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Problems setting up automatic updates on WinXP laptops

We have all of our desktops set to automatically download and install new updates, but several WinXP laptops don't update until someone logs in. We have them set to udate at 3 a.m., but when I log in to any of them after 9 a.m., a window pops up stating that updates have been installed and the PC needs to reboot to enable the changes. Why isn't it updating when it is scheduled to?
There

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are user group policy settings that control how Automatic Updates are pushed out. The laptops—perhaps because someone assumed they wouldn't be consistently connected—may be governed by a different policy setting, where Automatic Updates behaves differently. Microsoft has some documentation about how Automatic Updates are affected by policy settings, so this would probably be a good place to start learning about how such things work and need to be managed. (This is assuming everyone's using XP SP2, and if they're not, they should be!)

This was first published in June 2006

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