Update Notifications and Install-at-Shutdown Behavior

Hi All,


There have been some recent questions about how users are notified about updates and comments that sometimes customers aren’t being notified that updates are available when they shut down their computer. We are investigating the reports and trying to clarify with the community exactly what people are experiencing. We also want to make sure you understand how the update notifications work.


1.      The tray icon should display when all of your available updates have been downloaded. If there are some downloads that haven’t completed, Windows Update (WU) and Automatic Updates (AU) will reschedule the “updates are available” tray notification until those downloads have completed. We wait to notify you after all available updates are downloaded, so you are not constantly interrupted with notifications while using your computer.

2.      Upon shutdown, Windows Update and Automatic Updates will also notify customers if there are any available and downloaded (but not yet installed) updates. We do this by prompting customers via the shutdown button to install the downloaded updates. The shutdown and install updates button does not prompt users to install updates – like Service Packs, Internet Explorer, etc… – that  require manual interaction (accepting a EULA or completing an installation wizard). It only prompts on updates that could otherwise be installed automatically, according to the user’s configuration. Customers can also choose not to install these updates at shutdown.


Please call Microsoft Support if updates are installed when you shut down your computer and the shutdown button did not inform you that updates would be installed. If you don’t want to be prompted to update at shutdown, you can disable this feature using the guidance provided in the Controlling the Install Updates and Shutdown Feature section of the linked TechNet article. Please note that if your computer attaches to a corporate network, your IT Administrator may be enabling this feature through Group Policy, and it may be turned back on the next time you connect to your corporate network.


Note: Some updates shown in the update list aren’t downloaded with the other updates, and you aren’t notified to install them (described in KB910340). Some customers call support believing that WU isn’t working correctly, because it isn’t downloading or notifying them about some updates. These updates are held back by WU. You can download and install them manually through WU, but WU won’t automatically download or notify you about these specific updates until the WU servers make them “available” for your computer. We gradually allow computers to start downloading larger updates, like Service Packs, because they are bigger downloads that require more network bandwidth to download. If an update is held back from your computer, it will not prevent WU from notifying you on the system tray after all of the “available” updates have been downloaded.


We hope this helps!


MU Team

Comments (38)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Not happened on the Vista machines we’ve patched. Hope you get the sorted Torehov, that sounds a little frustrating to say the least!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen this myself on an older Acer Travelmate where the yellow icon disappeared, and when I went to shut down the system, patches were ready to be installed and I didn’t realize due to the fact that the yellow icon was missing that the machine was in a "Shut down and install patches" mode.  For those that report that there is no shut down and install patches notification at all, there’s no way in the log files to confirm or deny this claim.

    In a normal download (non regulated) time that yellow icon never goes away as the patches begin to download and trickle down in the background.  The problem lies in these heavy months where the patches are regulated and stop trickling down.  Due to the fact that no icon shows up, I know in my own personal case, I was totally not expecting patches ready to be installed via the shut down button.

    With all due respect you say to call support but about a year or so ago I tried and got very frustrated by the process.  Getting past level one is not easy.  Given the fact that this mostly occurs on consumer machines (not behind WSUS or other patching mechanisms) getting through to support when the computer is an OEM, when it’s not exactly due to security patches, bottom line, it’s not easy to get this looked into.

    There are historical reports of this in the Windows Update newsgroups as well.

    This isn’t new, it’s been around for awhile.  The trigger is when you are regulating patch traffic.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You don’t have a contact box button so I’ll post here.  I have looked at several windowsupdate.log files of people reporting this issue and so far they have all been set to "notify me".

    Can you email me at sbradcpa-at-pacbell.net.  I strongly feel that there is a bug in the windows update notifying in the system tray.

    Calling support is not efficient when I can talk regarding the issue to someone in a position to better understand the issue.

    Please, I’d like to help Microsoft customers trust the patching process better than they do.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Everyone should be careful in this regard have trouble get installations Thanks for your news

  5. Anonymous says:

    people would like to thank you for giving useful information

  6. Anonymous says:

    Not the most appropriate place to ask, but can you please look into why it seems BITS won’t download any Windows Updates if 1 NIC in a NIC team is disabled or has it’s network cable unplugged even though the other NIC is fine. Just found that out today on Server 2008 SP2 64-bit on a HP DL360 G6.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have a big problem with all our Vista machines at the office.

    after the sp2 update all machines are in an endless loop???

    the only way to get them working as been to do a system restore.

    what the h..l is happening?

    can anyone help me with this ?

    this only happens with our Vista Business coputers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    upload your news to follow I’m constantly updating my computer I

  9. Anonymous says:

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Not the most appropriate place to ask

  11. Anonymous says:

    I got a question regarding the internals of Windows/Microsoft Update and was hoping someone on the MU team might intercept this and give a response. I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer so far.

    I’m curious as to what happens behind the scenes when Windows/Microsoft Update is "Checking for the latest updates for your computer." How does it know for sure what is and what isn’t installed? Does it query the filesystem and check the actual files associated with each update or does it query a local database/registry that contains information about which updates have been applied. It would seem to me that it would have to check individual files to be certain.

  12. Anonymous says:

    like this, thank you for sharing your news with us

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I don’t mind auto-updates, but how do you turn off an auto-restart after the fact?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Please, I’d like to help Microsoft customers trust the patching process better than they do.




  18. Anonymous says:

    To install the updates and that they are useful for us, thank you for your news

  19. Anonymous says:

    thank you for sharing your news with us

  20. Anonymous says:

    important for everyone, everyone must download the updates should not close.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I do not know why now to shut down my PC it takes almost 1 minute, Could be a virus or what could be the cause?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Many thanks for this useful information

  23. Anonymous says:

    Checking for the latest updates for your computer." How does it know for sure what is and what isn’t installed? Does it query the filesystem and check the actual files associated with each update or does it query a local database/registry that contains information about which updates have been applied. It would seem to me that it would have to check individual files to be certain.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Does it query the filesystem and check the actual files associated with each update or does it query a local database/registry that contains information about which updates have been applied.

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  31. jenda says:

    Not sure this is the right place, but as I'm unable to find anything … is there any chance I could have some updates (namely Windows Defender ones) installed automatically, while keepin the rest on "Download but let me choose whether to install"?

    I do not want to install everything right away, especially if it would restart my computer, but having to click off the defender updates every two or three days gets a bit … annoying.

    Thanks, Jenda

  32. ohault says:

    I would find extremely useful if you could describe in an explicitly manner in each Windows fix description (displayed in WU) if the corrected Windows security breach is vulnerable or not when Windows exposed services via Internet (typically exposed in http via  IIS site/application).

    A typical example is remote code execute, but from where (LAN, Internet). You will agree that’s a completely different decision path.

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  37. Ellen says:

    I installed 13 windows updates. Then it restarted, and said my updates failed. Began to undo reconfigure. Now it is stuck in this loop of reconfigure/undo reconfigure. I cannot use this computer, and will lose my job and daily fee if I cannot get it to stop this crazy looping and just go back to perfect condition it was in before the update today. WTF. What do I need to do to stop it? I have a Dell Inspiron 17R purchased in early 2011.

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