Updating Windows

It’s not always possible to use products such as Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (formerly SCCM or Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager) to orchestrate the installation of patches for Windows.

This is especially true if your VMs are in the cloud and not connected to your Active Directory. In situations like these, you can take advantage of runbooks and scheduled runbook triggers to periodically check and apply updates to your application infrastructure.

Create the runbook

To create a runbook to perform updates on your Windows machines:

  1. From your project’s overview page, navigate to Operations ➜ Runbooks, and click ADD RUNBOOK.
  2. Give the runbook a Name and click SAVE.
  3. Click DEFINE YOUR RUNBOOK PROCESS, and then click ADD STEP.
  4. Click Script, and then select the Run a Script step.
  5. Give the step a name.
  6. Choose the Execution Location on which to run this step.
  7. In the Inline source code section, select PowerShell and add the following code:
function Get-NugetPackageProviderNotInstalled
	# See if the nuget package provider has been installed
    return ($null -eq (Get-PackageProvider -ListAvailable -Name Nuget -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue))

function Get-ModuleInstalled
    # Define parameters

    # Check to see if the module is installed
    if ($null -ne (Get-Module -ListAvailable -Name $PowerShellModuleName))
        # It is installed
        return $true
        # Module not installed
        return $false

# Force use of TLS 1.2
[Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls12

# Check to see if the NuGet package provider is installed
if ((Get-NugetPackageProviderNotInstalled) -ne $false)
  # Display that we need the nuget package provider
  Write-Host "Nuget package provider not found, installing ..."

  # Install Nuget package provider
  Install-PackageProvider -Name Nuget -Force

  Write-Output "Nuget package provider successfully installed ..."

Write-Output "Checking for PowerShell module PSWindowsUpdate ..."

if ((Get-ModuleInstalled -PowerShellModuleName "PSWindowsUpdate") -ne $true)
	Write-Output "PSWindowsUpdate not found, installing ..."
    # Install PSWindowsUpdate
    Install-Module PSWindowsUpdate -Force
    Write-Output "Installation of PSWindowsUpdate complete ..."

Write-Output "Checking for updates ..."

$windowsUpdates = Get-WindowsUpdate 

# Check to see if there's anything to install
if ($windowsUpdates.Count -gt 0)
	Write-Output "Installing updates ..."
	Install-WindowsUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot
	Write-Output "There are no updates available."

Be aware that the AutoReboot switch will reboot the machine after the first update that needs it. If there is more than one update that requires a reboot, you may need to run the above PowerShell again to install the rest of the available updates.

With the process defined, you can set the update to execute automatically with a scheduled runbook trigger. In order to create a scheduled runbook trigger, your runbook must first be published.

Create the trigger

  1. To create a trigger, navigate to Project ➜ Operations ➜ Triggers ➜ Add Scheduled Trigger.
  2. Give the trigger a name and a description.
  3. Fill in Trigger Action section:
    • Runbook: Select the runbook to execute.
    • Target environments: Select the environment(s) this runbook will execute against.
  4. Fill in the Trigger Schedule section:
    • Schedule: Daily | Days per month | Cron expression.
  5. Scheduled Timezone:
    • Select timezone: Select the timezone to use when evaluating when to run.

Using this method, you can set it and forget it.


We have a Target - Windows Space on our Samples instance of Octopus. You can sign in as Guest to take a look at this example and more runbooks in the OctoFx project.

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Page updated on Sunday, January 1, 2023