Dealing with the hell that is running Windows Update on a freshly installed machine

OK, it’s no secret, I hate Windows Update. I think it’s absolutely unbelievable how many updates it needs to run, and how many times it needs to reboot, before a freshly-installed Windows machine is fully patched and up to date.

I think it’s also quite crazy how it downloads updates, and then after rebooting it downloads updates to those updates and so on. Why can’t it just download the most patched version of something straight off the bat?

I also find it infuriating how you can run updates, reboot, run updates, reboot, repeat this a few times and you’ll get to a stage where there’s only one or two updates remaining to install. So you install them and reboot hopefully for the last time only to find there’s now more than a dozen updates still needing to be installed.

Yes, I much prefer the simplicity and ease of deployment of Apple’s Mac OS X updates (and, in particular, their Combo Updates). Sure, OS X doesn’t support anything like the variety of hardware or software configurations that Windows does, but I’ve never had to reboot a brand-new Mac more than two times (maybe three at the most) to get it fully patched.

Anyway, I digress… I have here a solution to this pain and suffering.

WuInstall

Enter from stage left, WuInstall – Windows Patch Management from the Command Line.

This is a simple command-line utility that really makes getting a freshly installed Windows machine up to date with the minimum of fuss, hassle and manual intervention.

I don’t deploy enough Windows machines that I can be bothered making slipstreamed installers and keeping them up to date, nor do I run my own WSUS server.

With the addition of WuInstall to my toolkit, I can now get a fresh out-of-the-box Windows machine, run WuInstall and let it go. I then don’t care if the machine spends the next four hours downloading and installing updates as I don’t have to baby-sit it.

It’s then as easy as running WuInstall.exe from the Command Prompt and, if given the correct switches, it’s all automatic from there.

For example, to have it run, install one round of updates and then reboot:

WuInstall /install /reboot

As another example, if you have an internal WSUS server but don’t want to modify the Registry, change local Group Policy or bind the machine to your domain, you can use WuInstall to point to your internal server like so:

WuInstall /install /use_wsus http://internal-wsus.example.com

And, for the grand finale, if you get the Pro version you can run the following command and walk away:

WuInstall /install /alltypes /autoaccepteula /reboot_if_required /rebootcycle 10
          /logfile_append C:WuInstall.log
This article was posted by Kai Howells. If you liked this content and have any technical work in the Melbourne area, say hello via my contact form or give me a call on 0419 361 653 - I cover most of the greater Melbourne area and my rates are competitive.

2 Responses to Dealing with the hell that is running Windows Update on a freshly installed machine

  1. The wuinstall tool doesn’t come cheap though. Over $400 last time I looked.

    An alternative is AutoPatcher http://autopatcher.com

    It is initially a little clunky, but from the authors forum site seems fairly well utilised out there.
    Seems to be kept pretty up to date too.

    It will also helpfully install other common items like Adobe Reader etc.

  2. You can get ABC-Update it is FREE for every use
    http://abc-deploy.com/abc-update

    Force a Windows client to download and install updates whenever you want. ABC-Update designed to do just what you are asking.

    Example:
    To download and install missing security updates from a WSUS server. And accept max tree reboots if needed

    C:\>ABCUpdate.exe /S:WSUS /A:Install /C:SecurityUpdates /R:3

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