How are operating system updates performed on MSU Denver computers?


This article informs MSU Denver faculty, staff, and students about MSU Denver's procedures for computer operating system updates. These procedures were designed to increase device security, minimize interruptions, and generally make OS updates an automatic process that requires little user intervention.


Single-User: Devices that are only used by one person. This is usually the device that's assigned to you by ITS if you are a full-time faculty or staff.

Multi-User: Devices that are used by multiple people. This could be computer lab computers, front desk machines, loaner laptops, or other shared use spaces.

Minor Update: A smaller, security-focused update that occurs on a monthly basis. Also known as: cumulative updates, incremental updates, servicing stack updates. Examples: "2023-04 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 22H2" , "macOS Security Response 13.3.1 (a)".

Major Update: A larger update that could include new features, user interface changes, and more, which occur on a yearly basis. Examples: Windows 10 to Windows 11, Windows 10 21H2 to Windows 10 22H2, macOS Monterey (version 12) to macOS Ventura (version 13).


Major Updates

Yearly. Usually during the third week of May (the week after final grades are due from Faculty and the week before Maymester begins). See the Academic Calendar.

Minor Updates

Monthly for most updates and immediately for some security updates.



Major updates will be available in Self-Service. Users have the option to install them at their convenience. Major updates will be enforced if the computer has an older version of macOS that is no longer receiving security updates.

Minor updates are enforced by our device management service and are installed automatically as long as the computer is connected to the internet. Restarts may be required.


Major updates will be installed automatically per the schedule above.

Minor updates are enforced by our device management service and are installed automatically as long as the computer is connected to the internet. Restarts may be required.

How to update

Many updates are automatic and require no user interaction.

For major updates, open Self-Service and find the latest macOS update.


Update Behavior

Windows updates are installed automatically in the background outside of the active hours window: 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. if the computer is not being used. When a restart is required to finish the update, users will be notified and can restart when they are ready. The restart can be postponed until the deadline is reached, at which time a restart will be forced.

Enforcement Deadlines

All Windows machines are subject to certain update enforcement deadlines. In general, computer labs and some multi-user machines are stricter and more automatic than single-user machines. The deadline for all Windows updates are 14 days after the update has been deployed with a grace period of 1 day. What this means is that after an update has been rolled out, the computer or user has 14 days to install the updates and complete a restart if necessary. If 14 days have passed and a computer that needs to restart has not yet done so, 1 more day will pass and then the computer will be restarted automatically without user interaction. This gives the user a day to save their work and close out of any programs before the restart happens.

How to update

Windows updates were previously deployed through Software Center and required an on-campus or VPN connection. As of Summer 2023, updates are now managed through the built-in Windows update screen in the Settings app and only require an internet connection (no VPN or campus hard wire required).

For all update types, go to Settings, then Update & Security. Here you will find settings related to Windows updates, including an option to check for updates manually. Note that, clicking the Check for updates button will not allow you to get updates ahead of schedule. We encourage users to use this to stay on top of updates for their device.


I believe an update caused an issue with my computer

Contact the ITS Service Desk at (303) 352-7548 or report an issue with the Software Issues & Errors incident form. Be sure to record the date and time when you performed the update, the name(s) of the update(s) if you know them, and the issues you are experiencing.

I cannot check for updates

  • Ensure your device is plugged in to an AC adapter or docking station.
  • Ensure your computer is connected to the internet. Disabling any VPN connections may help with troubleshooting but is not required.
  • If you are running an older version of Windows or macOS, contact ITS to assist with an upgrade.
  • Come to campus if possible to connect to the campus network with an Ethernet cable or Ethernet-connected docking station. You may need to receive new information from our management services.

I received an update but it fails to install

Restart your computer, try again and if it fails, contact the ITS Service Desk at (303) 352-7548 or report an issue with the Software Issues & Errors incident form.

The check for updates button is missing in a computer lab

This is expected behavior. Updates are managed automatically in computer labs.

How long will it take to update my device?

  • Mac: Major updates can sometimes take up to an hour to complete while minor updates are usually shorter, ranging from as quick as a reboot to around 10 minutes.
  • Windows: Updates will install in the background and are specially packaged in such a way that most of the installation will happen when the computer is idle. When restarts happen, most updates will only take a few additional minutes to finish. Major updates may take under 10 minutes to get back to a login screen after a restart. As we progress further, we expect these times to lessen due to the way Microsoft stages content in their updates.

How can I tell if my machine updated?

  • Mac: You can find the version of macOS running on your machine with these steps:
    • Click the black or silver Apple logo in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
    • Select About this Mac.
  • Windows: You can find the version of Windows running on your machine with these steps:
    • Open the Settings app.
    • Click System.
    • Click About. You will see version information under "Windows Specifications".
      • Update history is also available in the "Update & Security" section of the Settings app.

How will I hear about new updates for my computer?

Minor updates are deployed automatically on a monthly basis. No communications are sent out unless an update is required to fix an urgent security issue.

Major updates are always communicated in an Early Bird: Technically Speaking article. See the Early Bird Website for more details.