Getting to know Windows 8 – Features on Demand.

The best way to get to know a new operating system is to start using it and expose yourself to all the cool new quirks and also figure out design flaws. I wouldn’t call “Feature on Demand” a flaw – it’s a great way to get the binaries when you need them – but depending on the design of your patch management this could cause problems for end users.

In Windows 8 and in Windows Server 2012, features like “.Net Framework 3.5” is a Feature on Demand. The metadata for Features on Demand are included in Windows 8 and in Windows Server 2012. However, the binaries and other files associated with the feature are not included. When you enable the feature, Windows tries to contact Windows Update to download the missing information to install the feature.

This works great if you connect directly to Windows Update – but if you are using Windows Intune, SCCM or WSUS you run in to problems and you won’t be able to download and install your desired feature(s).

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There are three ways you could handle this:

  1. Set at Path of a shared folder.
  2. Set a Path of a WIM file.
  3. Select the Contact Windows Update directly to download repair content instead of Windows ServerUpdate Services (WSUS) check box.

In my opinion method 3 is the way to go for our company.

  1. Start the Local Group Policy Editor or Group Policy Management Console.
  2. Expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, and then select System.
  3. Open the Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair Group Policy setting, and then select Enabled.
  4. Specify your Option.
  5. Run gpupdate /force on affected computer(s).

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Read the full KB here.

Best regards,

Jakob Knutsson

Posted in Blog, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2.