When I install updates on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003 it often requires a system restart upon completion. When I use "Start"->"Restart" the dialog prompts me for a reason for the system restart.

"Installing updates" is not listed there. The closest thing is "Application maintenance". I find it very confusing - why do I need to decide how to classify my reason if it's likely among the most popular ones and could be just listed separately?

Could there be any specific reason why "installing updates" is not listed as a distinct reason for a system restart in Windows Server?

  • So, in Windows Server the user is prompted to specify why they restart the system? That sounds very weird to me. Is it for Microsoft to collect usage statistics or something? Jul 23, 2012 at 10:57
  • 1
    @AndroidHustle: I'd guess it's for logging - so that it's possible to find later why it was restarted. Yes, when a user tries to restart Windows Server he's asked for a reason. And if the system shuts down suddenly (such as because of power outage) the first user to log in is asked why it was shut down.
    – sharptooth
    Jul 23, 2012 at 11:02
  • Ohh, ok. Yes well I'm not familiar with that OS at all, and I guess it's not suited for conventional use. Jul 23, 2012 at 11:15
  • @AndroidHustle: Well, it's for conventional use, but it's for use on servers and the huge difference between a server an a personal computer is that there may be many people responsible for a server operation - like several shifts of administrators - and so tracking system restarts is rather important because if an administrator in one shift chooses to restart the server he'd better leave an explanation to other shifts why he did so.
    – sharptooth
    Jul 23, 2012 at 11:27
  • yes of course. I should have said "conventional personal computer use. That it's suited for conventional server use I understand! =) Jul 23, 2012 at 11:42

3 Answers 3


By having Installing Updates as an option you would be able to better track how often your servers are being rebooted for updates. From an IT point of view a server being restarted is usually not a good thing. So much so that one of the selling features of Linux (I assume Unix as well?) has always been that it requires less restarts.

This is likely one of those features where one group within Microsoft thought it was a good idea but another group was worried about the potential impact of someone being able to say "I had to restart my server 4 times this month and YOUR logging system shows me that all of them were update related."


It has been requested, by the community, to have the option "Install and Restart" option on the Shutdown Event Tracker on Windows Server, however never implemented.

Technet@Microsoft says the following of the Shutdown Event Tracker:

Shutdown Event Tracker is a tool that prompts users to record a reason why they restart or shut down the computer. This information is available for review in the event log. If a computer running Windows 7 is connected to a domain that uses monitoring tools, you can collect this information as part of network reporting.

When Shutdown Event Tracker is enabled, users cannot shut down or restart the computer without providing a reason. If the computer is shut down or restarted unexpectedly, either as a result of power interruption or hardware failure, the user is prompted to enter a reason in Shutdown Event Tracker when the computer is started again.

Thus it is possible to Disable the Shutdown Event Tracker, if one likes too (and it gets to anoying in a development environment). Or even better - you can add your own Custom Option to your Shutdown Event Tracker if you like.

Why "Install and Restart" isn't listed as default, is hidden within the guarded walls of Microsoft fortess I'm afraid. But hopefully you'll get your own custom option up an running in no time.

  • It's probably because "Installing updates" ∈ "Application maintenance".
    – msanford
    Aug 30, 2012 at 15:03

Windows Update has its own reboot prompot that - AFAIR - adds its own reason for reboot to the event log.

Why the team responsible for the shutdown event tracker did not provide for the use case of Installing updates, selecting reboot later, finish your work then reboot manually ---- you probably should ask them :)

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