Windows Server 2016: Slow updates

[German]Administrators of Windows Server 2016 systems may be used to trouble. If you are wondering about the extremely slow update installation on your machines: You are not alone.


I came across this topic by chance and did some research. For several months now, Microsoft's Answers forums have seen frustrated administrators complaining about extremely slow updates to Windows Server 2016.

This thread at Microsoft Technet forum from July 2017 describes the dilemma, admins are facing:

A client has a collection of servers that are running 2008r2, 2012 and 2016

Is it just me or are the server 2016 updates just slow?! I had updated all the 2008r2 and 2012 ones in about an hour, yet the 2016 servers took the best part of a day to update and install!

what's with that?

A customer runs a range of Windows servers, from Windows Server 2008 R2, through Windows Server 2012 / R2, to Windows Server 2016, where it is noticeable that Windows Server 2016 is extremely slow to install updates. While the older Windows Server versions are done with the update installation after one hour, the machines with Windows Server 2016 sometimes fiddle around with updates for a day until the system is ready to work again. Within the thread there are negations, and also explanations why this takes so long (size of the cumulative updates).

If you search the Internet, you will find numerous other forum entries from people who complain about a slow update installation under Windows Server 2016. Also on you will find this thread from November 2017, where a software developer writes the following:


Why is applying Windows Updates so slow on Window Server 2016 compared to Windows 10 that shares the same core?

I use server editions (2008 R2 and 2016) as "workstation" OS in virtual machines for software development. While Windows 2008 R2 and 10 updates are fast, it takes almost 15 minutes to restart in case of Windows Server 2016.

Also there it is stated that older server editions install the updates quickly, while Windows Server 2016 falters miserably long. Mind you, we are not talking about clients that can be taken off the net and updated. These are servers that are supposed to run continuously. Another user points out, that this is a known issue in the RTM version:

Windows Server 2016 RTM has a known issue with Windows Updates. The first cumulative update takes like forever. Install the latest Windows CU manually (download and run it). Afterwards it's not so bad anymore. Don't get me wrong, it's still bad, but a lot better than the RTM version.

November 2017 update KB4048953 should fix the problem of slow update installation. But at spiceworks there is this thread from March 15, 2018, where a user complains again about the same issue.

I'm installing (or trying to) on some of our servers this morning and they are taking crazy long.  THe 2012 R2 machines had all their patches installed in about 10 minutes.  The 2016 machines are taking 45+ minutes to install their 1 patch and then after rebooting are getting hung up at "Getting Windows ready".

German site Golem proposes to use a manual update installation as a workaround to fasten update installation. What's your situation? Are you affected by slow update processes on Windows Server 2016, or is that no longer an issue?

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23 Responses to Windows Server 2016: Slow updates

  1. A pissed off admin says:


    My Windows Server 2016 intall Right now Updates since 2 Hours.

    After Rebooting an half Hour ago, they are still stuck at "Getting Windows Ready",
    don't turn off Computer. "

    Only because of Updates taking this Long, I can only apply Updates on Sunday..
    Would be a Nightmare to do this while productive time…


  2. Another pissed off admin says:

    Same issue here. The 2018-06 update seems to be particularly nasty. It's usually safe for me to install updates at 5am, but not this time. At 2.75 hours, Windows is still "getting ready", as productive (or not) time approaches.

    I'm beginning to feel that Server 2016 is the "Windows 8" of the server platform.

  3. Christian Wimmer says:

    The first update on a Windows Server 2016 takes like 4 hours.

    Everything else is usually done in under one hour. Far from ideal, but good enough to auto-update at night.

    I also Had major problems with ReFS.

    I pretty much gave up on Windows Server 2016 and i am looking forward to Windows Server 2019.

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  5. here says:

    I have 16 windows server 2016 and I cant update them all same day, now it takes a few days (i"d say nights/after hours) to update a few a the time, this is annoying.. I can't believe MS screwed this up this badly…
    It takes at least an hour each… wow!! what a pain.. I hope 2019 is better because this is total trash…

  6. Dieter says:

    Patch your Server has become a great problem with 2016. We have about 90 VMs, on a Hyper-V cluster and on standalone Hosts. In the past patching took 12 to 14 hours for all servers, now we need 4-5 days. Patching a server under 2 hours would be real luck.
    In addition 20 to 30 percent of the updates fail randomly. In the most cases retrying works, if not download the update and install it manually (normally works).
    It is a lot of work to ensure that business critical machines are really running when you need them.
    Secure and automatic patching does not work this way.

  7. lolix says:

    After bumping into numerous shortcomings to build a decent W2016 RDSH farm, I'm now struggling with that..
    I had skipped W2012..
    Considering skipping W2016…and Windows entirely..

  8. Craig says:

    Same type of issues as everyone else, Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2 patch under an hour. Windows Server 2016 take 2-3 hours. I don't understand what Microsoft has done to make a new product perform worse than an old product. They need to correct this!

  9. Marko says:

    i think microsoft is just trying to push us all to the cloud..
    i don t see any other reason because.. it s totally crap this what we are doing.
    i m working from 8 till 18, then i have to come home, spend a little bit time with my kids and then do f***ing updates till midnight or later..
    then hyperv is booting 3 hours.. with a beautiful note that the update didn t install.
    so i m sitting like d***head with red eyes every evening and waiting to see IF it is going to be updated. such a crap

  10. Paul says:

    I have a client with a decent HP Proliant server and Windows 2016 installed on the metal. Updates are a nightmare and take a couple of hours at least! Their internet connection is very slow and I am sure this is connected (even though the patch must be fully downloaded)

    The rest of my clients I have kept on Windows 2012 R2 and patch/update at normal speed.

    I always have to install on a Sunday evening to not affect production. Absolute joke.

  11. Karl Wester-Ebbinghaus says:

    Stats and videos:
    2016 / 2019 GUI und 2016 / 2019 Core

  12. Eric says:

    This is horrible! The MS reps in the forums suggest performing a "clean boot" – any time I see that suggestion, for just about ANY PROBLEM, my eyes glaze over and I look for the next solution. That's their solution for everything!

  13. Christian says:

    The only solution to our problem is to Ditch Windows Servers and go over Linux.

    Seriously. It can't be that long to do a freakin update. 1h15, and it's at 10% only! I know that it will take few hours to process this update… can't stay all night awake just to do these updates.

    And MS? They don't give a shit…

    Seriously, every further development in our company will be done toward Linux. It's been 2 years, and no one at MS give a shit.

  14. Frank says:

    Windows server 2016 and later are just pure garbage that has been poorly designed by stupid programmer that need to be replaced….
    They just have that there for money$

  15. Steve W says:

    Oct, 2019…and this 2016 Server update issue is still absolutely pathetic.

    They are pissing off the word of mouth professionals that truly help sell their product.

    I just paid them tens of thousands of dollars for this nonsense? They get several billions from their customers, and still can't streamline something as simple as this?

    I truly can't wait to get rid of Microsoft altogether, and move to a better platform.

    It's as though these people never sit down, and actually use their products to see what kind of absolute nonsense they are creating.

  16. pepper says:

    Not only server 2016, but also windows 10. Yesterday, I pushed the October cumulative patch of win10 in the company. This morning, I found three user waiting on the update page. MS is suck.

  17. Turtle says:

    My fix has been to upgrade all 2016 servers to 2019 where possible. Server 2019 updates in a normal timeframe, unlike Server 2016.

  18. Wayne Barron says:

    It is still happening today.
    Installing update KB4540670, of which I download the standalone installer.
    33-minutes just to get ready to install and ask if I wanted to install it.
    Of which I chose [Yes]
    This server is a VMWare VM client running the 2016 Core Server.
    I noticed that some of the core servers I have running would find the updates quicker than other core VMs and would download and install them faster.
    The VM I am working on right now showed download for over an hour for
    KB4540670 and for Malicious-kb890830
    So I stopped the download process by closing out of the cmd prompt window and then downloading the files to my computer and moving them over to the server to install manually.
    You would THINK Microsoft would have fixed this issue by now.
    But now, they are so gung-ho on getting Server 2019 out, that they neglected to fix the issues with 2016.

    Just my two cents on this frustrating issue.

  19. Dave says:

    This issue plagues my systems, and has for over 2 years. I don't want to spend the money to upgrade to Server 2019 (3 data center licenses) to fix a problem with Server 2016. How in the blazes are they allowing this to continue?!?!?!?!

  20. Tom says:

    July 26th, 2020: And still same problem….
    CU 2020-7 "Preparing to install updates 80%" after more then one hour… on a server running no other tasks (newly installed).

  21. Bob Tournoux says:

    I am noticing this today as well. I was hoping someone would tell me it is solved.

    I have not seen it mentioned here, but I noticed that during the download process the network traffic seems to be limited to under 250Kbps. I decided to run a network speed test ( and when doing this at the same time as the windows update I could see 7 Mbps. Does Microsoft somehow throttle these downloads for some reason? Anyone else see this and figure out how to make the downloads happen faster? Or is it something we have to pay money for to get? I'd use unix but my client has Windows Only based software applications. My Raspberry Pi 4 runs windows faster than 2016.

  22. Pingback: For February, a 'bumpy' Patch Tuesday ride | Computerworld

  23. DataK says:

    We now have half march 2021 done and still the same issue.
    I am waiting, waiting for you. I sing in front of my servers. Well, it is my 3rd bottle of beer this update evening. Holy shit. And still no solution or fix from Microsoft.

  24. Bitman says:

    November 2022 and still slow as hell.

    It doesn't appear that Microsoft will ever tackle this, as server 2016 is approaching its sunset date anyway.

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