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Security: IST Reboot Tool

Reboot Tool and Patch Schedule

Microsoft has changed how operating systems and some applications are patched and updated, so to help simplify the process as much as possible, IST Workstation Services has introduced a “Reboot Tool” to all of Academic Support, to

1.       try and avoid as many unexpected reboots as possible,

2.       provide the client better control of when a PC reboots and

3.       help maintain properly patched and maintained workstations by making sure there are regular reboots.

This means that all workstations will reboot once a week and as many processes as possible will have their previously built-in reboots delayed in anticipation of this single weekly reboot.

NOTE: Critical updates still need to be applied as soon as possible, so cannot always adhere to this schedule.

To help to better understand how the schedule of the “Reboot Tool” works together with regular patches, see below:

·         For Vanguard PCs (PCs used for testing) patches are released and downloaded the second Tuesday of every month, with a deadline of 1am Wednesday. For all other PCs in Academic Support, the same is done one week later on the third Tuesday of every month. Otherwise, all of the following schedules are the same for both sets.

·         Normal reboots for patches will be suppressed, but a message may still come up saying a “reboot is required”. This is normal and will be taken care of automatically by the Reboot Tool later in the week.

·         EVERY Thursday morning at 6am (i.e. not just after patches) the reboot tool checks to see if anyone is logged on and assuming the PC is up and has not been shut down the last 25 hours:

o   Will reboot at 6am if (and only if) no one is logged on

o   Otherwise, it will present the “Reboot Tool” message, starting the countdown for a reboot in 12 hours (NOTE: this can be delayed up to 6 hours more for a total of 18 hours, at which time it will reboot.)

o   The reboot tool can be minimized but not removed from the screen. This is intentional.

o   You have the option to reboot at any time on Thursday, and the reboot tool will “go away”

o   Similarly, if you don’t wish to see the reboot tool before it appears, you can do one of two things:

§  Leave your PC on and connected to the network overnight Wednesday, and make sure you log off Wednesday night. Unless you start work before 6am, your workstation will reboot before you come in and you won’t see the reboot tool presentation

§  Or, you could just reboot manually 25 hours before 6am Thursday (or after 5am Wednesday) and you will not see the reboot tool running

·         If for some reason the PC is powered off Tuesday night, the updates will install as soon as the machine is powered on, and the reboot tool will run with the normal parameters (as above).

·         NOTE: If the PC is powered off all day Thursday, the reboot tool will behave as usual when the PC is powered back up again, meaning, if the PC is powered up but no one logs on first, it will reboot again (if it detects it was not shut down in the last 25 hours). If someone logs on right away after the PC is powered up, the reboot tool message will present saying it will reboot in 12 hours, with the option to extend that by another 6.

The dialog for the reboot tool is fairly self-explanatory, but to differentiate it from malware or a virus, it looks as follows:



The reboot can be postponed for up to 6 hours by selecting a time from the pull-down menu and clicking the “Postpone” button.


The user can also restart the system immediately by clicking the “Restart” button, or minimize the countdown timer by clicking the “Minimize” button.

If the user does nothing, the system will reboot when the counter reaches “0:00” which will occur at 6:00 p.m. Thursday night. 

So in summary (from the original announcement):

Key points about how this tool runs:

·         Runs every Thursday at 6:00 a.m., with an initial countdown of 12 hours

·         Deadline can be postponed by up to 6 hours

·         Pop-up window can be minimized but not hidden

·         Will reboot the system immediately (at 6:00 a.m. Thursday) if no users are logged on

·         Will not run if the system has been rebooted after 5:00 a.m. the day before (Wednesday)

·         If the system has been turned off, it will run as soon as the system is booted up


Key points for all users:

·         Please read the text box carefully

·         Leave your machine powered on when you leave work on Wednesday

·         If you do not want this tool to run on Thursday morning, you have two options:

o   Reboot your system after 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday (the tool will not run on Thursday)

o   Log off before you leave for the day on Wednesday (the system will restart at 6:00 a.m. Thursday)

·         If your system needs to be exempted from this tool, please submit an RT to the workstations group with the name of the computer, the contact name, and the reason why it needs to be exempted