Windows: Forcing Automatic Updates CodeUnit 25 MAR 2009

WindowsIf you drive a nice shiny version of Windows on your local machine, it is pretty important to keep on buffing it up with all the latest Microsoft Updates that periodically get pulled off the web by Microsoft’s Automatic Update system that runs as a service on your PC.

However, sometimes it just doesn’t seem as if ANY updates are coming through, or perhaps you just want to be pedantic and force the machine to earn its keep by forcing it to check for updates, a goal that can be achieved through any one of these two methods listed here:

Method 1:

Method 1 simply makes use of the update service’s inbuilt switches to force a detection cycle start… (Note that this only works on Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows 2003 Server or Windows 2000 after it has used the latest version of the Windows update client.)

  • Drop in to a command prompt and enter the following command:

    wuauclt.exe /detectnow

    Note the space between the exe and the / but no space after the / or in between the words detect and now.

    The machine will start its detection cycle within minutes of the command being issued.

Method 2:

Method two involves some good old registry hacking (please be careful if you don’t know what you’re doing!)

  1. Go into Computer Management in Control Panel, choose Services and stop the “Automatic Updates” Service
  2. In the registry go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionWindowsUpdateAuto Update”and verify that the key “AUState” is set “2”
  3. Below that AUState key there is a further key called “LastWaitTimeout”. Delete that key.
  4. Close the registry editor.
  5. Restart the “Automatic Updates” Service.
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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.