Another second Tuesday of the month, another set of updates, on my Windows Server 2012 Core I get:

 List of applicable items on the machine:
 1> Update for Windows Server 2012 (KB2769165)
 21> Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 10 for Windows Server 2012
 26> Security Update for Windows Server 2012 (KB2778344)

 Select an option:
 (A)ll updates, (N)o updates or (S)elect a single update?

As you see there is one update for IE10 which my machine does not have, so much for 'applicable'.

I could now select the other 25 updates one by one which would be a pain, so I go for All.

When done, the installed hotfixes include one for KB2792100, the IE patch.

Okay that one was a recommended update, not a critical one, but still why does it download 14MB and installs it, shouldn't it figure out that this is a Server Core installation which does not have Internet Explorer?

Or does it actually patches the IE files that are somewhere in WinSxS just in case I may change into GUI mode some time in the future?

One marketing argument by Microsoft for Server Core is that it requires less patching, is that actually true?

  • Can server core be a terminal server? – SpacemanSpiff Feb 14 '13 at 16:48
  • @SpacemanSpiff - so it can serve up CMD sessions... ? I'm pretty certain the answer is "No" :-) – mfinni Feb 14 '13 at 17:32
  • Its the only thing I could come up with that might still require IE – SpacemanSpiff Feb 14 '13 at 18:52
  • And yet... Server Core 2012 is listed under "Non-Affected Software" technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms13-009 – user161592 Feb 24 '13 at 15:02
  • If you install the minimum Server Core and never install another component, that may be true. – EKW Jan 16 '16 at 22:35

In many cases IE is fairly well integrated into the OS for other functions beside simple web browsing. For instance, if you open the Internet Control Panel in a full GUI version of Windows it is essentially the IE control panel. IE is never really "gone". I would imagine that in core the same is still applicable and the updates may actually be fixing common components of IE that also affect your OS.

  • All the bits in Windows that are relying on Internet Explorer components are not available in Server Core. That was the whole point of it (at least one big point). – Peter Hahndorf Feb 24 '13 at 19:20
  • I understand that the actual browser is not available within the OS, however, IE uses shared components with the OS which handles things like proxy servers, etc. My point here is that most likely these components still exist in core, and most likely are patched and updated as a "IE" patches. – Brent Pabst Feb 25 '13 at 13:51
  • he is just guessing, server core 2012 is so mixed up and half baked. Can't trust its updates. The list will often have updates that dont apply to core they will downright fail if you try to install them. best to do them manually as the update service for core 2012 is not to be trusted. – user279154 Jul 26 '15 at 19:53
  • That's not "guessing." There are common components which are typically only provided through IE updates. In this case, two of those are urlmon.dll and wininet.dll. – EKW Jan 16 '16 at 22:30

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