sad trombonist

Let's talk about the SharePoint August 2015 cumulative update.

Now, I know what you're thinking. The September cumulative updates have already come out. Why are we still talking about the August ones?

I'm talking about the August ones because I've been working with them recently and I wanted to share some horror stories or battle scars for you.

Cloud Connection

So the August 2015 cumulative update for SharePoint 2013 is the first one that includes the bits for the Cloud Search Service Application.

That's why I have installed it. And I didn't get around to installing when the August updates first came out because I was working on some other things.

But when I did get around to it a couple weeks ago, I had some problems.

In fact, every single person that I've talked to who has installed the August 2015 cumulative update for SharePoint 2013 has had it fail. Every single time.

I was no exception.

The symptom is you've got a completely happy SharePoint farm, all that kind of stuff. Then you drop the August 2015 cumulative update on it, and it starts turning and does it's slow install thing.

And then at some point, hours, minutes, days into it, a dialog box comes up and says "installation failed."

Why, Oh Why?

And there is no help as to what happened. Now, if you've installed these updates before you know Microsoft puts a setup log in your temp directory, so off to PowerShell I go.

I go to my temp directory. There it is, a log file for the setup. I pop it open in Notepad and I start reading.

Now normally when I do these kind of things I will Control F and look for error, things like that.

I start working up to see what happened. Nothing.

Now there are a whole bunch of hits for "error." Every single thing that it didn't install created two variables that had the word "error" in, which would always set to 0.

But as far as I could tell, nothing broke. Everything was fine. The log had no problems in it. The installation just failed.

So I tried to go to central admin to see exactly what had gotten updated and what hadn't.

Central admin is kapoot: 503 service unavailable.

So Very Sad

At that point the guy with the sad trombone walked into my office. Very sad.

And I thought, well, patches do a lot of things to the system, so I'm gonna go ahead and reboot this box.

So I reboot the box. It comes back up. I log in, go to central admin. The guy with the trombone is like "I can't leave yet."

I tried to open up central admin: 503 service unavailable. So I pop it open: I find server side errors — application pool errors, things like that. And every time I get a 503 it's because the app pool can't start for whatever reason.

So I pop into my app pools. The app pools look fine. They're all stopped. But they look fine.

So I manually start the central admin app pool, and it comes right up. I poke around a little bit and everything looks okay.

I manually start the web app app pool. They all come up now. Everything looks okay, but again that patch didn't work.

So I just re-installed it.

Call Me Crazy

Again, I know they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results.

I did the same thing twice, and got better results the second time. The patch finished, I ran the config wizard and everything was good to go.

So the moral of this story is that if you need to put the August 2015 cumulative update on SharePoint 2013, be prepared for disappointment.

It's probably just gonna fail for no good reason.

The good news is I've done this on several boxes now and while it's failed every single time, every time I've rebooted the box and then reinstalled the patch it works.

So that would be my advice to you. Reboot the box, reinstall the patch, it will likely work the second time and it will all be good.

Can't Stop Now

As always, there's more for you in Podcast 260. So if you're tired of reading, watch the podcast or listen on iTunes. The links below will take you right to the content mentioned.

29:00 - Snippets in PowerShell: Since sharepoint 2016 has come out, I've had to rewrite some of my old standby scripts. And I discovered template snippets.
31:46 - Windows 10 Upgrade fun: I've had some problems on some of my devices.
34:14 - Windows 10 mobile preview update: There's a new update for those in the fast ring.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by Me in ME.