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I am tasked with updating a SQL Server 2012 from a version(11.0.5623.0) before SP3 all the way to SP3 CU2. Can I install both patches without a reboot until afterwards? All the documents I have found on Google indicate that a reboot is only needed if a file is locked.

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You should only require a server reboot if something is locked, correct.

However, during the patching, the SQL service will be stopped, patched then restarted so you'll actually be bouncing the service itself twice. Once for the SP, then again for the CU.

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    Id like to add that after you have done the SP3 and CU2 updates if you have an outage window give the server a reboot for good measure. Nothing worse than a few months later going to apply CU3 or SP4 and it fails the reboot check and you need to reboot before patching. – Lawrage May 19 '16 at 0:36
  • I agree with Lawrage. Good idea to give the OS a kick at the earliest convenience for the exact reason he gave. – Kris Gruttemeyer May 19 '16 at 12:59

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