Chris123NT's Blog

Where I rant and rave about all things tech

Windows Update in Audit mode on Windows 8.1

Perhaps the easiest way to create a pre staged image of Windows that includes all current updates plus any applications that you may want installed is to use audit mode and the sysprep tool to re-seal the image after you have made your changes.

In this post I won’t be talking about how to use audit mode, this post assumes that you already know how to do all of that to manage your staging.  This post will however talk about a bit of an “issue” that has cropped up with Audit mode in windows 8.1.  The problem is that you cannot actually use Windows Update in Audit mode since WU is now locked out when the OS has not completed OOBE.  Supposedly the reason for this is to avoid the machine rebooting for updates during the OOBE experience, which neither myself nor anyone I have discussed this issue with have ever seen happen.  For the curious here is the WindowsUpdate.log entry you will see if you try to use WU in audit mode (and realize that it’s stuck on checking for updates):

Windows OOBE is still in progress.  AU deferring detection.

#WARNING: Failed to find updates with error code 8024a008

OOBE is in progress, so cannot perform Accelerated Install.

Anyway enough babbling and let’s get down to it.

Since WU is not usable in Audit Mode, there is another way to get updates from the internet to update your Windows image for deployment.  For starters you need to download the following Powershell Module:


After you have downloaded the module, do the following:

1.)  Copy the whole module folder (after unzipping) to %WINDIR%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules

2.) Start up PowerShell ISE as admin from admin tools

3.) Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

4.) Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate

5.) Get-WUInstall

6.) The rest should be automated with some prompts

**NOTE: Sometimes setting the execution policy to RemoteSigned doesn’t work, so in those cases temporarily set it to unrestricted, and then set it back after you have used the script to install all windows updates.


Anyway I hope this helps some of you who have probably been pulling your hair out over this, hopefully Microsoft will resolve this in the future and not just leave us with some BS excuse as to why this functionality was removed in Windows 8.1.

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  • Matt

    We recently encountered this error message on computers that we were imaging.. the solution was to check each of our programs that were being installed in the task sequence. It turns out that K-Lite codec pack and media player was terminating with a non-standard return code and therefore even though Windows setup would finish and the PC would be completely usable, errors indicated it was still stuck in audit mode.

    We removed each program one by one until we could do updates. We replaced K-LIte with VLC and now every single one of our computers updates as they should without requiring any powershell commands.

    • postedhere

      The blog post is talking about updating Windows while *in* Audit Mode, not after the image has been generalized.

      I have verified that even with a completely clean Windows 8.1 image, if you are in Audit Mode, you cannot update apply updates using the standard Windows Update functionality. Something manual, like the mentioned PowerShell script, is required to get and install Windows updates.

      • Matt

        You’re right.. however there are folks having issues where Windows seems to get stuck in audit mode during OSD and then of course those folks can’t do updates. That’s originally what brought me here, and it may bring others here as well. On the off chance it would help someone in the future, I decided to share what we found and what worked for us seeing as the search terms are very close and folks may wind up on this blog posting for other reasons than the intended article.

  • fov001

    You are a life saver!!! !

  • postedhere

    Thanks for this.

    Any ideas why Microsoft did this? This seems like a huge oversight.

    I love how they not only introduced this awful idea, but they went the extra step to give you no visual cue of what the issue even is. When I tried to perform an update, at least, it never even “finds” any updates. Instead, it forever searches for updates, never finding them nor ever giving up. That’s awful functionality.

  • Erroneus

    Brilliant. Thanks for the tip, it means I’m going earlier on weekend today 😉

  • ColJamesBapworth

    Concise, very clear and easy to follow instructions. Thanks! Didn’t know about this until I was attempting to make a new system image and was wondering why Windows just wouldn’t update.

  • Travis J.

    Thank you for providing this information! I rebuilt my imaging system three times thinking I had done something to break Windows Update… Thank you Microsoft for wasting our time!

  • bigboy

    there is no………..

    4.) Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate

    5.) Get-WUInstall

  • lyng

    Nice script, but how can we update other Microsoft software other than Windows like Office etc., as in “Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows” in Windows Update settings?

    • Rafi

      make sure to run office once to activate microsoft updates

      • Cormang

        If you run office, remember to rearm Office before sysprep. I’ve never had to run Office to active Updates for Office apps.

        Office 2013 Rearm example:
        “C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft

  • Damian Bailey


    This is absolutely beautiful. Great fix for this issue.

  • Pat The Frog

    All the steps worked fine and the updates installed… except that when I restarted the PC (still in Audit mode), I got a purple screen: We couldn’t complete the updates
    Undoing changes
    Don’t turn off your computer
    Any idea how to have the updates stay?

    • Pat The Frog

      I solved the issue by not installed ALL of the 135 updates I had in the list: I went by packs of 20 at once. And it worked…
      Conclusion: don’t wait too much before installing the Windows updates!

  • Spork Schivago


    I’m having trouble. I used the powershell module and fully updated a Windows 8.1 OEM installation. However, after booting into the WindowsPE environment and capturing the image, I replace the install.esd in the sources directory on my Windows 8.1 installation thumb drive media. Because I have UEFI BIOS machines a lot of times, I use FAT32 for the filesystem and need to split the image I captured. The thumb drive contained install.esd, but I captured an install.swm and split it using dism to install.swm and install2.swm. When I put them in the sources directory and try installing 8.1 OEM edition, for some reason, the product key is no longer accepted. Setup used to pull it directly from the BIOS. Even if I manually enter the product key, it’s still rejected. I feel that perhaps I’m capturing the image wrong. Do you know what I’m doing wrong and how I can fix it? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Spork Schivago

      I think I might have figured it out. Someone over at Tom’s Hardware said I should be using MDT and not dism / imagex at all. I should have Windows 2012 or 2013 Server setup and running and capture the images through a task sequence. It’s all new to me so it might take a bit to figure it out. Perhaps you could share how you capture your images as well. I’d like to know what the various options are and how other people do it. Thanks!

February 2014
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