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I have a SharePoint 2013 farm where OS patches were not applied for a long time and now we want to close this gap. Just to clarify - we will not install any SP/Office patch, it will be mostly security patches for OS, IE and .NET.

We have an option to stop the farm for the time patches will be applied. And we need to ensure that no content and configuration will be changed during the patch. This way in case something goes really wrong we could simply restore server VMs from snapshot without having to do a full farm restore.

I've been told by our OS support that the servers will be restarted multiple times. So stopping services like SPTimer and IIS will not be enough since it will restart again. I was thinking to change startup setting for services to Disabled. When the patching will be completed we will start IIS and check if sites are up and running. Then we change the startup settings back to original values and restart the servers once again.

The list of services I'm planning to temporarily disable:

  • SharePoint Administration
  • SharePoint Timer Service
  • SharePoint Tracing Service
  • SharePoint Search Host Controller
  • World Wide Web Publishing Service

So my primary question is it OK to change SharePoint service startup settings?

And I would welcome any general suggestions on this plan...

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You can change the startup options, but I'd ask "why?". There's no technical reason that you would need to start or stop services before, during, or after OS level patching.

  • Thanks, Trevor. The reason is I want to ensure the farm is shutdown both for users and for internal processes and nothing gets written to SQL DBs. This way I feel safe to restore servers from snapshots in case OS patching will fail. – arax28 Dec 7 '17 at 20:29
  • Never use snapshots, just discard the VM and build a new one :-) Given you don't lose all SharePoint servers in the farm, this is the proper approach to take. Otherwise, you'll want to disable the services you outlined along with FIM and AppFab. – Trevor Seward Dec 7 '17 at 20:30
  • Unfortunately, building new VM is very complex process here, so I would prefer to avoid this if possible. And we are going to patch all servers at once, so there is a remote possibility of losing all of them. AppFab will be disabled with Stop-SPServiceInstance for DC service. FIM I don't want to stop, hopefully it will be fine since timer service will be stopped and no UPSS timer job will run. – arax28 Dec 7 '17 at 20:55
  • And if we change approach and patch only half of the servers first , this will make farm running on servers with different patch level. And since we expect the patching to take a long time and we can do it only during limited weekend maintenance period, it might happen that we will not patch all servers in one weekend and the situation with different patch level will persist for a week. I'm afraid it might cause additional problems... – arax28 Dec 7 '17 at 21:10
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    It's unlikely to cause any significant issues; you can in fact run different operating systems within the same farm for a limited period of time. – Trevor Seward Dec 7 '17 at 22:35

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