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I need to prevent a Windows XP server from automatically restarting after installing Windows updates through Group Policy. In Group Policy, I only see

No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates

which only applies if a user is logged on. How do I prevent a machine from automatically rebooting when no one is logged on?

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Bad idea. Once you've installed updates, you should reboot as soon as possible. Otherwise the system may become unstable. – Harry Johnston Sep 7 '11 at 22:14
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't think there's a way to have it automatically download and install them, without having it also reboot (if no user is logged in) if needed.

Your best/only bet may be to Enable the "Configure Automatic Updates" policy object and set it to "3" so it will automatically download them, but won't install (and therefore not reboot) until you tell it to.

3 = (Default setting) Download the updates automatically and notify when they are ready to be installed

Windows finds updates that apply to your computer and downloads these updates in the background (the user is not notified or interrupted during this process). When the download is complete, the icon appears in the status area, with notification that the updates are ready to be installed. Clicking the icon or message provides the option to select which updates to install.

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