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Windows Server 2008 R2 : Work with Windows Updates (part 2)

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4. View Installed Updates

With automatic updates enabled, it is easy to forget that the process of updates is occurring in the background. You may want to check periodically which updates have been installed:

  1. Select Start => All Programs => Control Panel.

  2. Select System And Security.

  3. Double-click Windows Update.

  4. Select View Update History.

As shown in Figure 5, when you view the update history, you will see the names of the updates that have been installed, their unique identifiers in parentheses, the status of the install, the importance of the update, and the date each update was installed. Each update can be right-clicked to view its details. One of the cool features of Windows Update in Windows Server 2008 R2 allows you to right-click any update in your update history and copy the details of the update to the Windows clipboard so you can save them to your network log file or print them for your network logbook.

Figure 5. Viewing the update history

5. Remove an Update

All updates are not created equally. There are updates for drivers, security, Internet Explorer, Windows Defender, and a whole host of others. Operating system updates for Windows Server 2008 R2 are shown in the Windows Update history; however, they are also shown in another interface utility called simply Installed Updates. This tool not only allows you to see which updates have been installed but also allows you to select any of the installed updates and remove them, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Removing updates

Once you remove an update from your Windows Server, it is highly probable that you will see it on the list of recommended updates again. To avoid this problem, you will need to go to the list of available updates and right-click the update. At this point, you can choose Hide Update so that it will no longer be presented to you as a recommended update.

But what if you were to remove an update and then hide it, only to find out that you actually really do want it installed on your server? The process couldn't be easier, as shown in Figure 7:

  1. Open Windows Update.

  2. Select Restore Hidden Updates.

Figure 7. Restoring hidden updates

Please keep in mind here that when Microsoft addresses an issue with an update, it may address the same or similar issues again with future updates. Sometimes when you restore updates, you may not see all the updates you had previously hidden, especially if Microsoft since released another more recent update that addresses the same problem. You will only see the new update in the list.

6. Install Automatic Updates Between Scheduled Times

Automatic updates are great if your computer is up and running all the time. In today's world of green computing and as businesses attempt to save money by minimizing power consumption, it is possible that a scheduled update may occur at a time when your computer is powered off. If this should occur, you have a few options.

When you boot the computer, it will check for available updates and, if configured to do so, will download them. At this point, you will be prompted to install the updates or to postpone the installation to a future time. The updates will automatically be installed with other available updates when the next configured installation time is reached.

If you choose to shut down the computer and updates are waiting to be installed, you will notice a yellow shield on the shutdown button as an indicator. At this point, you can choose to install the updates and then shut down the server.

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