Windows Auto Updates Don't Download and Install

Posted on 2009-02-11
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have set every computer here to download and install critical Windows Updates at a set time everyday.  PC install times are staggered so as not to bog down the network.  When I manually go to the Windows Update site, there always seems to be updates that have not been installed.  

Why don't they download/install automatically?
Question by:LionelR2D2
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    There are some updates that need user to accept the LICENSE agreement before they are installed. Are you sure it was not waiting for something like SP3 for XP or IE7 etc.

    Also on a side note the time you set for Windows Updates always fluctuates 20% up and down from memory. This means that if you set AUTO UPDATES to 3am everyday this may happen say at 2AM or even 4AM. This is how windows updates work unfortunately.

    Author Comment

    No, when I manually installed the needed updates, there was no license agreement involved.

    I understand about the 20% leeway in install times.  I don't think that was teh cause in this case though.

    LVL 27

    Expert Comment

    by:Lukasz Chmielewski
    run gpedit.msc from commandline
    go to
    computer configuration
    administrative templates
    windows components
    windows updates

    and check those options as you want them to be
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    The issue may be how the updates are defined.  if you told the systems to download critical updates, then they might be failing somehow.  Check the Windows Update log file on a system with the issue at c:\windows\windowsupdate.log.  It has details about what is happening when clients check for updates and any errors will be in there.  Make sure the Automatic Updates service is started and set to Automatic on the machines in question.  Also, are you sure you aren't seeing non-critical updates when you go to the Windows Updates site?  There are optional updates that don't get installed by Automatic Updates and must be manually installed.

    Honestly, if you are managing multiple machines for updates, then I recommend running a WSUS server.  It is a free and easy setup that downloads updates from Microsoft and lets you set approval levels on those updates to machine groups.  It is easier than it sounds and also provides reporting on failed or missing updates from any machine reporting to that server.  Even for a small environment I recommend it, as it provides a central console to control this exact issue.  More details here:  It really is incredibly easy and helpful to use once you set it up and would give you the reporting you seem to be wanting.

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