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DISM Does Updates, Too!

Later last Friday (12/4), MS fired off KB3122947, labeled “Update for Windows 10 Version 1511 for x64-based Systems.” At first, I thought nothing of it, after getting it installed on a handful of PCs. But when I tried to update my Surface Pro 3, I encountered a repeated failure condition with error code 0x80070643. When I went looking for the manual update file to download and install by hand, I couldn’t find one (still can’t, in fact) but I did find something even more interesting. It turns out that the Deployment Image Servicing and Management command, aka DISM, also includes an add-package switch that lets admins target updates and install them directly and immediately. Here’s the fix, as it applied to this update file:

kb-fix

Turns out that if you know where to look for failed update install files, you can turn DISM loose on that task.

As the foregoing screen capture goes, the general syntax looks like this:

dism /online /add-package
/packagepath:%windir%\SoftwareDistribution
\Download\<dir-spec>\<pkg-spec>

The trick, of course is in finding the package file, which is relatively easy to do because it includes the KB article designator — KB3122947 in this case — as part of the filename. I used my search tool of choice (Search Everything) but you can simply use the built-in Windows Search facility through File Explorer if you prefer. Other than making sure to get the packagepath syntax (and content) correct, the process couldn’t be simpler. And because WU generally leaves the files it downloads in the SoftwareDistribution folder hierarchy even if installation fails, there’s no need to download a manual installer for balky updates ever again.

Sweet! I’m starting to think of DISM as something of a “Swiss Army Knife” of Windows maintenance and upkeep. Sooner or later, I’m going to have to pull all of the individual bits and pieces I’ve been documenting here in the blog into a more comprehensive reference. I just wish MS offered something more than a man-page type of reference for this increasingly excellent tool.

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Good posting and some valid questions....I unfortunately missed the session last week but heard it was a great session. I think its important when discussing "User installed applications" and "providing administrator rights" not to assume they are always linked..in some use cases they obviously are...but for many, the reason why a user has been given admin rights is nothing to do with the requirement of them installing their own applications...the required elevation of IT managed applications and windows components is a common reason that a user has been given admin rights in the first place..(changing IP settings, adding hardware, running poorly coded apps)..obviously there are solutions in the desktop management/user virtualization space that can provide that functionality today separately to providing User installed applications...Simon Townsend@AppSense
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Interesting so few hands came up on use cases for User installed applications. Yet with the response that users have admin rights, I guess UIA can be occurring behind the back of IT.

I think for true mobile users on laptops UIA has a very real requirement. Mobile users should be allowed to install/update applications in an environment where they might not often be connected the corporate network.
The UIA technologies allow IT to support this model at last. I like particularly the layered approach where IT manage a corporate base image and the User their layer on top.

I even think UIA could have a place for the home PC environment. I'm sure every techie hates the day their parents buy a new laptop and you have to try and migrate their apps and data across.
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