PSWindowsUpdate: Managing Windows Updates from PowerShell

By June 1, 2020No Comments

It is very convenient to use the special PSWindowsUpdate module for PowerShell to manage Windows updates from the command line interface. The PSWindowsUpdate is not integrated into Windows and is a third-party module available in Technet Script Gallery. PSWindowsUpdate allows administrators to remotely check, install, remove and hide updates on Windows servers and workstations. The PSWindowsUpdate module is especially valuable to manage updates on Windows Server Core, Hyper-V editions having no graphic interface, as well as when configuring a Windows image in the audit mode.

PSWindowsUpdate: Install Windows Update PowerShell Module

You can install the PSWindowsUpdate module on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 from the online repository (PSGallery) using the PackageManagement with a single command:

Install-Module -Name PSWindowsUpdate

In my case, a warning appeared that PSWindowsUpdate was already installed appeared. To install a newer module version, you need to run the command:

Install-Module -Name PSWindowsUpdate –Force

After the installation is complete, you need to check the package:

Get-Package -Name PSWindowsUpdate

Install-Module PSWindowsUpdate from PSGallery

If you have an older Windows version (Windows 7/8.1/Windows Server 2008 R2/2012 R2) or you don’t have direct Internet access, you can install PSWindowsUpdate manually.

This module can be installed on any supported Windows versions starting from Vista / Windows Server 2008 with PowerShell 2.0 installed (though, PoSh 3.0 or newer is recommended).

  1. Download the latest PSWindowsUpdate version from this page: https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/2d191bcd-3308-4edd-9de2-88dff796b0bc and unblock the downloaded file; Please note that only the old version of the module is available in the TechNet script gallery – v 1.5.6. While the NuGet package manager installs PSWindowsUpdate from the PowershellGallery. Available PowerShell cmdlets and parameters may vary in different versions of the module.download and unblock the PSWindowsUpdate Module
  2. Extract the archive with the PS module into one of the following directories: %USERPROFILE%\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules or %WINDIR%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules (the last one is better if you are going to use the module often);
  3. Allow scripts execution: Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope Process -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -Force
  4. Import the module into your PowerShell session: Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate Import-Module PSWindowsUpdateNote. In Windows 7/ Windows Server 2008 R2, when importing the PSWindowsUpdate module, the following error may appear: The term “Unblock-File” is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet. The cause is that the module uses some functions that appeared only in PowerShell 3.0. To use these functions, you will have either to update the PowerShell version or to delete the | Unblock-File line from the PSWindowsUpdate.psm1 file manually.

After installing the PSWindowsUpdate module on your computer, you can remotely install it on other computers or servers using the Update-WUModule cmdlet. For example, to copy the PSWindowsUpdate module from your computer to two remote servers, run the commands (you need to access the remote servers via SMB protocol, TCP port 445):

$Targets = "contoso-fs02", "contoso-db01"
Update-WUModule -ComputerName $Targets –Local

To save (export) the PoSh module to a shared network folder for further importing of the module on other computers, run:

Save-Module -Name PSWindowsUpdate –Path \\contoso-fs02\psmodules\

Overview of PSWindowsUpdate Cmdlets

You can display the list of available cmdlets in the PSWindowsUpdate module as follows:

get-command -module PSWindowsUpdate

Let’s describe the usage of the module commands in brief:

  • Clear-WUJob – use the Get-WUJob to call the WUJob in Task Scheduler;
  • Download-WindowsUpdate (alias for Get-WindowsUpdate –Download) — get a list of updates and download them;
  • Get-WUInstall, Install-WindowsUpdate (alias for Get-WindowsUpdate –Install) – install updates;
  • Hide-WindowsUpdate (alias for Get-WindowsUpdate -Hide:$false) – hide update;
  • Uninstall-WindowsUpdate – remove update using Remove-WindowsUpdate;
  • Add-WUServiceManager – register the update server (Windows Update Service Manager) on the computer;
  • Enable-WURemoting — enable Windows firewall rules to allow remote use of the PSWindowsUpdate cmdlets;
  • Get-WindowsUpdate (Get-WUList) — displays a list of updates that match the specified criteria, allows you to find and install the updates. This is the main cmdlet of the PSWindowsUpdate module. Allows to download and install updates from a WSUS server or Microsoft Update. Allows you to select update categories, specific updates and set the rules of a computer restart when installing the updates;
  • Get-WUApiVersion – get the Windows Update Agent version on the computer;
  • Get-WUHistory – display a list of installed updates (update history);
  • Get-WUInstallerStatus — check the Windows Installer service status;
  • Get-WUJob – run WUJob update tasks in the Task Scheduler;
  • Get-WULastResults — dates of the last search and installation of updates (LastSearchSuccessDate and LastInstallationSuccessDate);
  • Get-WURebootStatus — allows you to check whether a reboot is needed to apply a specific update;
  • Get-WUServiceManager – list update sources;
  • Get-WUSettings – get Windows Update client settings;
  • Invoke-WUJob – remotely call WUJobs jobs in the Task Scheduler to immediately execute PSWindowsUpdate commands;
  • Remove-WindowsUpdate – allows to uninstall an update by KB ID;
  • Remove-WUServiceManager – disable Windows Update Service Manager;
  • Set-PSWUSettings – save PSWindowsUpdate module settings to the XML file;
  • Set-WUSettings – configure Windows Update client settings;
  • Update-WUModule – update the PSWindowsUpdate module version (you can update the module on a remote computer by copying it from the current one, or updating from PSGallery).
list PSWindowsUpdate module commands

PowerShell: List All Windows Updates Available for a Computer

You can list the updates available for this computer on the update server using the Get-WindowsUpdate or Get-WUList commands.

Get-WUList - view available windows updates

To check the list of available updates on a remote computer, run this command:

Get-WUList –ComputerName contoso-fs2

You can check where your Windows should get updates from. Run the following command:


ServiceID IsManaged IsDefault Name
--------- --------- --------- ----
8b24b027-1dee-babb-9a95-3517dfb9c552 False False DCat Flighting Prod
855e8a7c-ecb4-4ca3-b045-1dfa50104289 False False Windows Store (DCat Prod)
3da21691-e39d-4da6-8a4b-b43877bcb1b7 True True Windows Server Update Service
9482f4b4-e343-43b6-b170-9a65bc822c77 False False Windows Update
Get-WUServiceManager – get update sources

As you can see, the computer is configured to receive updates from the local WSUS server (Windows Server Update Service = True). In this case, you should see a list of updates approved for your computer.

If you want to scan your computer on Microsoft Update servers in the Internet (in addition to Windows updates, these servers contain Office and other Microsoft product updates), run this command:

Get-WUlist -MicrosoftUpdate

You will get this warning:

Get-WUlist : Service Windows Update was not found on computer. Use Get-WUServiceManager to get registered service.

To allow scanning on Microsoft Update, run this command:

Add-WUServiceManager -ServiceID "7971f918-a847-4430-9279-4a52d1efe18d" -AddServiceFlag 7

You can now scan to Microsoft Update. As you can see, in this case, additional updates were found for Microsoft Visual C ++ 2008 and Microsoft Silverlight.

get updates from Microsoft Update for additional microsoft products

To check the version of the Windows Update Agent on the computer, run the command:


ComputerName PSWindowsUpdate PSWUModuleDll ApiVersion WuapiDllVersion
------------ --------------- ------------- ---------- ---------------
DESKTOP-J... 2.0.6995.28496 8.0 10.0.18362.387
Get-WUApiVersion - check windows update client version

To remove certain products or packages from the list of updates received by your computer, you can exclude them by:

  1. Category (-NotCategory);
  2. Title (-NotCategory);
  3. Update number (-NotKBArticleID).

For example, let’s exclude OneDrive, drivers and the specific KB from the list of updates:

Get-WUlist -NotCategory "Drivers" -NotTitle "OneDrive" -NotKBArticleID KB4489873

Install-WindowsUpdate: Installing Windows Updates with PowerShell

To automatically download and install all available updates for your computer, run the command:

Install-WindowsUpdate -MicrosoftUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot

The AcceptAll key accepts installation of all update packages, and AutoReboot allows Windows to automatically restart after the updates are installed.

You can save the update installation history to the log file (you can use it instead of WindowsUpdate.log file).

Install-WindowsUpdate -AcceptAll -Install -AutoReboot | Out-File "c:\logs\$(get-date -f yyyy-MM-dd)-WindowsUpdate.log" -force

You can install only the specific update packages by KB number:

Get-WindowsUpdate -KBArticleID KB2267602, KB4533002 -Install

Get-WindowsUpdate Install updates powershell

In this case, you need to confirm the installation of each update manually.

If you want to exclude some updates from the installation list, run this command:

Install-WindowsUpdate -NotCategory "Drivers" -NotTitle OneDrive -NotKBArticleID KB4011670 -AcceptAll -IgnoreReboot

Install Windows Update on Remote Computers with PowerShell

The PSWindowsUpdate  module allows you to install updates remotely on multiple workstations or servers at once (the PSWindowsUpdate must be installed/imported on these computers). It is very convenient since an administrator doesn’t have to log on manually to all servers when update installation is scheduled.

Almost all PSWindowsUpdate module cmdlets allow you to manage and install updates on remote computers. To do this, use the attribute: -Computername contoso-fs01, contoso-fs02, contoso-fs03

In order to manage updates on remote computers, you need to add host names to your winrm trusted host list:

winrm set winrm/config/client ‘@{TrustedHosts="contoso-fs01,contoso-fs02,…"}’

Install the PSWindowsUpdate module on remote computers and allow to access the process dllhost.exe via dynamic RPC ports in the Windows Defender Firewall.

The following command will install all available updates on three remote servers:

Invoke-WUInstall -ComputerName contoso-fs01, contoso-fs02, contoso-fs03 -Script {ipmo PSWindowsUpdate; Get-WindowsUpdate -Install -AcceptAll -AutoReboot| Out-File C:\Windows\PSWindowsUpdate.log } -Confirm:$false -Verbose -SkipModuleTest –RunNowIn PSWindowsUpdate 2.1, you must use Invoke-WUJob instead of the Invoke-WUInstall cmdlet. This cmdlet creates a scheduler task on a remote computer that is run under SYSTEM.

In newer versions of the PSWindowsUpdate module, use the following command to remotely install updates on multiple computers:

$ServerNames = "contoso-fs01, contoso-fs02, contoso-fs03"
Invoke-WUJob -ComputerName $ServerNames -Script {ipmo PSWindowsUpdate; Install-WindowsUpdate -AcceptAll | Out-File C:\Windows\PSWindowsUpdate.log } -RunNow -Confirm:$false

You can install updates on a remote computer and send an email report to the administrator:

Install-WindowsUpdate -ComputerName contoso-fs01 -MicrosoftUpdate -AcceptAll - IgnoreReboot -SendReport –PSWUSettings @{SmtpServer="relay.contoso.com";From="[email protected]";To="[email protected]";Port=25} -Verbose

Get-WUHistory: Viewing Windows Update History using PowerShell

Using the Get-WUHistory cmdlet, you can get the list of updates installed on a computer earlier automatically or manually.

Get-WUHistory - checking windows update history

You can get the information about the date of installation of a specific update:

Get-WUHistory| Where-Object {$_.Title -match "KB4517389"} | Select-Object *|ft

Get-WUHistory for a specific KB

To find out if the update has been installed on multiple remote computers, you can use this PowerShell code:

"contoso-fs01","contoso-fs02" | Get-WUHistory| Where-Object {$_.Title -match "KB4011634"} | Select-Object *|ft

Remove-WindowsUpdate: Uninstalling Windows Updates

To correctly uninstall the updates from PowerShell, you can use the Remove-WindowsUpdate cmdlet. Just specify the KB number as an argument of the KBArticleID parameter. To delay automatic computer restart, add the –NoRestart key:

Remove-WindowsUpdate -KBArticleID KB4489873 -NoRestart

Hide-WindowsUpdate: How to Hide Windows Updates with PowerShell?

You can hide the specific updates so they will be never installed by Windows Update service on your computer (most often you need to hide the driver updates). For example, to hide the KB4489873 and KB4489243 updates, run these commands:

$HideList = "KB4489873", "KB4489243"
Get-WindowsUpdate -KBArticleID $HideList –Hide

powershell - hide specific KBs in windows update

Now the next time you scan for updates using the Get-WUInstall command, the hidden updates won’t be displayed in the list of updates available for installation.

This is how you can display the list of updates hidden on this computer:

Get-WindowsUpdate –IsHidden

Notice that the H (Hidden) attribute has appeared in the Status column of hidden updates.

Get-WindowsUpdate –IsHidden - find hidden updates

To remove an update from hidden ones, run this command:

Get-WindowsUpdate -KBArticleID $HideList -WithHidden -Hide:$false


Show-WindowsUpdate -KBArticleID $HideList

For those who feel uncomfortable in the PowerShell console, I would recommend a graphic Windows Update MiniTool to manage Windows 10 updates.

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