HOWTO: Install All Windows Updates in Powershell Remotely

Timely updating the software installed in the company and installing the required patches is one of the important tasks, the implementation of which allows you to avoid various software malfunctions, as well as to ensure an adequate level of security. How can you centrally and remotely manage software updates and patches in a company? To do this, there are various solutions called patch management tool. If you have ever had to install Windows updates, as in patching servers, you know you have to log into servers and allow updates to install, suppressing reboots along the way. I will focus on windows update in powershell today (Invoke-WUInstall), used to install Windows updates remotely.

1. Installing PSWindowsUpdate PowerShell Module

Since PSWindowsUpdate is not installed on Windows by default, we have to first install the module.

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> Install-Module PSWindowsUpdate -MaximumVersion

If we run Get-Command we can see all of the commands in the PSWindowsUpdate module:

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> Get-Command -Module PSWindowsUpdate

CommandType Name Version Source

    ----------- ---- ------- ------
  • Alias Get-WindowsUpdate pswindowsupdate
  • Alias Hide-WindowsUpdate pswindowsupdate
  • Alias Install-WindowsUpdate pswindowsupdate
  • Alias Uninstall-WindowsUpdate pswindowsupdate
  • Function Add-WUOfflineSync pswindowsupdate
  • Function Add-WUServiceManager pswindowsupdate
  • Function Get-WUHistory pswindowsupdate
  • Function Get-WUInstall pswindowsupdate
  • Function Get-WUInstallerStatus pswindowsupdate
  • Function Get-WUList pswindowsupdate
  • Function Get-WURebootStatus pswindowsupdate
  • Function Get-WUServiceManager pswindowsupdate
  • Function Get-WUUninstall pswindowsupdate
  • Function Hide-WUUpdate pswindowsupdate
  • Function Invoke-WUInstall pswindowsupdate
  • Function Remove-WUOfflineSync pswindowsupdate
  • Function Remove-WUServiceManager pswindowsupdate

Step 1 Install All Windows Updates in Powershell Remotely is to Install PSWindowsUpdate PowerShell Module

2. How Invoke-WUInstall Works

One different aspect of using Invoke-WUInstall is that it does not use traditional remoting methods to perform Windows update in PowerShell. When you look at the source code, it actually creates and immediately runs a scheduled task on the remote machine under the SYSTEM account.
  • Write-Verbose "Create schedule service object"
  • $Scheduler = New-Object -ComObject Schedule.Service
  • $Task = $Scheduler.NewTask(0)
  • $RegistrationInfo = $Task.RegistrationInfo
  • $RegistrationInfo.Description = $TaskName
  • $RegistrationInfo.Author = $User.Name
  • $Settings = $Task.Settings
  • $Settings.Enabled = $True
  • $Settings.StartWhenAvailable = $True
  • $Settings.Hidden = $False
  • $Action = $Task.Actions.Create(0)
  • $Action.Path = "powershell"
  • $Action.Arguments = "-Command $Script"
  • $Task.Principal.RunLevel = 1

typical use of Invoke-WUInstall would be:

Invoke-WUInstall -ComputerName Test-1 -Script {ipmo PSWindowsUpdate; Get-WUInstall -AcceptAll | Out-File C:\PSWindowsUpdate.log } -Confirm:$false –Verbose

In this command we see Get-WUInstall, which is the command PSWindowsUpdate uses to install updates, usually from your Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server. Get-WUInstall simply uses a COM object for Windows updates to perform the tasks needed. Notice also the use of the -AcceptAll parameter, which means it will automatically accept any updates to install.

One nice feature of Invoke-WUInstall is that it actually installs the PSWindowsUpdate module on the remote machine (if it isn't there already). This is great when you are using the module on a new machine, or when you decide to use it for the first time.

  • C:\ > $cim = New-CimSession -ComputerName Test-1
  • C:\ > $cim

  • Id : 2
  • Name : CimSession2
  • InstanceId : afa8c63d-fb1f-46f9-8082-c66238750a92
  • ComputerName : Test-1
  • Protocol : WSMAN

  • C:\Scripts\PowerShell> (Get-ScheduledTask -TaskPath "\" -CimSession $cim -TaskName PSWindowsUpdate).actions
  • Id :
  • Arguments : -Command ipmo PSWindowsUpdate; Get-WUInstall -AcceptAll -AutoReboot | Out-File C:\PSWindowsUpdate.log
  • Execute : powershell
  • WorkingDirectory :
  • PSComputerName : Test-1

As you can see, the scheduled task is going to run ipmo PSWindowsUpdate; Get-WUInstall -AcceptAll -AutoReboot | Out-File C:\PSWindowsUpdate.log. Using Out-File will ensure the logs of downloading and installing updates are visible so we can check against them later..

Step 2 Install All Windows Updates in Powershell Remotely is to use Invoke-WUInstall module

3. Install Updates on Multiple Machines

The true power of Invoke-WUInstall is when you have to install updates on many machines at once. This is very easy to do, all you need is to add machines to the ‑ComputerName parameter, which then processes them in a loop (not in parallel unfortunately).

  • C:\ > Invoke-WUInstall -ComputerName Test-1,Test-2,Test-3,Test-4 -Script {ipmo PSWindowsUpdate; Get-WUInstall -AcceptAll | Out-File C:\
  • PSWindowsUpdate.log } -Confirm:$false -Verbose
  • VERBOSE: Populating RepositorySourceLocation property for module PSWindowsUpdate.
  • VERBOSE: Loading module from path 'C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\PSWindowsUpdate\\PSWindowsUpdate.psm1'.
  • VERBOSE: Create schedule service object
  • VERBOSE: Performing the operation "Invoke WUInstall" on target "Test-1".

4. Windows Update in Powershell: Finding Errors

One great reason to output to a log on the remote machine is to confirm that no errors installing updates on these remote machines occurred. With some simple PowerShell, we can query these log files and search for failures.

Here is what a typical log looks like after using Get-WUInstall -AcceptAll | Out-File C:\ PSWindowsUpdate.log:

It includes the status of the update, its KB number, size, and title—all great information to have handy when installing updates.

Using Invoke-Command, Get-Item, and Select-String, we can use a quick technique to easily work through any computers used with Invoke-WUInstall and check for updates that failed to install:

  • C:\> Invoke-Command -ComputerName Test-1,Test-2,Test-3 -ScriptBlock {
  • >> Get-Item C:\PSWindowsUpdate.log | Select-String -Pattern "failed" -SimpleMatch |
  • >> Select-Object -Property line } | Select-Object -Property Line,PSComputerName
  • Line PSComputerName
  • ---- --------------
  • 4 Failed KB4103712 30 MB 2018-05 Security Only Quality Update for Windo... Test-1