Configuring the Windows Update Agent - Overview

5. WUA General Settings

The first group of settings to be familiar with are the general settings. These settings apply to all systems regardless of how they obtain updates. While generally not used for non-WSUS clients, it’s important to know that Automatic Updates (AU) clients can be configured, and these settings actually predate the creation of SUS/WSUS.

 

Configure Automatic Updates

On non-WSUS systems, this value is typically configured at installation, or by a user via the Control Panel. The setting provides five valid options which determine how updates are downloaded and installed. The options are:

  • Option 1: Not used
  • Option 2: Notify before download / Notify before installation
  • Option 3: Download automatically / Notify before installation
  • Option 4: Download automatically / Schedule installation
  • Option 5: Allow local administrator to choose the configuration

 

HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Registry Value

Valid Decimal Values

Valid Hex Values

Notes

AUOptions

2-5

0x2 – 0x5

Set according to the option configured

ScheduledInstallDay

0-7

0x0 – 0x7

Ignored if AUOption!=’4’; defines the day(s) in which updates can be installed

ScheduledInstallTime

0-23

0x0 – 0x17

Ignored if AUOption!=’4’; defines the hour of the day in which updates will be installed

NoAutoUpdate

0-1

0x0 – 0x1

If the policy is Disabled, this value is False, and the system will not perform any automatic updates functions

Configure Automatic Updates - Registry.pngConfigure Automatic Updates - Policy.png

Automatic Updates Detection Frequency

This value specifies how often the system checks for updates. The default value is 22 hours, but this value includes a random negative offset of 0-20%. So in actuality, the system checks every 17.6-22 hours, and the interval varies with each detection event. The most significant factor in setting this value is to make it consistent with your WSUS server synchronization schedule. If your WSUS server only synchronizes once per day, there’s minimal value in changing this value from the default; however, if your WSUS server is synchronizing multiple times per day, having the client check in more often can be quite useful. Do not set this value to 1 hour. While it is a valid value that may be useful for limited diagnostic purposes, a regular 1-hour detection interval will interfere with the expiration of the targeting cookie (which has a 60-minute time-to-live).

 

HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Registry Value

Valid Decimal Values

Valid Hex Values

Notes

DetectionFrequency Enabled

0-1

0x0 – 0x1

If enabled, allows the customization of the detection frequency

DetectionFrequency

1-22

0x1 – 0x16

Ignored if DetectionFrequencyEnabled!=’1’

Automatic Updates Detection Frequency - Registry.pngAutomatic Updates Detection Frequency - Policy.png

Do Not Display “Install Updates and Shutdown” Option

The default behavior is to always present this feature when applicable. The setting allows the option to be removed from the shutdown menu. On Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 systems with Service Pack 1, the user no longer has a menu choice – installation of updates is forced upon the user when executing a shutdown from the Start Menu. (The installation can be bypassed by launching a shutdown from the command line using shutdown /s /t 0.) The setting can be configured either as a computer option (affecting all users) or a user option (only affecting domain users). Implementing it as a user option can be effectively used to override the behavior for regular domain users, but still allow launching of the capability via a local account.

 

HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Registry Value

Valid Decimal Values

Valid Hex Values

Notes

NoAUShutdownOption

0-1

0x0 – 0x1

If enabled, blocks access to select the “Install Updates and Shutdown” option from the Start Menu.

Do Not Display Install Updates and Shutdown Option - Registry.pngDo Not Display Install Updates and Shutdown Option - Policy.png

Do Not Adjust Default Option to “Install Updates and Shutdown”

This setting preserves the existence of the option to install updates at shutdown but does not display it as the default option. The setting is really only relevant on Windows XP/2003 systems where the dialog box presents a dropdown menu of choices. As noted previously for Windows 7/2008R2 SP1 systems, this is the only option presented via the Start Menu. On Vista/2008 SP2 systems, the options are presented as a fly-out menu. Like the setting to suppress the option, this setting can be configured either as a computer option or a user option.

 

HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Registry Value

Valid Decimal Values

Valid Hex Values

Notes

NoAUAsDefaultShutdownOption

0-1

0x0 – 0x1

If enabled, does not force the display of the option as the default in the Windows XP/2003 shutdown dialog.

Do Not Adjust Install Updates and Shutdown Option - Registry.pngDo Not Adjust Install Updates and Shutdown Option - Policy.png

 

Configuring the Windows Update Agent - General Settings Part 2

Configuring the Windows Update Agent - WSUS Settings