How to get users to run updates?

Posted on 2012-09-05
Last Modified: 2012-09-19
This is more of a social topic than a technical one. How do you get users to run their Windows Updates?

I use WSUS to track and manage the Windows Updates that our users get. My users may go months without running any updates, no matter how much I remind them through email. We deal with sensitive data so I need to make sure all vulnerabilities are patched. I cannot tell if this behavior is due to a lack of understanding of the importance, lack of time, lack of respect for the IT team, or just not caring due to no observable benefit in the past. We run a fairly liberal company so I do not want to force updates on a user at a random time of day.

I need to find an approach that is repeatable and enforceable within IT and does not require external intervention from managers. I don't want to resort to threats of any kind (e.g. say "or we'll do it for you", dock bonus, etc.) and would like any IT knowledge gained to extend into their personal computing as well.

Has anyone had any success in the past with any social techniques to get users to understand the importance of IT requests such as this? Thanks.

Cranky IT Manager
Question by:MacGyverSolutions
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution

    I know how you feel :(
    In my practice I've used 3 ways:
    1. Enforce update schedule via gpo.
    2. Connect to remote pc or use psexec tool and run wuauclt.exe /detectnow on it.
    3. In your environment I would deny all access to the guilty users, and request a hefty monetary penalty for him/her for infringing IT Security Policy. It's sad but it works, once you get a few of them fined the rest will know about it and start updating like crazy. Expect heavy load on WSUS server(s).

    When you deal with loads of sheep-like users and "the good cop" method doesn't work you have to use "the bad cop" method, there are no other working social methods I know of.
    LVL 47

    Expert Comment

    Relying on users to install their own updates is very bad practice. You should schedule these updates to install at specific times

    Look over:

    Best Practices with Windows Server Update Services

    Managing the WSUS Automatic Updates Client Download, Install, and Reboot Behavior with Group Policy
    LVL 2

    Author Closing Comment

    Guess I'll have to go down the "bad cop" road!

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