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64 Windows updates, when was it last run?

Posted on 2014-02-22
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Recently visited a site for hardware maintenance and when I shutdown the server via Windows it performed 64 windows updates before shutting down and all I could do was wait 4 hours for this to complete. OS was Windows 2003 Small Business Server. There was no option to install updates and shutdown on the menu, just shutdown.

1. Is it normal for Win 2003 / SBS to install updates before shutting down even though the option selected was just to shutdown?

2. Should it take 4 hours to apply 64 updates?

3. When approximately were updates last applied bearing in mind that there were 64 of them outstanding?

I have no access to site since the hardware/OS is now repaired so cannot look in the event viewer to answer questions, I do not think it was Win2003 R2, just the original version. Service Pack level unknown.
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Question by:andyalder
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8 Comments
 
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by:Imtiaz Hasham
Imtiaz Hasham earned 668 total points
ID: 39879330
Hi,

1. yes - it does - The option to shutdown only without installing updates
2. Depends on the memory / processor on your server
3. Average 10 - 12 updates a month - would be around 4 months (unless they hadn't applied).

You can see the last reboot and all updates installed by going to cmd prompt and run systeminfo (administrator rights required).
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by:andyalder
ID: 39879391
Bit confused by your answer to question 1,

1. "yes - it does - The option to shutdown only without installing updates" isn't a complete sentence. Could that be "1. yes - it does - The option to shutdown only without installing updates [was introduced later]"?

2, it has 4GB, 32bit OS so about 3.25GB seen by Windows, rest reserved for drivers.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
Larry Struckmeyer MVP earned 664 total points
ID: 39879937
There is no way to say what is normal.  Two many variables.   In addition to processor and RAM, hard drive speed and free space plays a role here as well.  And the physical RAM, while one measurement, tells us nothing about the available RAM.

What we have found to be the best practice with Servers is to not allow them to automatically install updates but to download and notify.  Then we approve them in batches, usually at the end of the month following Patch Tuesday and install only the ones we have approved.  Over the years there have been several unpleasant results on servers with updates that were not ready for prime time.  Also .net 4.0 and forward are usually not necessary unless some app calls for it, and 4.51 has been a system killer and we have not installed it anywhere.

If the server cannot be checked monthly for updates, one can still apply a few at a time, say first those from X months ago, then X-1 and so on with reboots and a few days of operation in between.

And, while on the subject it is a good idea to reboot the server, SBS in particular, before applying all but the updates spam filters and malicious software tool and it is not a bad idea to reboot before installing even those.  Helps you know if there were any issues before the updates and subsequent restart.
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Olaf De Ceuster earned 668 total points
ID: 39879987
1:    You can certaineluy force a shutdown without updates. If you wer just doing a hardware call that would have been a sinsible choice. You would have saved time and if something went wrong with the updates you would have been blamed for that.
In the shutdown menu or at promt type shutdown /f

2:     Yes on old machines
64 updates is not that much but it certainely proves those clients need an IT person or a better one.
3:     systeminfo as mentioned before
Olaf
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by:andyalder
ID: 39883548
Will stick to command line shutdown from now on - or yanking the UPS input cord would have done it for me this time.

No wonder it took ages, it didn't have the sense to stop things like MS Exchange first.
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by:Olaf De Ceuster
ID: 39883572
Carefull with "yanking the power". You can do a bit of damage with that. Stick to the command line :)
Olaf
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Author Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 39883663
Yank the UPS power, not the server power.

This one was properly wired to a UPS with serial port to shut it down cleanly if mains power fails. Even if they remove the "install updates and shutdown" option and change the default action of the shutdown menu so it installs updates first a UPS initiated shutdown doesn't install updates. I could probably have done that after I saw it was going to apply updates but the software house couldn't verify.
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by:Olaf De Ceuster
ID: 39884071
Yes thats a very smart and good option.
Olaf
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