Protect yourself when updating your server remotely

At our local Tampa Bay SBS user group meeting, we were talking about what to do when you lose remote connection to your server, and the server needs to be rebooted. The common situation would be that you are using RWW to apply updates to your server, and one of the updates automatically restarts IIS. Say bye-bye to your RWW connection to your server.

So one suggestion, which I really like, is that just prior to starting your update process, go to the command line of your server, and use the ‘at’ (scheduling) command and schedule a forced reboot for some 20 or 30 minutes from now.

For example, you could enter: at 18:30 “shutdown /r” — which will schedule a one time shutdown and restart of your server at 6:30pm.

Here’s the full ‘at’ command syntaxs:

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>at /?
The AT command schedules commands and programs to run on a computer at
a specified time and date. The Schedule service must be running to use
the AT command.

AT [\\computername] [ [id] [/DELETE] | /DELETE [/YES]]
AT [\\computername] time [/INTERACTIVE]
    [ /EVERY:date[,…] | /NEXT:date[,…]] “command”

\\computername     Specifies a remote computer. Commands are scheduled on the
                   local computer if this parameter is omitted.
id                 Is an identification number assigned to a scheduled
/delete            Cancels a scheduled command. If id is omitted, all the
                   scheduled commands on the computer are canceled.
/yes               Used with cancel all jobs command when no further
                   confirmation is desired.
time               Specifies the time when command is to run.
/interactive       Allows the job to interact with the desktop of the user
                   who is logged on at the time the job runs.
/every:date[,…]  Runs the command on each specified day(s) of the week or
                   month. If date is omitted, the current day of the month
                   is assumed.
/next:date[,…]   Runs the specified command on the next occurrence of the
                   day (for example, next Thursday).  If date is omitted, the
                   current day of the month is assumed.
“command”          Is the Windows NT command, or batch program to be run.


One thought on “Protect yourself when updating your server remotely

  1. Why bother using at? Just use shutdown.

    *Choose your installation window size (e.g. 30 minutes)*
    C:\>shutdown -r -t 1800

    If you finish (and don’t need to reboot) just abort the shutdown.
    C:\>shutdown -a

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