Windows Server 2012 Windows Update taking ages

Update: 23rd May 2019:

This old chestnut has raised its head again with the May 2019 updates.
If Windows Updates are taking and age.
  1.  Stop the Windows Update Service
  2. Download the correct Flash Player update from 
  3. Install
  4. Check for updates
  5. Relax ;-)

Original post:

There's a known issue at the moment with server patching when you have the Desktop Experience feature installed (which means Lync/Skype for Business FE's).

Running check now results in the never ending progress bar:

and looking in the WindowsUpdate.log file we never see any progress.

Speaking to Microsoft support this is due to a bug in Adobe Flash and its interaction with the WU client. If you look at your processor usage you can see that the Windows Update process is running, it's just that you are getting no feedback.

On one server I started this process running on 23rd April and it finally finished with patches available on the 6th May:

So if you have the time to wait then this does work (no need to try to kick it by deleting stuff, re-registering DLL's, or performing any of the voodoo that you can find suggested in the TechNet forums!).

If you don't have this time then the advice I had from Microsoft was:
  1. Install MS17-005: Security update for Adobe Flash Player: February 21, 2017 (Use the Microsoft Update Catalog) :-
  2. Install MS17-023: Security update for Adobe Flash Player: March 14, 2017 (Use the Microsoft Update Catalog) :-
  3. Check for updates (should be back to normal speed).
If that doesn't work then:

Remove the Desktop experience feature and then check for updates. To remove do the following:

  1. Open Server Manager on the machine.
  2. Click on Manage>> Remove Roles and Features.
  3. We have to then be on the features tab and then under "User Interfaces and Infrastructure" uncheck "Desktop Experience" and the click next and finish

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