Windows Software Updates with System Center Configuration Manager

Software updates with System Center Configuration Manager

As we transition from Windows Automatic Updates to the more capable System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM or ConfigMgr), the timing and the appearance of alerts and update-related content is changing as well. I think it may be confusing to non-technical users, so I thought I’d document the most common elements alerts and windows

This alert pops-up in the upper right corner of the screen on Windows 8 family systems.

This alert pops-up in the upper right corner of the screen on Windows 8 family systems.

Windows 7-style alert

Windows 7-style alert above the system tray in the lower-right corner.

Clicking on this alert brings up a Software Center (SC) update windows. If the alert goes away before you have a chance to click on it, you can go to the Software Center system tray icon.

Tool tip for the Software Center tray icon shows that software changes are required.

Tool tip for the Software Center tray icon shows that software changes are required.

Click the tray icon to get a menu:

Click the SC tray icon to get a menu.

Click the Software Center tray icon to get a menu.

Selecting the View Required Software menu item will bring up the Software Center update window below. This shows the date and time at which the updates become mandatory, the number of updates required, and provides an opportunity to install now or delay.

The Software Center updates dialog.

The Software Center updates window.

Updates can be installed from this dialog, which is probably the easiest method. If we want to see a list of the pending software changes, click the View details link to open the Software Center.

Software center showing required software changes.

Software center showing required software changes.

To install the needed updates from the previous dialog, we select the Apply all required changes now option and click OK. From the window above, we would check all the updates we want to install and then click Install.

As an alternate workflow, we could avoid the system tray icon altogether. We can simply start the Software Center application using Start/Search, look at the Installation Status tab, and proceed as described above.

Pending updates in the Software Center's Installation Status tab.

Pending updates in the Software Center’s Installation Status tab.

Another alert will indicate that updates are being downloaded and the process is underway.

Software Center alert - the update process has started.

Software Center alert – the update process has started.

Once the updates have finished the initial installation, if any of them require a reboot (for example, to update core OS components), an additional alert will appear to let us know.

This alert lets us know that a reboot is required.

This alert lets us know that a reboot is required.

Clicking this alert brings up the Software Center computer restart window. Alternatively, we can use the Software Center tray icon again, although the icon has now changed. (Why‽)

Software Center tray icon has changed, and the tool tip tells us a reboot is needed.

Software Center tray icon has changed, and the tool tip tells us a reboot is needed.

Software Center tray icon restart menu

Software Center tray icon restart menu

The Software Center restart window is reasonable self-explanatory, showing the restart deadline, which is the same as the time the updates become mandatory.

The Software Center restart window spells out the options.

The Software Center restart window spells out the options.

If we have waited until after the deadline to install the updates — perhaps we were out of the office for a couple days — or have delayed restarting our computer until that time, a count-down timer will appear as a ninety-minute grace period elapses.

Software Center restart alerts and count-down.

Software Center restart alerts and count-down.

Th computer will restart at the end of that grace period.

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