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Windows auto-updates time has changed.

Posted on 2009-04-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I work at a law firm with about 80 PC's (XP Pro and Windows 2000).  I made sure every one of them was set to check for Windows Updates every day between 10AM and 12PM (time was staggered by department to minimize network traffic).   Today I notice that more than a few of these PC's have their auto updates changed to 3AM (creating a backlog of updates that need to be installed) and some have the auto update box grayed out entirely.

Has anyone ever heard of this before?  
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Question by:LionelR2D2
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by:LawIS
ID: 24151418
There are a couple of possibilities.

The default time for Windows Automatic Updates is 3AM.  Why Microsoft chose this is beyond me, but if things were reset to default that's why that (seemingly) random time has appeared.  Turning off automatic updates then turning it back on could possibly cause it to be reset to this time, and Windows Updates ironically have been known to reset the settings of whatever is updated, such as Windows Firewall and possibly Automatic Updates.  Also, if your users have rights to change these settings, the problem might just be between the keyboard and the chair :-)

Another possibility is Group Policy.  Particularly for the grayed out comment, but with any mass changes GP is the first place I normally look.  Have you made any user/computer group changes, group policy changes, domain changes, or are you even running an AD server?  In any case, if you do have AD, I would recommend configuring automatic updates via GP.  This would allow you to create groups for each department and stagger update times, as well as make broad group-wide changes with ease.  

Good luck, hope this makes sense.
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Author Comment

by:LionelR2D2
ID: 24151804
I appreciate the help, man.

We made none of the changes you list above.  We don't even have an AD server.  Our network is Novell 6.5.

I did some research on Group Policy and auto-updates on the Microsoft website.  I followed along to an article I found to set/change GP on my computer.  Weird thing the settings there are set properly to download at 10AM daily.  I will see if I can somehow turn auto update off then turn back on.

Thanks again.

BTW - I noticed your name.  You work IT at a law firm too?
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LawIS earned 2000 total points
ID: 24152028
Nah I work for The Law Companies, ironically we basically do everything but law, hahaha.  

Besides the settings for timing in group policy, there are also settings to disallow users from using autoupdate, as well as to turn off autoupdate entirely.  You might want to make sure that all the settings are definitely correct, not just the timing-related ones.  Other than that, i think you might have me stumped.  Good luck!
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Author Comment

by:LionelR2D2
ID: 24152077
Followed along here and it is no longer grayed out.

http://windowsxp.mvps.org/aupolicy.htm

Thanks for your help.
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