Server 2012 R2 Automatic Updates “Restarting in 15 minutes”

By default in Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 when automatic updates finish you have 3 days to reboot the server. After this time period next time you login to the server it will give you the message:

Restarting in 15 minutes. Windows server 2012 R2
Restarting in 14 minutes, 49 seconds Your PC needs to restart to finish installing important updates. If you’ve already saved anything, you can restart now. Otherwise, you should take a moment to save your work.

The problem with this is that you may not log into your server for weeks then all of a sudden you need to make a change or check some settings so you log into your Windows Server 2012 box or VM and then this message pops up. This can cause a whole lot of problems for a server that is in production, especially if this is a dedicated windows server for a specific application as this will restart the server and not allow users to interact with it.

I have not found any way to cancel this pending reboot.

I have tried using the command:

shutdown /a

This just gives a message saying no pending shutdown.

I read on some frorums people said to stop the Windows Update Service, this didn’t work for me, the server still rebooted.

 

Preventing the automatic reboot

Seems the only way to disable this really annoying feature is to configure the automatic updates policy.

You will need to make sure that you have this RollUp 2883201(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2883201) installed. If you are using Windows Server 2012 R2 it should be included already.

Now you will need to open group policy and on a GPO that is allocated to your Servers enable the setting

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update\Always automatically restart at the scheduled time

This will make your server reboot after downloading and installing updates. You will need to make sure that the server is set to install updates in at the maintenance time.

 

This video shows you how to setup the Group Policy so that the computer or server does not randomly reboot but installs the updates and reboots at a scheduled time

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Server 2012 R2 Automatic Updates “Restarting in 15 minutes”

  • Is it possible to configure Group Policy for Windows 2012 from Windows 2008 AD? This option is not available in 2008:

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update\Always automatically restart at the scheduled time

    We don’t want another 15 minutes countdown during office hour upon first login! lol

    Reply
      • You can import ADMX for 2012-level forest and use RSAT on newer machine (like with Win8/10).
        You’ll have to fiddle with automatic maintenance GPOs and disable Maintenance Configurator using PSEXEC with -S switch. There are some examples over the web.

        Reply
  • Dear Microsoft,

    Please disable this thing on win server 2016,because of this i am going to lose my job…………………………….

    Reply
  • Hi JAKE

    i have an issue in branch Readonly Domain Controllers it is windows server 2012 and R2 mixed . they are restarting itself without any reason there is no logs showing restart issue . and there is no policy defined for windows updates to restart it .

    please help me how can i solve it .

    Reply

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