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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Slipstreaming SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Cumulative Updates

As was true with SharePoint 2010, Microsoft is releasing Cumulative Updates (CU's) for 2013. A new CU is generally released about every 3 months. As has been confirmed, ONLY the latest CU needs to be applied EXCEPT for 2013. For 2013, there is a mandatory update for March 2013 (which includes February 13's updates). The latest CU cannot be installed without the March 2013 applied first.

As for the CU's themselves, be sure to check for any issues folks have encountered and follow a normal process of testing on a non-production farm first. As an example, the latest CU (December 2013) has a known side effect in that it breaks the Performance Point dashboard designer - so if you are using Performance Point, don't install that CU (install October instead).

The entire list can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/jj891062.aspx

At any rate, it's not a lot of fun to have to incorporate the CU's on multiple systems - particularly when there are more than one. As well, Microsoft is not very clear about what to apply when - as in do you do Foundation, then Server or just Server and do you run SharePoint Configuration update after or not?

To clear the air on at least 2013, it now appears that CU's should only be applied based on the product you are running. That is, if you are running Server, ONLY apply the Server update - if running Foundation, ONLY Foundation. This can save you some time as like many of  you, I have in the past implemented both just to be sure (and Microsoft is very vague on this).

As for running PSCONFIG or SharePoint Configuration after each, the answer is YES - do it every time.

If you choose to run each of the updates separately, be aware that the updates DO NOT ALWAYS upgrade everything. Case in point: When applying the March 2013 update, it does not update the Business Connectivity Server (BCS) - after the update is done, a message will appear in the Health Analyzer that the BCS/BDC Database is running in compatibility mode. To correct this, use the SharePoint 2013 Management Shell (i.e. PowerShell) and provision the database as follows:

(Get-SPDatabase | ?{$_.type -eq "Microsoft.SharePoint.BusinessData.SharedService.BdcServiceDatabase"}).Provision()

As for "Slipstreaming", the process works the same way as it did in 2010.

NOTE: At the time of this writing, I have confirmed that the March 2013 CU is the only update that can be used in the slipstream process - the December 2013 CU must be applied manually after.

There are a few steps involved to do this.

1) Download all of the cumulative updates from the site for your product but be SURE to keep them in separate folders. When 'extracted', Microsoft uses cute names (ubersts for example) that are either because the update is coming from Germany or someone bought a VW and likes the term and includes the KB numbers so it's impossible to know which comes from which date.

2) For each the CU's, extract them to a folder - so for example, create a folder called March13CU. Copy the update (an .EXE file) to that folder - if the update (like August) comes in the form of a self-extracting zip, use that to extract the EXE (and in some cases, .CAB files) into that folder.

3) Use PowerShell or the command prompt, set default to the folder (i.e. March13CU) then breakout the CU EXE into individual files using the extract method - to extract them to the same folder, the command would be:

<CU EXE Name> /extract:<folder to extract to>

So if the downloaded CU was called March13ServerCU.exe (or you wisely renamed it as so) and wanted to extract it to the folder March13CU (the same folder where the EXE is), the command would be:

March13ServerCU.exe /extract:.\

Alternately, to create a sub-folder, the command would be:

March13ServerCU.exe /extract:.\Mar13SrvCU

If you wanted to use a different drive/folder, it would be:

March13ServerCU.exe /extract:D:\Mar13SrvCU

4) Copy the SharePoint installation into a folder on the server.

5) Run the Prerequisite installer either using the Splash screen running Setup.cmd or using the prerequisiteinsaller.exe - either way be SURE TO right click and choose Run as administrator (do this for EVERYTHING relating to SP13).

6) After the Prerequisites are installed, there are additional patches that must be run:

    *   KB2554876 - The SharePoint parsing process crashes in Windows Server 2008 R2.  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2554876)
    *   KB2708075 - IIS 7.5 configurations are not updated when you use the ServerManager class to commit configuration changes.  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2708075)
    *   KB2472264 - You can't customize some TCP configurations by using the netsh command in Windows Server 2008 R2.  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2472264)
    *   KB2567680 - Vulnerability in Windows Client/Server Run-time subsystem could allow elevation of privilege.  (http://download.microsoft.com/download/C/D/A/CDAF5DD8-3B9A-4F8D-A48F-BEFE53C5B249/Windows6.1-KB2567680-x64.msu)
    *   KB2759112 - Hotfix for the .NET Framework 4.5 that resolves an ASP.NET race condition issue in Windows Server 2008 R2. (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2759112) (download:  http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=267536)

    *   KB2765317 - Hotfix for the .NET Framework 4.5 that resolves an ASP.NET race condition issue in Windows Server 2012. (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2765317) (download:  http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=268725)

While running these updates, if you receive an error or message saying "Update not applicable", that's fine. The key one here is KB2759112 - you CANNOT run a slipstream installation unless this has been applied.

7) If you are running a VM, snapshot it at this time (this gives you a fallback if the installation doesn't work).

8) Prepare the slipstream installation by copying the extracted CU files into the installation folder called 'updates'. Be sure to copy them in order by date released, March, August, etc.

9) Run the SharePoint setup (on ONE SERVER ONLY) - the first step of this only installs the binaries. At the end, if it says "Compete" the update took - if it shows "Some updates were not applied" you are hosed and you need to start over or install the CU's manually. When complete, you can verify the version installed by going to the hive, c:\Program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\15\isapi then right clicking on Microsoft.SharePoint.dll and selecting properties then clicking the Details tab. You can validate the number either from the Microsoft site or Steve Chen's blog post:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/steve_chen/archive/2013/03/26/3561010.aspx

If the first server went OK, copy the same installation folder to other servers to install there.

10) As a first time installation, running the SharePoint 2013 Configuration Wizard will apply the updates so PSConfig (or PSConfigUI) not needed.



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