Stop Windows Server 2003 Hanging When Installing Updates

Some of the servers that I manage in locations have a nasty habit of hanging on the final stage of rebooting when trying to apply Windows Updates automatically.

In most locations, I use WSUS to deploy updates around the site which is OK, but when it comes to servers problems arise.

After roaming around on the internet, I found a useful thread at EggHeadCafe¬†which describes the problem I’m having. Apparently, turning off the default user screensaver using the following registry key will solve the problem:

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\control panel\screensaveractive
Set the value to 0

This would make sense, as there is a similar problem in Windows XP where if you try to shutdown the system with the power button (or an update) while the screen saver is active, the system will shutdown until the screensaver is turned off by touching the keyboard or mouse.

I’ll find out if this works in a month’s time!

EDIT: Just logged onto one of my servers with this change and it works a treat.