Most common automation requests and how to solve them: Ep 4

Every month I receive questions about how to do various automation tasks via email. This blog looks at the most common ones, and today I’m going to focus on how you can automatically notify users if their device requires a reboot.

I want to notify my users periodically if they haven’t rebooted in X days. What should I do?

This is a request I get every time I run a patch boot camp, whether for RMM or N-able N-central®. Partners always struggle with forcing end users to perform a reboot. However, if they don’t do a reboot, their computers start to become slow and behave erratically, which means more support tickets for the MSP stuck picking up the pieces.

Windows 10 has a feature called fast startup, or quick boot, in which it does a partial reboot rather than a full one; this is an important distinction, as people sometimes tell me, ‘’I restart every day.’’ But when we look, we see this feature is turned on and they have either put the machine to sleep, in hibernation, or restarted, yet the machine has performed a simple fast startup routine. None of those are considered a full reboot, and therefore some lingering gremlins can remain within the OS causing issues down the road.

So, what do I recommend?

Sadly, it’s not as simple as forcing a reboot to the user’s computer at 9 a.m. every day. I would recommend following one of these methodologies:

  • Use your RMM’s capabilities to reboot after you do patches or schedule a reboot at a time when your customer is less likely to panic (end of day, lunchtime, etc.).
  • Monitor the uptime of a computer (Windows keeps a timer of how long the machine has been up for). Once you know the uptime, you can set that up as a monitoring alert. Once it has been on longer than X days (I usually say four days is a good threshold), you can trigger an automated script asking the user to reboot with a branded prompt.
    • If you are using RMM, you can set a policy as a DSC, which would run daily, check the uptime, notify the user, then have a pass/fail state.
    • If you are using N-central, you would want to have the uptime monitoring setup, then set the self-healing to run only once a day and have that pop up for the end user.

Several examples of reboot prompts are available in our Automation Cookbook, so I recommend you go there, search that, and see if there is something that better fits your need. Click here to visit the Cookbook.

If you have suggestions on future topics, feel free to reach out to me by email at [email protected]


Marc-Andre Tanguay is head automation nerd at N-able. You can follow him on Twitter at @automation_nerd.