Windows Update is certainly one of the most important components of Windows. Do you remember how time-consuming patch management was before this feature was added to Windows? The only thing is that some genius in Redmond managed to somehow implement Murphy’s Law into the Windows Update client. I don’t know how they did it, but it is amazing how accurately the Update client determines the worst time for installing updates or requesting reboots. WuInstall 1.2 Pro is a command line tool that enables you to overrule Murphy’s Law when it comes to Windows updates. You can use the tool together with Microsoft’s update service, or with WSUS.
Its publisher, hs2n, is now raffling off five licenses for WuInstall 1.2 Pro, each worth US $250. It authorizes to use the tool for 50 clients and 5 servers. Non-commercial institutions may run WuInstall 1.2 Pro on an unlimited number of machines. Please note that a former version of WuInstall can be found on the 4sysops list of free Windows administration tools. The new version, however, includes quite a few important new features.
If you want to have the chance to win a WuInstall 1.2 Pro license please send an email with the subject line “WuInstall” to:
The deadline is July 1, 2009. It would be great, if you answer the following question:
What feature do you miss most in WuInstall?
So how does WuInstall outwit Murphy? Actually, it is quite simple. It doesn’t leave it up to the Windows Update client to choose the appropriate time for installing updates. Instead it allows you to decide on a time that suits you best. You could, for example, create a batch script and place it on your desktop, which would allow you to check for the latest updates with just a mouse click. However, this method is a bit risky, because you might neglect installing updates after a while. And, of course, this is not the preferred method for end users.
I think the best way is to run WuInstall in a shutdown script. You can easily configure this for all of the desktops in your network by using Group Policy. This way, updates will be installed whenever a shutdown is initiated. Users don’t have to wait until the update process is finished, and won’t be bothered by reboot requests later. As you can see, using WuInstall doesn’t give Murphy much of a chance to prove his law.
The downside of this method is that very urgent updates are not installed immediately, but only at the end of a work day. In my opinion, however, installing updates once a day is enough, as long as your PCs are protected from Internet worms by a firewall. I think the small amount of risk is justifiable if you take the improved productivity of your users into account. By the way, another way to lessen the impact of the update process is to turn off automatic Windows Update reboot prompts .
Of course, initiating Windows updates at suitable times is not the only way to use WuInstall. I suppose it is most often used in scripts. If you want to create your own patch management solution that not only encompasses Microsoft products but also covers third-party applications. With WuInstall, you can manage Windows updates and you can use the MSI’s or MSTs of third-party software to update them with just one shutdown script.
WuInstall 1.1 basically only allowed you to install all available updates. The main new feature of WuInstall 1.2 Pro is that you can now decide what kind of updates you want to install. Most important is the ability to limit installations according to severity levels (critical, important, moderate, or low) and classifications (critical updates, updates, update rollups, security updates, service packs, or feature packs).
In addition, you can now search for product names in updates, and even use regular expressions to find specific patches. Another nice feature is that you can temporarily bypass WSUS. This can be useful if you want to check for the availability of a certain patch that has not yet been downloaded to your WSUS server. This is the complete list of WuInstall 1.2 Pro’s command line options:
WuInstall.exe [/search | /download | /install | /help ] [/reboot [nseconds]] [/match "regex"] [/nomatch "regex"] [/criteria "criteria"] [/severity severity_level] [/classification update_classification] [/product "product_name"] /bypass_wsus
/search -> Searches only for available updates
/download -> Searches and downloads updates
/install -> Searches and downloads and installs update
/reboot [nseconds] -> Forces a reboot with a delay of nseconds after executing WuInstall. If nothing is specified, the delay is 10 seconds by default
/criteria “query string” -> searches for updates, which match the query string. For query strings see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa386526(VS.85).aspx. The default criteria is “IsInstalled=0 and Type=’Software’”
/match “regexp” -> searches for updates which match the search string (no regular expressions posible so far!)
/nomatch “regex” -> searches updates that DONT match regex (regular expressions supported!)
/matchfile file -> searches updates that match one of the match expressions in file (regex supported!)
/nomatchfile file -> searches updates that DONT match any of the match expressions in file (reges supported!)
/severity severity_level -> updates that match severity level(s)
severity_level: C=Critical I=Important M=Moderate L=Low U=Unknown
/classification update_classification -> updates matching certain classification(s)
update_classification: C – Critical Updates, U – Updates, R – Update Rollups, S – Security Updates, E – Service Packs, F – Feature Packs
/product “product_name” -> search updates for a certain product (Windows XP, Office 2007, SQL Server 2005, …)
/bypass_wsus -> if a WSUS is used, switches off the WSUS server before executing WuInstall commands, and then switches WSUS on again afterwards
/autoaccepteula -> automatically accepts eula on every update