Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

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Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:34 am

What is the longest time you've ever had to wait for Server 2008 or 2008 R2 to finish "Preparing to configure Windows. . . "? At this point it got stuck for well over and hour and a 1/2 so I had to force shut it down. Boot into safe mode which apparently did something enough to make it boot up into Safe Mode (With and Without Networking). But whenever I try to tell it to boot normally, I get that forever drawn out "Preparing to configure Windows. . . " BS screen. I've attempted to remove the Update Cache folder as I've read in multiple posts, but that did nothing.

I'm at a point where I can either wait and hope that this message isn't BSing me, or I can take a more proactive approach. Anyone here have a solution to getting 2008 R2 to revert really quick back to before the updates attempted to install, or has waiting a long time paid off?

I've also seen notes regarding "Pending.xml" Opening this file showed at the top that it had "Revert" = Yes, but I've yet to see any progress on start up, thanks to Microsofts lack of informational "progress bars", which don't even exist anymore. I've read some places stating to delete it... others saying it would be a huge mistake to do that since your system wouldn't be able to revert changes on half installed updates. My "Pending.xml" is at 14-15MB, which seems quite big for a file of that type /shrug.

/Sigh, why can't Microsoft just get their damn updates in orders :(
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:00 am

I've never had to wait that long for a 2008 server to configure updates. Everything works pretty easily.

You could try rolling back the updates from safe mode. That might clear out the problem.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:27 am

No roll backs available :|. Unfortunately, server doesn't give you the one feature it should probably have... System Restore :P. They have you rely on volume shadow copies, and hope that your able to do a bare metal backup. Which isn't always the case.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:40 am

You will have to uninstall the update(s) or revert to the backup you made before you updated.

You should have had a plan of action for a failed update before this point. Contingency planning is one of your responsibilities as an IT technician and is a fundamental taught in courses like A+ and Security+.

This is not something you should be posting to a tech forum and you should be embarrassed.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:40 am

We had this issue. Sometimes its possible to still hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and get to the login anyways. Its like it got stuck graphically, even though the updates are finished. Give it a shot. When forcing a reboot from this, we've had it have to do a registry scan on start up that can take hours as well. We have yet to find the resolution completely though.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:33 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:You will have to uninstall the update(s) or revert to the backup you made before you updated.

You should have had a plan of action for a failed update before this point. Contingency planning is one of your responsibilities as an IT technician and is a fundamental taught in courses like A+ and Security+.

This is not something you should be posting to a tech forum and you should be embarrassed.


OK... Very presumptuous of you to post this not knowing the situation fully. How about the customer didn't want to spend the cash to purchase updated backup software, or even want me to come in to do anything as of the last 6 months to save money? Yet I've managed on my own time to make manual Acronis backups once a week. Its not my first option to try restoring an image to a system, as that has nasty side effects sometimes too, its a last resort. Hmmm, funny because all customers want a full time tech, but they don't want to pay for one.

Anyhow, I fixed the issue. Was able to get it to boot into Safe Mode. Removed the SoftwareDistribution folder under C:/Windows (it rebuilds itself on the next update process). I read enough to know DO NOT remove or rename the "Pending.xml" file. Although this might get you back into loading into windows, apparently it leaves your entire server install dead in the water for all future updates, no way to patch it and you have to backup/rebuild from scratch.

After removing the "SoftwareDistribution" folder, I was able to disable Avast from the services, which allowed windows to boot normally to the point where it could revert the broken updates.

You know it really bothers the heck out of me for you to jump the gun Ryu. Since when has the first reaction of ANYONE on TR been to berate a member asking for assistance, regardless of their situation. You should be ashamed to be a moderator/admin and talking down to a member who simply asked for help by the one group they trust for some help.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:59 pm

None of what you said changes my opinion that you're unseasoned.

You have several instances of blaming others instead of looking within.

Welcome to the world of IT. People are cheap, it's your resposibility to generate a risk mitigation or put it in writing that they are engaging in risk acceptance. You need a contingency plan for either business choice. You didn't have a plan for what to do when something as common as patching went wrong, otherwise you'd have never made this post. Unless your plan was post to TR and use Google to save me? :p

You can rebel against me or you can grow and think further ahead and be better at what you do.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:14 pm

Not to pile on, but if a business doesn't want to pay for a backup solution, it's then your job to convince them that they can't afford not to have a reliable backup solution. It's really for their own good, and yes, playing salesman is part of the job.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:46 am

For a moment, humor me on what you consider a contingency plan if not a system image? I could have very well restored a system image i had of the system from less than a week ago, but its a last resort. From error to fix the issue was resolved in under 6 hours. When dealing with a bad update you have to be careful not to rush shutting down or starting the process over again or you end up corrupting other things too. So please, share with me what sort of "magical" tricks you would have done as part of your contingency plan? If you tell me restore that backup first i'll tell you how utterly wrong you are. System images are great but they have horrible side effects sometimes (especially with server hardware thats so specialized). The last thing you do is make a change to a system that is potentially irreversible, restoring an image over an existing install is on that list.

You can try to convince all you want, but the final decision on purchase lies with the customer. Fact is that some businesses run a tighter budget than they should and simply CANNOT afford it, this is one of those cases. Ironic because they cant afford not to have it too. So for the time being i've made a manual backup image once a week as a cya. Believe me I've made my attempts at getting Acronis or the likes on their systems. Perhaps this last little bump will be the scare that they needed.
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Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:39 am

I find your question and scenario mildly suspicious. Like you're creating some sort of narrow conditions that vindicate your own actions.

How I would fix it depends on the customer. I am not interested in consulting for your business when I've already told you my solution for this particular skillset issue: training. I do not desire to converse nor should you reveal the answer to the additional pertinent questions I would need in order to ascertain a series of ideal solutions. (e.g. what do they do, how many users, where is the data, what is the hardware, what are their losses per hour of downtime, how many hours and or days of information can they afford to lose, do they maintain hard copy backups in addition to what's on the server, etc). These are rhetroical and some of them are arguably the kind of things you shouldn't be discussing about a customer on the Internet. As your location tag says Fairbanks, Alaska. With those detail I might even be able to figure out who you did work for. That puts you and them in a bad situation and furthers the whole absurdity of using this forum.

I would note that even if they had steadfastly denied and actively prevented you from introducing a backup system. You could still have a contingency for recovery that's better than asking TR. Like detailing out what files would need to be copied from the system in the event that the server is only accessible from a pre-boot environment like WinPE or a Live Linux install (e.g. ntds.dit, etc). Having one for what you're gonna do if a disk dies and nothing is left to recover can't hurt either.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee849849(v=ws.10)

Acronis and sector based images are terrible tools. File based imaging is vastly superior (non-destructive, less space, etc) and already freely included in the OS (amongst other features). Not to mention that system images aren't even always the right answer. Sometimes just targeted data backups meet the low goal.

You express some great fear that a backup solution will make things worse due to a lack of fallback to a system that's already broken. A very strange stance, but if it really matters to you I'd note that you can capture a file based (or sector, but it has downsides) image of the system before you restore the backup.

I'd also note that if you don't know the consequences of what your backup will do during a restoration, you're still falling down on the job. You don't have a backup until you've restored data from it. So speaking in hypotheticals here about the damage your restoration might do is not good.

What I know for sure is the answers to your challenges are not found in:

1. Asking TR
2. Blaming Microsoft
3. Not having a plan until after it happens

My tone hasn't been soft in this. I could have been a bit more smooth like honey and a little less caustic than licorice, but don't mistake this for me trying to troll you or just agitate you because I'm a jerk.

In this business people expect technology to fail. Why, could of, should of, would of isn't what they want to talk about. They want to talk about solutions. If you really want to make yourself look amazing to your customers then having a plan and a timeline for disaster recovery will keep bread on your table. It will also reflect well upon all of us that work in this field.

I am trying to help you expand your abilities. I just have a tough love approach.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:09 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:This is not something you should be posting to a tech forum and you should be embarrassed.


I was going to post that I encountered something similar, until I saw that this is the type of response from "Global Moderators." Of course, my situation is a little different. I am not in IT. I manage my own server for my law firm. Ryu probably thinks I should be embarrassed to say that I don't have a full time IT guy/gal on staff.

I guess I'm ruffled by the throwaway last line, rather than the more-than-obvious contribution above it.

What was that thing about not being stupid questions? Oh well, I guess the correct answer is always "You should know better."

Tough love, my ass.
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:56 pm

I'm an ADA and want to know if it is bad for me to withhold or destroy exculpatory evidence in the US?

Can someone on this forum answer that for me?
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Re: Server 2008 R2 - Bad Updates

Postposted on Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:26 pm

This has clearly gone off the rails.

Locked.
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