Our Windows Updates are installed automatically during the maintenance window, which is configured manually on each of our 2012 R2 servers, so that we can specify different times for each server, or group of servers. Unfortunately, those servers do not automatically reboot after the updates have been installed and I have no idea why!

All of our 2012 R2 servers currently have the status "Online - restart pending" and are coloured red in Server Manager. I would have expected them to have automatically restarted at the scheduled time, since that's how I've configured it via Group Policy.

Windows Update is configured like this:

Group Policy Settings

4 Answers 4


Servers are not allowed to restart automatically by default - they often fulfill critical roles. If these were suddenly turned off, you would no longer be able to work and data could be lost. However, you can change a registry key value in order to allow automatic restarts:

A new feature is now available that lets you force automatic restarts to finish installing important updates, regardless of whether you are at the computer. You can change to this new restart behavior through the following new registry key value that was introduced in the April 2013 cumulative update (2822241).

Registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Value: AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime Type: REG_DWORD Value data: 0 (default value) or 1 (force a restart)

Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2835627

  • The server is already configured this way. "AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime"=dword:00000001 Jul 14, 2015 at 10:13

I had this same issues. The issue is you have "Install during Automatic Maintenance Window" set to Enabled. For 2012 R2 servers that means if its doing anything to wait for the reboot. Whats even worse is the admin before me didn't check the box to Enable or even Disable the "Install during Automatic Maintenance Window" box at all. So it was in some way set to not configured. I couldn't figure out why my 2012 servers with this policy were not rebooting like the 2008 were. Turns out if you don't have any setting at all it thinks it should be enabled so for any 2012 if you don't check or specifically uncheck the box it will not restart if its busy all the time. I had a bunch of 2012 R2 DC's that were busy all the time due to replication etc and they would never reboot. Then I simply went into my patching GPO's, Edited the Configure Automatic Updates setting, then checked and then un-checked that box. Then finally after I saved the GPO it said disabled after "Install during Automatic Maintenance Window".

So if you have 2012 servers that are NOT auto rebooting after updates. Look at you GPO's and make sure next to the "Install during Automatic Maintenance Window" it says Disabled!!! If it says enabled or is blank then any 2012 server will not reboot until it thinks it should. How dumb.

  • I don't follow. Why would I need to turn off installing during the maintenance window in order to restart the machine automatically? Apr 14, 2016 at 13:35

You'll find your answer here. It's been a known bug by Microsoft since at least Feburary 17, 2016


This update fixes it.



Try uninstalling the following Windows Update Client updates: KB3083711, KB3112336, and KB3135449.

An online discussion says that they stopped a server from automatically rebooting.

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