Microsoft Updates does not complete Initial Update on Server 2012 or Server 2016



Hello Everyone,

It’s a lovely night in late 2016, and I am in no shortage of topics to write articles about. I think I’ll choose an issue which actually got me for several hours before I could put together what it was.

Lets start with the customer. Mr. Customer calls in with Windows Server Updates failing. So I know that he had manually updated the server, so the updates done were not from Windows Updates. This is a case where Microsoft Updates never worked. This is a famed situation where you can claim that the customer is not supported if the feature never worked.

I don’t believe in no win scenarios, so I dive In. I hit the basic windows update items.  I am going to try to bulletize these so you have some troubleshooting steps in a normal situation:


  • 1. Go to the Windows Update log. Mine was in the windows folder. Other places exist
  • 2. Look for any error or use the link above to find any errors.
  • 3. How to resolve Update issues article from TechNet
  • 4. Check to make sure there is not WSUS server locally.
  • Even if there is not, check the registry to make sure WSUS IP and port is not listed.
  • Check group Policy for WSUS and or issue the Detect now command switch with Wuauclt. See Link

Now is the time to let you in on the fact that two errors have been in the back of my mind in the Windows Update.log They are:

  • Windows OOBE is still in progress.
  • Failed to get network cost from NLM

So somewhere in the middle of the bullets above, I did think of taking the server out of the OOBE mode. There was no setup going on and it seemed the right thing to do. Surprisingly, after I set the registry key and rebooted, I found the error persisted.

So in the end, I really did find this solution on a Microsoft blog. Why am I reposting this story? Because you have to know what Audit Mode is, to find the article! The solutions are posed under audit mode. My article is on the internet as a Updates failed article. I just hope it finds its way into the hand of someone who fell into audit mode, without realizing it.

So I have to be honest and tell you the customer would not let me apply the solution. he decided to reinstall!!! That’s why its even more important to make sure the solution for this gets out.

From the MS Blog:

  • 1. log in as administrator
  • 2. turn UAC off
  • 3. make sure the user you plan on logging in has administrative rights
  • 4. reboot and login as that user
  • 5. System should have a dialog box for OOBE/reboot and Audit/reboot, choose OOBE, system will restart
  • 6. Audit mode will be off and will ask for language selection etc.


So now realize, you may need to create the new Administrator user name, so please be aware of that.

In closing, Please be aware of the two telltale signs of audit mode:

  • If you get a message that says OOBE\boot and Audit\Boot, pick OOBE every time!
  • If Windows Update will not work, look in the windows Update log, to see if you have the OOBE issue. It will not show up anywhere else!


I hope this has been helpful and educational!


One thought on “Microsoft Updates does not complete Initial Update on Server 2012 or Server 2016

  1. […] had a lot of windows update failures late, I present the weirdest one I have seen. It is called Audit Mode Failures to update. Take a look at that one, if this article does not fix you up. It does have some basic […]


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