problems in their software.  The critical updates are the ones you should be concerned about.  If these are not applied, it leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers as you may have experienced with the Blaster and Nachi worms.  Service Packs are larger updates which upgrade and fix security problems. Service Packs are NOT applied with Automatic Updates."


Author Comment

ID: 11755932
Thanks Yan!

Can you give me the source you quoted there?

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Expert Comment

ID: 11755985
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Author Comment

ID: 11755992
There are rumors that Microsoft is treating Windows Xp Service pack 2 as a critical update and that it will self-install if you have automatic updates enabled.

Do you have anything that refutes this from a reputable source ?
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Expert Comment

ID: 11756165

Most likely it will be a two stage process. First XP's SP2 will only
be offered via the new Windows Update (Version 5). When it goes
live (Soon), then XP users will be automatically redirected from the
current Version 4 site to the new one.
At the first visit, V5 Windows Update will download and install the
newer WU components. Once that is active and depending on how
your PC is setup for Automatic Updates - SP2 will be offered or
Automatically triggered. However, the process won't be completely
automated, as a SP2 EULA will have to be manually accepted.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 11756264
Look at this.. just got that from a my patch management mailing list:

"DO NOT CLICK DOWNLOAD IF YOU ARE UPDATING JUST ONE COMPUTER: A smaller, more appropriate download will be available soon on Windows Update. To receive this download, turn on the Automatic Updates feature in Windows XP to receive an optimized download of SP2."

Author Comment

ID: 11756377
Ah soo..

it appears that if you have automatic updates turned on it will try to install the service pack if the user agrees to the EULA.

That's different than the behavior from previous service packs.,10801,95130p2,00.html

Provides an interesting follow up to this :

"Microsoft will help users in Smith's position, said Barry Goffe, a group manager in Microsoft's Windows group. The software maker plans to offer simple ways to set a unique registry key on XP desktops that will instruct the systems to skip SP2 but still download other critical updates through Windows Update and Automatic Update, Goffe said. "We want to give customers some breathing room," he said."

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