I see that the GUI configuration for update-manager has a maximum check interval of once per day. I'm sure Canonical thought about this carefully, but these days I don't want to be without a potentially important update for as long as 24 hours.

How can I set up my desktop system so that it:

  • Automatically applies security updates
  • Checks for security updates more frequently than once per day (if this can be done via push notifications rather than checking regularly, perhaps better)
  • Promptly graphically prompts for reboot if necessary (for bonus points: UI should explain why the reboot is needed, e.g. reference to updated package changelogs / CVEs)

Should I use unattended-upgrades, or run update-manager from a crontab, or something else? How can I configure these tools to achieve what I want?


Here you can find information about how to make a cronjob. Make one with the timing you want and this command:


This will open the graphic update manager which then searches for updates.

If you like graphical applications, you can just install a graphical cronjob manager with this command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule

Its called "Scheduled tasks" in the dash. If will easily allow you to have this command run for example once an hour.

However, please don't use the default setting of every full hour but instead choose a random minute different from 59, 0, 1, 2 and 3, so the servers don't get queries from an awful lot of people every full hour.

  • It seems this will 1. prompt me even if there are no security updates, 2. prompt me to install non-security updates. Is there a way to avoid that? I've updated question to reflect this. Apr 5 '15 at 12:40
  • @CroadLangshan: The above answer does answer your original question. Therefore, please accept this answer and then ask a new question and refer back to this question and explain in detail what you need (with examples) as from your comment this is hard to guess... ;-) UTF-8: good answer. Upvoted! ;-)
    – Fabby
    Apr 11 '15 at 9:44
  • @Fabby: I think it's not possible to make a question fully explicit, so misunderstandings of intent are unavoidable. SE may think otherwise, but if so, it's wrong :-) Jan 16 '16 at 17:39
  • SE Doesn't think... (Yet!) :D I just liked the answer and as some users forget to upvote for effort or accept if correct, I just wanted to remind you in case you forgot! ;-) If the answer didn't help you at all, don't listen to me! ;-)
    – Fabby
    Jan 17 '16 at 18:40
  • SE most definitely is highly opinionated, fot better or worse (that's a metaphor, by the way ;-) Thank you for your comments Feb 5 '16 at 0:35

I'm working on this too. Perhaps a possible direction for the push notifications is to have something monitor the RSS feeds on http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/ and then trigger the update process a few minutes after a new item is added to the feed? I notice that there is now a way for servers to push changes of RSS Feeds to clients through https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PubSubHubbub

  • I'm sure if you get something working you'll find a decent audience of people who'll be grateful for your efforts here. My own opinion is that whatever mechanism is used by the default setup should also be somehow useable for more frequent updates (even if a UI for that is not provided by default). Push updates make sense from an efficiency standpoint, but of course there is a security issue there with allowing incoming network traffic through the firewall, which may put off a good chunk of the very people who want more frequent updates! Feb 5 '16 at 0:42
  • By the way, not upvoting this answer now just because it doesn't yet answer the question -- if you get a patch in or some new tool on github then that will change of course! :-) Feb 5 '16 at 0:43

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