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Tonight our server decided to install SQL Server 2014 CU7 for SP1. The update appears in the Windows Update history and I found downtime in our logs for it. The previous patch level was CU3.

I was surprised by this because I am not used to Windows or SQL Server automatically installing CU's. I also never witnessed a service pack being installed automatically. What has changed?

According to sqlserverbuilds.blogspot.de the CU7 was released today. It was installed right away after release.

I am not categorically against this but I would like to understand what policies are driving the automatic update choices.

Strangely, tonight was not a "patch Tuesday". No other updates were processed. The server did not reboot, either. I'm certain this was not a manual action.

So far my plan was to keep the server at the CU3 level and upgrade to 2016 eventually. The new CU being installed caused unnecessary downtime and introduced risk which I normally was not willing to take. In particular I do not wish to install patches at a random time.

So what's the automatic update policy and should I do something about that?

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    I had this happen on my laptop today for the first time as well - I would not have expected a CU to be delivered this way, but now I know.... – Mister Magoo Jul 20 '16 at 22:46
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You might be using Windows or Microsoft update on the server and that is set to Install updates automatically (recommended).

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) enables administrators to manage the distribution of updates and hot-fixes released for Microsoft products to computers in a corporate environment.

You should change the setting to either

  • Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them

    or

  • Never check for updates --> This means that you own and are responsible for checking any updates, downloading them , testing and installing them on the box.

A good read - Stop Automatically Updating Production Servers

  • Is it new that SQL Server receives patches this way? It never happened before. – boot4life Jul 20 '16 at 14:08
  • Not necessarily new, I would guess that something changed in WSUS or sysadmin team did something else inadvertently. I would check immediately with sysadmins, WSUS has logs that they can check to see what the heck happened and when. – Jason B. Jul 20 '16 at 14:31
  • I am the only admin and I administer everything. Indeed, updates are set to automatic (as intended). No WSUS in use. This never happened before. – boot4life Jul 20 '16 at 14:38
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Back in March 2016, Microsoft had a blog announcing updates to the SQL Server Incremental Servicing Model (ISM) and one of the things they have there says:

We are also evaluating offering the latest CU as an Optional update on Microsoft Update, just like Service Packs today

I agree with some of the other comments though that perhaps your servers are set to auto update and this is how it could have occurred. Based on how your server is configured and combined with the changes to how CUs are installed, it could have auto updated.

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