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How to Install Windows Updates with PowerShell

Keeping your Windows operating system up-to-date is crucial for maintaining system security and stability. While Windows provides a user-friendly interface for installing updates, you can also leverage PowerShell, a powerful command-line tool, to automate the process. In this article, we’ll walk through the steps to install Windows updates using PowerShell, along with a full code example and explanations.

Open PowerShell with Administrator Privileges

First, you need to open PowerShell with administrator privileges to execute commands related to system updates. You can do this by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting “Windows PowerShell (Admin)”.

Check for Available Updates

Before installing updates, it’s a good practice to check for available updates to ensure you’re installing the latest patches. You can use the Get-WindowsUpdate cmdlet to retrieve a list of available updates.

Get-WindowsUpdate -Online

This command will display a list of available updates along with their details, such as the update title, KB number, and whether it requires a restart.

Install Updates

To install updates, you can use the Install-WindowsUpdate cmdlet. By default, this cmdlet installs all available updates. However, you can specify filters to install specific updates or categories.

Install-WindowsUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot

In this command:

  • -AcceptAll flag instructs PowerShell to accept all available updates.
  • -AutoReboot flag ensures that the system automatically reboots if required after installing updates.

Reboot the System (if necessary)

After installing updates, the system might require a reboot to apply the changes. You can use the Restart-Computer cmdlet to reboot the system.


This command will initiate a system reboot.

Code Example

This PowerShell script automates the process of checking for available Windows updates, installing them, and rebooting the system if necessary.

# Define log file path
$logFilePath = "C:\WindowsUpdateLog.txt"

# Function to log messages to a file
function LogMessage {
    param (

    # Get current timestamp
    $timestamp = Get-Date -Format "yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss"
    # Write message to log file
    Add-Content -Path $logFilePath -Value "[$timestamp] $message"

# Check if log file exists, if not, create it
if (-not (Test-Path $logFilePath)) {
    New-Item -Path $logFilePath -ItemType File

try {
    # Check for available updates
    $updates = Get-WindowsUpdate -Online

    if ($updates -eq $null) {
        LogMessage "No updates available."

    # Install updates
    Install-WindowsUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot

    LogMessage "Updates installed successfully."
catch {
    # Log any errors or exceptions
    LogMessage "Error occurred: $_"
    exit 1
finally {
    # Reboot the system if necessary
    if (Test-Path -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired") {
        Restart-Computer -Force

Here’s what each part of the code does:

  1. Log File Setup: It defines a variable $logFilePath which specifies the path of the log file where messages related to the update process will be stored. It also includes a function LogMessage to log messages to the specified log file.
  2. Log File Initialization: It checks if the log file exists. If not, it creates a new log file at the specified path.
  3. Update Process (Try Block): It attempts to perform the update process within a try block:
    • It checks for available updates using Get-WindowsUpdate.
    • If no updates are available, it logs a message indicating so and exits.
    • If updates are available, it installs them using Install-WindowsUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot and logs a success message.
  4. Error Handling (Catch Block): If any errors or exceptions occur during the update process, they are caught in the catch block. The script logs an error message indicating the nature of the error.
  5. System Reboot (Finally Block): Regardless of whether updates were installed or errors occurred, the finally block ensures that the system is rebooted if necessary. It checks for the presence of the RebootRequired registry key, and if found, it forcibly restarts the system using Restart-Computer -Force.

In summary, this script provides a robust and automated way to manage Windows updates, including error handling and logging capabilities to ensure smooth operation and easy troubleshooting.

Remember to exercise caution when automating system updates, especially in production environments, and always review and test scripts before running them in critical systems.

Published inAutomationPowerShell
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