Server 2016 Windows Update – Everything Devs Need to Know

Hey Dev, welcome to our comprehensive guide on Server 2016 Windows Update. Keeping your server up to date is crucial for its security and performance, and it can be quite challenging with the fast-evolving digital landscape. In this article, we’ll cover all aspects of Windows Update in Server 2016, including installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and best practices. Let’s dive in!

What is Server 2016 Windows Update?

Server 2016 Windows Update is a built-in feature in Windows Server 2016 that enables you to download and install updates for the operating system, drivers, and other components. It ensures that your server is always up to date with the latest security patches, bug fixes, and performance enhancements. You can configure various settings for Windows Update, such as automatic updates, update types, restart options, and more.

Automatic vs. Manual Updates

Windows Update in Server 2016 supports two types of updates: automatic and manual. Automatic updates are enabled by default and allow the server to download and install updates automatically according to a schedule. Manual updates, on the other hand, require Devs to initiate the update process manually and select which updates to install. While automatic updates ensure timely and hassle-free updates, manual updates give you more control over the update process and allow you to test updates before installing them.

Types of Updates

Windows Update in Server 2016 provides several types of updates, including critical updates, security updates, service packs, and feature updates. Critical updates address severe vulnerabilities that could compromise the server’s security, while security updates fix less critical issues related to security. Service packs are collections of updates that improve the server’s functionality and stability, while feature updates add new features and capabilities to the operating system.

Restart Options

When Windows Update installs updates, it may require a restart to apply the changes. You can configure how the server handles restarts after updates by selecting one of the following options:

  • Automatic restart – The server will restart automatically without your intervention.
  • Notify to schedule restart – The server will display a notification when updates need to be installed and ask you to schedule a restart.
  • No auto-restart with logged on Devs – The server will not restart automatically if a Dev is logged on.
  • Custom restart – You can specify a custom restart time and message for the server to display.

How to Install Windows Update in Server 2016

Installing Windows Update in Server 2016 is a straightforward process that requires a few steps:

  1. Open the Windows Update Settings by clicking the Start button and selecting Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
  2. Click the Check for updates button to scan for available updates for your server.
  3. Select the updates you want to install and click the Install button.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete the installation process.

Make sure you have a stable Internet connection and enough free disk space to download and install updates. You may also need to restart the server several times to apply all updates.

How to Configure Windows Update in Server 2016

Configuring Windows Update in Server 2016 allows you to customize how updates are downloaded, installed, and restarted on your server. Here are the steps to configure Windows Update:

  1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc in the Run prompt.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update.
  3. Double-click the Configure Automatic Updates policy and select Enabled.
  4. Select the update options you want to use, such as the type of updates, the schedule, and the restart options.
  5. Click Apply and OK to save your changes.

You can also configure Windows Update using the Registry Editor or Group Policy Management Console. Make sure you understand the impact of your settings on your server and test them in a controlled environment.

Windows Update Best Practices for Server 2016

To ensure the optimum performance and security of your server, follow these best practices when using Windows Update:

Back Up Your Server before Installing Updates

Creating a full backup of your server before installing updates is a crucial step to avoid data loss or system failure. You can use built-in tools such as Windows Server Backup or third-party backup software to create a backup image of your server. Also, make sure you test your backup to verify its integrity and accessibility.

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Install Updates Regularly

Installing updates regularly is essential to keep your server secure and stable. Microsoft releases updates every Patch Tuesday, which is the second Tuesday of each month. You can also subscribe to Microsoft’s Security Update Guide to receive notifications and alerts about new updates and vulnerabilities.

Consider Using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a free tool from Microsoft that allows you to manage and deploy updates to multiple servers from a central location. WSUS provides granular control over updates, reporting, approval, and bandwidth usage. It also enables you to test updates on a small set of servers before deploying them to the entire environment.

Monitor Windows Update Activity

Monitoring Windows Update activity helps you detect issues, errors, and performance bottlenecks related to updates. You can use built-in tools such as Event Viewer or Performance Monitor to track Windows Update events and metrics. Also, make sure you check the update history and the status of each update to verify that they installed successfully and did not cause any problems.

Windows Update Troubleshooting

Windows Update can sometimes fail or encounter errors that prevent it from installing updates. Here are some common Windows Update issues and their solutions:

Windows Update Error 0x800f081f

This error occurs when the server cannot find or download the required files for an update. You can try the following solutions:

  • Run the Windows Update troubleshooter.
  • Clean up the Software Distribution folder.
  • Disable any third-party antivirus or firewall software temporarily.
  • Manually download and install the update from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

Windows Update Stuck at 0%, 20%, or 99%

This issue occurs when the update process hangs or gets stuck at a specific percentage. You can try the following solutions:

  • Restart the server and try to install the updates again.
  • Disable any third-party antivirus or firewall software temporarily.
  • Remove any external devices or USB drives and try again.
  • Run the Windows Update troubleshooter.

Windows Update Failed to Install

This problem occurs when the update process fails and displays an error message. You can try the following solutions:

  • Run the Windows Update troubleshooter.
  • Free up disk space on your server.
  • Disable any third-party antivirus or firewall software temporarily.
  • Manually download and install the update from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

Windows Update FAQ

What is the difference between Windows Update and Microsoft Update?

Windows Update updates only the operating system and certain Microsoft applications installed on the machine, while Microsoft Update updates not only Windows but also other Microsoft products such as Office, Exchange Server, and SQL Server. To use Microsoft Update, you need to opt-in by enabling it in Windows Update settings.

How long does it take to install updates in Server 2016?

The time it takes to install updates in Server 2016 depends on several factors, such as the number and size of updates, the server’s hardware and network speed, and the update settings. Installing critical security updates may take longer than installing minor updates, and the server may need to restart several times.

Can I roll back an update in Server 2016?

Yes, you can uninstall a previously installed update if it causes problems or conflicts with other software. To do so, go to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Installed Updates, select the update you want to remove, and click Uninstall. Make sure you have a recent backup in case the rollback fails or causes issues.

Do I need to run Windows Update on a virtual machine?

Yes, you should run Windows Update on virtual machines to ensure their security and stability. Treat virtual machines as real machines and follow the same update procedures as physical machines. However, make sure you test updates on a small set of virtual machines before deploying them to the entire environment.

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What is the difference between Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)?

WSUS is a free tool from Microsoft that allows you to manage updates for multiple servers from a central location. SCCM, on the other hand, is a comprehensive management tool that includes not only update management but also deployment, inventory, monitoring, and reporting capabilities. SCCM is a paid tool and is suitable for enterprise-level environments with complex infrastructure and operations.

Conclusion

That’s it, Dev! You now have a complete understanding of Windows Update in Server 2016, from installation to troubleshooting. Remember to update your server regularly, monitor its activity, and follow the best practices we covered to ensure its security and performance. If you encounter issues or have any questions, don’t hesitate to seek help from Microsoft support or online communities. Happy updating!