Reducing Time to Install Cumulative Updates and Service Packs

I was involved in deploying SharePoint 2013 cumulative updates and service packs in our customer environment packs and it was taking very long time for us to complete the installations. We provide a Cloud Based SharePoint 2013 Environments which have very large number of servers as well as extended search topologies which make the process to complete in even more time. I had made my own process which include stopping SharePoint Server Search, Search Controller and Timer service manually or with PowerShell before running the CU but still it was not good. So after some research I was able to find out a way to do it faster. This may not be new to you but I have been using it from last 10 months or so I documented it below.

I found this great post from Russ Maxwell that
had this great script that can automated the whole process.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/russmax/archive/2013/04/01/why-sharepoint-2013-cumulative-update-takes-5-ours-to-install.aspx

  1. I copied the script from there and put into a PS1 file.
  2. Download the Cumulative Update in the same folder as PowerShell script and then copy the folder to all SharePoint Servers.

  1. Before you go to step 3 Open Central Administration and Go to Manage Service Application à Search Service Application
  2. Open PowerShell as Administrator
  3. Switch to CU and PowerShell folder
  4. Now I always start from the Central Administration server but you can start from any other server.

  1. Press 1 and Enter

If you refresh Search Center you will see that Search service application is paused.

Note: I have seen that some time script take very long time to go to next time. To save time the tip is that you can press Control C and then start again with 2. Just verify that Search service application is paused.


  1. Now Login to other server and Repeat the same process with Option
    “2” now wait for installation process to complete on all servers.
  2. Once the service application will be paused it will automatically stop the services and start the installation of CU.



  1. Make sure the installation is complete on all server.
  2. Go to any server in the Farm and In the same PowerShell Window type the following

psconfig -cmd upgrade -inplace b2b –force -wait

Note (STS Error message is on last page):

To Avoid STS Error after running the wizard.

When PSConfig reach step 2. Do IISRESET on another command prompt.

  1. If you upgrade failed with error you can check in two placed
    1. DateTime-UpgradeError.log : that contains the main error for your upgrade to fail + any warnings.
    2. Detailed Upgrade-DateTime.log that contains verbose logs of the whole upgrade process.
  2. What kind of issues I have encountered.
    1. Missing Features that I have to remove suing Feature Admin from CodePlex
    2. Orphan Sites and Webs
  3. It is not required but you can Now Run SharePoint Configuration Wizard and then click Next, Next, Finish

  1. Upgrade and Migration à Review Database Status à make sure all databases are no action required.
  2. I have seen that mostly BDC Database goes into compatibility Range. Following my Blog here to fix that.

  1. Upgrade and Migration à Check Product and Patch installation status à Your KB must be listed.

Login to SQL Server à Open SQL Server Management Studio à Click Connect

Expand Databases à Expand SharePoint Configuration or any Content Databases à Expand Tables

Right click on Versions à View Top 10

Verify the version against Todd Klindt’s http://www.toddklindt.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=346

 

 

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