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Our application needs to run in a locked-down operating system. Due to quality and regulatory concerns, all updates shall be prevented or blocked.

For example, we go through a checklist of Windows OS settings and verify they are set to prevent any updates. This doesn't actually test an update will be blocked.

Other than waiting for the next OS update from the developer, how can it be verified in Windows and other operating systems that all automatic updates will be prevented?

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There are OS that force updates and others and won't update unless you act.

The latter is naturally not a problem.

For the former, I see two options:

1 - You can run inside a Virtual Machine, using VMWare e.g. Probably you will need to refactor the data migration.

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2 - You can monitor the version using some script that run by a CRON job. In Java, e.g., you can use the follow statment to fetch the OS Version:

System.getProperty("os.version");
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I guess the simplest way is to run cmd tool that is responsible for updates and check if it fails to update (error code or error message returned) your system. However you should be prepared to the fact it can take your system to undesirable state which will require roll-back.

To have more "reliable" and "proper" ways you need to know what OS you are talking about and which version. And better ask this in https://serverfault.com/ community.

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