SCCM updates: User Experience - Reboot notifications
Here is the User experience for the update process as I understand it:
System tray balloon appears saying 'software changes are required'
System tray balloon appears saying 'downloading and installing software'
System tray balloon appears saying 'Restart required: Recently installed updates require your machine to be restarted'
*It is here I would like the larger temporary notification reboot window to appear but it doesn't.
Permanent notification reboot window appears and stays on the screen
I would like option 4 to be possible. Without this it seems quite easy for users to miss seeing the balloon notification and therefore not know that a restart is coming.
It would be good if there was an option in Client Settings > Computer Restart to automatically show the temporary restart notification window. It would also be good if there was an option here to permanently set the 'SCNotification.exe' in Notification Area Icons to 'show icon and notification' to further improve the visibility to users of pending restarts so they know to save their work before they leave their computer for lunch or when they go home.
I've attached an image of the temporary notification window I am talking about
This is now complete and available in the 1906 release, the full documentation for feature can be found here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sccm/core/clients/deploy/device-restart-notifications
Thanks for all the feedback on this one!
Glenn Turner commented
Something to consider... 100% of our end-user fleet is Surface Pro and with everyone working different hours and having different requirements, we effectively never have a maintenance window that these devices are on in. We set updates to install outside the maintenance window, but suppress reboots. It's up to the user to restart, and because the current notification functionality is sub-optimal, they never see the one prompt that disappears within a few seconds. We end up emailing people asking them to restart. We don't force OS upgrade task sequences for the same reason - these are just available not required, because we can't control the prompts and reboot process enough.
Perhaps also don't ever force a restart or a prompt while PowerPoint is running.
+1 for more granular control of the frequency of reboot messages
+1 for custom messages. It would be great to be able to send (deploy) custom messages to users similar to a package. Also being able to right-click a collection and send message to user would cool too.
+1 for messages the user MUST acknowledge.
I would like to see the ability to customize timeframes with snooze/remind time options based on when an update becomes available based on offsets from available and required times. Additionally, the ability to allow a user to postpone a restart indefinitely by snoozing repeatedly (ie: not actually allow them to select to postpone a restart, but to cause a nag that will eventually get them to restart, but more at their convenience) with a specified timeframe that can align with these intervals.
For instance, handling various scenarios (and more complex), such as this:
Day 1: Update 1 Available
Day 7: Update 1 Required - Automatically install outside maintenance window, but do not restart
Would like to be able to do things like:
-Display a notification at availability time.
-Two days after it is available, the user can get notified of its availability every day if it has not yet shown for each user.
-Twelve hours after that (2.5 days after available time), this notification could start showing if they haven't seen it in the past 6 hours.
-Two days before its required, change it over to prompt the user to snooze the available reminder up to 4 hours. When the update becomes required and / or is installed, have a custom notification to prompt the user of a pending reboot, allowing them to snooze it up to two hours at a time for the next 72 hours.
-Should detect and prevent overlapping schedules, and force you to fill entire remaining schedule, or specify a default for areas where there is no schedule (preferably also configured)
-Some sort of settings priority for this similar to client settings... but, preferably in a way that the priorities can be changed a little more quickly, or at least sitting there waiting for a refresh to keep clicking increase priority. Something like a "move to priority # and shift any existing up/down".
-Would also be nice to be able to set all of this through ADR and deployments on the SUG and have creation template. Ability to load template independently for this section would also be cool. For instance, if setting up a complex schedule to be used across multiple ADRs/deployments, this notification schedule could be reused. Would be nice to be able to associate a set of schedule rules with an ADR/deployment (ie: just an object reference so it stays up to date rather than a template persay, but would be nice to have both options)
Would also like to see the ability to display a prompt to the user prior to initiating or forcing a restart to help instances where someone opens a device on a Monday and has no choice but to restart sometime shortly thereafter. For instance, require at least one user to have seen the notification for the reboot to even be able occur. Something along similar lines of giving them some form of a custom snooze time that can be postponed indefinitely or per some schedule (ie: change it to three days after required date to be more rigid or something). Might not handle all situations as-is (ie: a lab environment) if its a multi-user scenario, but would help with things like devices assigned to or primary device of certain a single user.
Multiple notification options would be nice. Taskbar, toast, balloons, etc. Would like to see those customizable, at least, something like an IT department icon and logo and customizable sizes. Something like a "click to confirm restart" checkbox before allowing the user to click restart as a basic functionality. It would be nice to have full control of the UI, and have some variables available for display (ie: name of update currently installing if one is installing, progress %). Some ability to mod the XML directly to overcome any limitations here would work, too, but just thinking there should be something in SCCM that will pop it up automatically on a schedule made in rather than having to roll your own via task scheduler and CIM calls or something.
Max Baldt commented
When depolying updates with a deadline in the future, give us the "update and reboot" button in start menu - do it like it says: Update! and reboot. (SW center installs Updates and reboots machine afterwards). If you somehow manage to get the update and reboot buttons today (maybe you should start a career as magician?) it just reboots because the updates are installed already - so the buttons a pretty much useless today.
Coreland Phillips commented
I too would love a user must acknowledge pop up window option as Bryce suggested. The ability to toggle it off/on in Client settings would be a must in order that this type of behavior did not affect Kiosk/Podium/Manufacturing/Control machines. The goal of this request is specifically to let improve the USER experience by letting them know what is going to happen and when in an undeniably obvious way. So this really is a must have option for user assigned machines. An 'unexpected reboot' is about the most damaging thing there is to user trust in our patching methodology.
I support a manufacturing environment where some of the PCs are managing production machinery e.g. Autoclaves where the PC has to be running at all times to collect the Autoclave temperature/pressure data that proves the manufacturing process was correctly executed. Some of these production runs can last over 24 hours so the idea of a daily maintenance window doesn't really apply. At other times the Autoclave might not be in use for a period during the day and could safely be patched, but these periods are not predictable/do not have a pattern. I would like to designate a collection of PCs as having an "irregular maintenance window" and provide the user a simple to use "toggle" mechanism that allows them to indicate "available for maintenance" or "not available for maintenance". ConfigMgr should then apply updates at any time when the toggle is set to "available for maintenance". This does potentially mean that a PC might never get patched (but as we can't safely enforce patching on these PCs this is already the case) so it would also be useful if we could set these PCs to throw some sort of alert (email to the "primary user"??) if patching had not been permitted for more than a month - this would allow us to nag the Team Leader of the Manufacturing Cell directly if the Cell Operators were not choosing to set the "available for maintenance" option.
Nectarios Gritzalis commented
We definitely need improved visibility for the reboot notification, especially on Win10.
On Win 7 the notification balloon appears and stay on screen until the user performs any action and often is visible upon unlocking of the desktop. But on Windows 10 this is all broken and users simply never see the short notification(s), until the final un-closable dialog box.
But I think it is imperative that any improvement to the reboot notification should focus on visibility only and not on anything that might disrupt the users from their work (except the final notification).
A notification that absolutely requires user action to close it, or a box in the middle of the screen as has been suggested, would be way too disruptive to the user and create new issues.
User experience should remain paramount.
Bryce Steel commented
After installation(s) complete that require a restart, we would like to see the "Your computer is about to restart" notification window open and remain visible until a user clicks the "Hide" button (with perhaps similar increasing frequency-triggers leading up to the non-hideable portion of the countdown even).
The toast notifications from the SCCM client / Software Center have proven ineffective at capturing our user's attention. While we currently use a default 24 hour restart countdown with 4 hours non-hideable, many users simply do not notice the toast notifications during the first 20 hours. Having a toggle in Client Settings to "Show restart countdown window until user clicks 'Hide' button" would save us many user complaints / help desk tickets!
Mitch S commented
These are great suggestions. The original post does a great job in highlighting the issue that is causing my company the most pain. It is the lack of notification around the actual reboot. When it comes to a feature update, the notifiications before the update deployment are less useful because you can warn the user and when they are finally ready to run it, the online portion kicks off and runs for over an hour. The user was expecting something to run reasonably quickly and then reboot right there when they are ready for the reboot. Sometimes they kick it off shortly before leaving for the day (with a laptop that they take with them). So they likely walk away or do something else and minimize or close software center, or close the lid and head home. So at a minimum need much more noticeable,reliable, and configurable restart notifications. Woud be cool if there were separate deadline dates for the deployment and the actual restart. And instead of a date, maybe an incremental time period after the deployment runs. So regardless of when the deployment runs, even if past the deadline, the restart deadline can be configured to run x days later. So if the deadline is OCT 30 and the user runs it on of after OCT 30 (maybe they were out of the office) whenever it finally runs, the restart deadline is say 3 days from when the deployment completed, with reminder notices before then to allow the user to restart now or postpone for a few hours. Another note, there is currently a restart reminder that runs when a user has run the deployment before the deadline where a user can restart now or postpone a few hours. The problem with that particular notication is that if the user hits cancel or just closes the window without selecting restart now or picking a time in the future, that notification window never returns. So if I deploy and make available on Sep 30 with a deadline Oct 30, the user runs it immediately on Sep 30, gets the message which states a reboot is required by Oct 30, dismisses the window by closing or cancelling, now there are no more reminders until Oct 30 deadline, which is worse than all other options because the user has no connection between that reboot request and actually running the deployment 30 days earlier, so we have an even angrier user.
Daniel Hecht commented
Would be great to see that the configmgr reboothandler trigger the OS api to deactivate fast startup temporary so that software updates are applied if the user shutdown the pc (instead of restart..)
For sure there are workarounds to setup such a behavior. But this should be a behavior "out of the box"
Would LOVE a way to set a group of users through User Client Settings that can cancel/defer mandatory reboot at least 1 one time these are people in my org that are IT OPS itself and they're stuck in internal CritSits themselves; they've asked me to give them ways to shut off SCCM; i'd rather not do this since i don't' know if they'll turn it back on. Reasoning is so their PCs don't' restart in the middle of a major incident If I identify them are CRITIAL/VIP users they should be able to have a chance to defer for their system in an emergency situation.
We just want a deferral system for required things before and after the deadline, first and then second one that will work into a and clear and persistent modal dialog locks on the windows shell for upcoming installation, installation occurring and restart. Include the application being installed; the time the restart is going to happen and the expected duration of the installation No more flyouts or balloon tips that are missed. Also notify the user when the next upcoming action will happen for anything that has previously failed, rather than it just saying "Past Due"
Dustin Hedges commented
Would love to have the reboot notifications stay there until the user acknowledges them (if a user is logged in of course) until the final countdown hits. Then it just stays up.
This would be a great approach:
1) Set a deadline for the patch to be installed.
2) begin prompting the user daily to install/reboot up until the deadline.
3) on the final day prompt the user hourly until the deadline timer has expired.
4) Allow for a small deferral window past the deadline time. maybe 3-4 hours.
The big complaints from our user now are they do not see the toast notifications showing the update is available. They only see the final countdown timer that can't be moved off the screen before the computer reboots. We had to set this to 4 hours because users were constantly getting that prompt while presenting in a meeting or while running a big workload and it will kill their work. The biggest improvement would just be multiple prompts to the user that they have to acknowledge before any forced reboot happens of any kind. Let the user control more of their own destiny instead of IT having to decide on the exact time their computer will reboot.
This was such an issue for us, I wrote my own solution: https://github.com/teknowledgist/TeknowTools/tree/master/AutoReboot
Would appreciate if SCCM could support central screen pop-ups with custom text.
Notifications are great as they are.
Allowing them to be "permanently displayed" until the user closes the pop-up is fantastic.
In my mind, the only remaining gap would be customization of such pop-ups. Specific messages would be of great assistance in specific cases.
e.g.: A lot of helpdesk calls could have been avoided if we were able to quickly let users know about this known kb issue https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3177467/servicing-stack-update-for-windows-7-sp1-and-windows-server-2008-r2-sp
Glen Blake commented
While you're looking at this, could you consider adding some notification to user if they haven't rebooted in X days? We suppress reboots for some computers, but I would like to nag them.
Peter Miklian commented
What about adding SC notification to Windows 10 Action Center (notification area)? User could find them there until he clears them manually.
Part of the problem for us is that a lot of people have multiple screens these days. Power users will have their laptop as their 'main' monitor for email/IM and then two for actually getting work done. The various notifications appear only for a few seconds and in their periphery vision. To be perfectly honest, not sure what the best solution is, we just need the option to make it more intrusive.
While this UV focuses on the reboot experience I'd like to suggest this applies equally, or even more importantly, to the 'you have updates available' notification. We want to be WAY more in your face with those to encourage the user to trigger the updates when it's convenient for them ... which eliminates the whole reboot problem all together.