Software updates that use one of these Setup programs support several command-line switches that administrators can use to deploy the updates.
To determine whether a software update uses Hotfix.exe or Update.exe as the Setup program for packages released after July 2004, examine the Installer Engine value on the Version tab of the Properties dialog box for the software update package. For packages released before July 2004, you must extract the package contents to check which installer is used.
Microsoft packages software updates using several different self-extracting file formats that automatically run a Setup program that is contained inside the package. This article describes the command-line switches that you can use with software update packages that use Hotfix.exe or Update.exe as the Setup program. This is referred to in the rest of this article as "Windows software update packages."
For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
To determine whether a software update package uses Update.exe as the Setup program, and to determine what version it uses, follow these steps:
- Right-click the package, and then click Properties.
- On the Version tab, under Other Version Information, click Installer Engine. Update.exe should appear in the Value field.
- To determine the version, click Installer Version. The the version of the installer that is used in the package appears in the Value field.
For packages released before July 2004, or those packages whose Description value on the General tab is Self-Extracting Cabinet, follow these steps to determine whether Update.exe or Hotfix.exe is used, and to determine what version is used:
- Extract the software update package to a unique temporary folder. For example, to extract the files for an update package that is named KBArticleNumber.exe to a folder that is named ExtractedPackage on drive C, type the following at a command prompt: KBArticleNumber /X:C:\ExtractedPackage
- Open the temporary folder that contains the extracted files for the software update package. For example, open C:\ExtractedPackage.
- Locate the Update.exe or Hotfix.exe file in the temporary folder or a subfolder.
- To determine the version of Update.exe or Hotfix.exe, right-click that file and then click Properties.
- Click the Version tab, and then note the value on the File version line.
Note If the package description is Win32 Cabinet Self-Extractor, the software update package is an IExpress package. For additional information, click the following article number about IExpress packages to view the article about IExpress packages in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
If the package uses the .msi or .msp file name extension, the software update package uses Windows Installer as the Setup program. For additional information about command-line options that Windows Installer uses, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Update.exe is used as the Setup program for software updates that are included in Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 and later versions and that are included in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
Note Some software update packages for the versions of Windows that are listed in the "Applies to" section use IExpress or Windows Installer packages. These packages do not use Hotfix.exe or Update.exe as the Setup program.
Overview of the installation process
When you run a Windows software update package without command-line switches, the Hotfix.exe or Update.exe Setup program is automatically run to install the software update. The following actions are performed by the Setup program:
- The installation program (Hotfix.exe or Update.exe) examines the service pack version you currently are using. If your service pack version is earlier than the software update version, but not earlier than the minimum version specified by the software update, and the language is the same, the Setup program automatically installs the software update. If your service pack version is later than the software update version, the installation does not continue.
- If the software update language version does not match your operating system language, the installation does not continue.
- If no version conflict exists, Hotfix.exe or Update.exe installs the software update.
- The installation program registers the software update under one of the following registry keys: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\Updates\<operating system>\<service pack level>\KB<nnnnnn>HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Hotfix\Q<nnnnnn>HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Hotfix\KB<nnnnnn>
- Removal information for the software update is stored in a hidden folder named $NtUninstallQnnnnnn$ or $NtUninstallKBnnnnnn$ in %Systemroot%.
Command-line switches for the Update.exe programThe following tables list the command-line switches that are supported by each different version of the Update.exe program.
|Standard switch||Description of the switch||Versions of Update.exe that support this switch|
|/help||Displays command-line help.||Version 188.8.131.52 and later versions support the /help switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /? switch can be used.|
|/passive||Unattended Setup mode. No user interaction is required, but installation status is displayed. If a restart is required at the end of Setup, a dialog box will be presented to the user with a timer warning that the computer will restart in 30 seconds.||Version 184.108.40.206 and later versions support the /passive switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /u switch can be used.|
|/quiet||Quiet mode - same as unattended mode, but no status or error messages are displayed.||Version 220.127.116.11 and later versions support the /quiet switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /q switch can be used.|
|/norestart||Do not restart the computer when the installation is finished.||Version 18.104.22.168 and later versions support the /norestart switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /z switch can be used.|
|/warnrestart||Presents a dialog box with a timer warning the user that the computer will restart in x seconds. (Default is 30 sec). Intended for use with either /quiet or /passive switches.||Version 22.214.171.124 and later versions support the /warnrestart switch.|
|/forcerestart||Restart the computer after installation and force other applications to close at shutdown without saving open files first.||Version 126.96.36.199 and later versions support the /forcerestart switch.|
|/promptrestart||Presents a dialog box to prompt user to restart if required. Intended for use with /quiet.||Version 188.8.131.52 and later versions support the /promptrestart switch.|
|/forceappsclose||Forces other programs to close when the computer shuts down.||Version 184.108.40.206 and later versions support the /forceappsclose switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /f switch can be used.|
|/nobackup||Do not back up files for uninstall.||Version 220.127.116.11 and later versions support the /nobackup switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /n switch can be used.|
|/overwriteoem||Overwrite OEM files without prompting.||Version 18.104.22.168 and later versions support the /overwriteoem switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /o switch can be used.|
|/integrate:path||Integrates the software updates into the Windows installation source files located at the path specified. Note that :path refers to the folder that contains the i386 folder.||Version 22.214.171.124 and later versions support the /integrate:path switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /s switch can be used.|
|/log:path||Allows user to specify where to create the log file.||Version 126.96.36.199 and later versions support the /log switch.|
|/ER||Enable extended error reporting.||All versions support the ER switch.|
|/verbose||Enable verbose logging. Creates %Windir%\CabBuild.log upon install that details files to be copied. Using this switch may cause the installation to occur much slower.||Version 188.8.131.52 and later versions support the /verbose switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /v switch can be used.|
|/d:path||Specifies a backup directory for Windows Service Pack installation. :path indicates the destination folder for the backup files. The default backup location is %Systemdrive%\$ntservicepackuninstall$.||This switch is not available for updates other than Service Packs and is available only in Installer versions 184.108.40.206 and later versions.|
|/extract[:path]||Extracts files without starting Setup. If ":path" is not included, you are prompted for the path of a destination folder to extract the files. If ":path" is used, the files are extracted to the specified destination folder.||Version 220.127.116.11 and later versions support the /extract switch. For compatibility with older versions, the /x switch can be used.|
|/hotpatch:disable||Disables hotpatching functionality, and installs the cold patch only.||This is only to be used for Windows Server 2003 packages that support hotpatching and is available in versions 18.104.22.168 and later. For more information on hotpatching, see the "References" section in this article for a link to the "Inside Update.exe" whitepaper.|
- We are adopting a consistent set of command-line switches that you can use to deploy packages that contain software updates. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824687 Command-line switches for Microsoft software update packagesFor backward compatibility, Windows software updates that implement the new standard switch names also support the setup switches that are used by the earlier version of the Update.exe. However, we recommend that you stop using the old switches because this support may be removed in future software updates.
- All the switch options that are listed use a forward slash (/). For compatibility with older versions, a hyphen (-) can still be used instead of the forward slash (/).
- To safely remove a software update, remove the one most recently installed first. For example, assume that hotfix A and hotfix B both replace the same file or registry keys, and that you installed hotfix A before you installed hotfix B. To return your system to the state before the installation of hotfix A, you must uninstall hotfix B before you uninstall hotfix A. For more information about how to remove Update.exe updates, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
823836 Removing Windows software updates in the wrong order may cause the operating system to stop functioning
Command-line switches for the Hotfix.exe programThe following table lists the command-line switches that are supported by the Hotfix.exe program.
|/f||Force other programs to quit at shutdown|
|/l||List installed software updates|
|/n||Do not back up files for uninstallation|
|/q||Quiet mode - no user interaction required|
|/y||Perform uninstallation (must be used with /m or /q)|
|/z||Do not restart the computer after the installation|
For more information about how to install and remove software updates that use Hotfix.exe, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Article ID: 262841 - Last Review: Jun 15, 2017 - Revision: 2