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I'm posting this as a BIG CAVEAT to everyone. I know it's not a standard Q&A, but I think this is something every Windows admin should know. There is a very real risk of falling into Big Troubles.

Microsoft has recently released Windows Management Framework 3.0 for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 systems, which includes some nice things native to Windows Server 2012 (like PowerShell 3.0) and lots of improvements to WMI, WinRM and other management technologies.

Windows Update is advertising it as an optional update.

Should I install it on my servers?


Update: Microsoft has removed the update from Windows Update after major compatibility issues with various products (including the ones being discussed here) have been reported by multiple users.

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5 Answers

up vote 28 down vote accepted

Short answer: NO, unless you really need it and you really know what you are doing.

WMF 3.0 is known to be not compatible at all with Exchange Server (both 2007 and 2010), at least until further updates are released for these products; also, although this is not yet officially documented, it has been found to wreak havoc on SharePoint 2010, and to break Small Business Server 2008/2011.

I've also personally experienced it completely and utterly destroying System Center Configuration Manager 2012, and breaking both the setup and the Configuration Manager for SQL Server 2008 R2, which, after its installation, started failing with loud complaints about the WMI service not being available (although it was actually running fine).

Last but not least, once WMF 3.0 is installed, it can become very hard to remove it, because its uninstaller has quite a real chance of failing, leaving your servers in an inconsistent state which usually requires a full O.S. reinstall to get them up and running again.

Be very, very, very careful with this update.


Update: apart from known compatibility issues with various programs, it looks like installing WMF 3.0 can (sometimes? often? always?) completely destroy WMI. Well, this sure explains why nothing seems to work anymore after installing it...

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No, I just got bit by this over the weekend in the middle of Exchange 2010 updates.

Using the tips at this blog, I uninstalled the package in order to bring my Exchange environment back online.

It seems fairly clear that this isn't really an applicable update to most environments.

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I've installed it on dozens of servers and never had a problem with it. But none of them had Exchange, Sharepoint, SBS or SCCM.

Mostly IIS and SQL only. I use a lot of PowerShell and love Version 3. I don't think there is a way to get PowerShell 3 without Windows Management Framework 3.0.

So I guess it depends what else is on your servers.

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There is an official support statement for this:

Supported Operating System Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2

IMPORTANT: Windows Management Framework 3.0 is not currently compatible with the following applications:

  • System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. For more information, see KB 2796086.

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager. For more information, see KB 2795043

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. For more information, see Windows Management Framework 3.0 on Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010.

  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010. For more information, see Windows PowerShell 3.0 and SharePoint 2010.

  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Small Business Server 2011. For more information, see Windows Management Framework 3.0 applicability on Windows Small Business Server 2008/2011 Standard.

This statement is right on the download page under the System Requirements section here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34595


In short, yes install it everywhere except where it's not supported if you'll benefit from it.

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No. Basic principles ... if you don't absolutely need it ... don't install it. WMF is a prereq of some installs, e.g.: PowerShell 2/3 remoting. Less installs, less ports open, smaller attack surface and less stuff to patch.

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But that principle does conflict with the unfortunately-too-common practice of installing everything that MS throws into AU and WSUS. –  mfinni Dec 17 '12 at 21:32
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