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PowerShell: get WindowsUpdate information

Posted by jpluimers on 2019/07/11

A while back, I needed to check Windows Update information on a few hosts, so I wanted to script it. Below are a few links that helped me solve this started.

Note: For Windows Update, you need the TiWorker.exe process, which can consume a lot of CPU. See DISM fix for Windows 8.1 high CPU usage of TiWorker.exe which is basically the same for all Windows versions since 8.0.

The infrastructure management on that site was ehm, a bit lacking, so PowerShell modules were out, heck even PowerShell itself was initially problematic (it needed running of unsigned sources.

A few notes on the above links.

Using Microsoft.Update.AutoUpdate

This gets the last date that anything was done (query, actual update, download) on Windows Updates, but does not guarantee the installation date; on some systems it does not even return a result:

$windowsUpdateObject = New-Object -ComObject Microsoft.Update.AutoUpdate

This one works better though:

$windowsUpdateObject = New-Object -ComObject Microsoft.Update.AutoUpdate

Based on that, you can get the number of days like this:

(New-TimeSpan -Start $windowsUpdateObject.Results.LastInstallationSuccessDate.Date -End (Get-Date)).Days

Using Get-HotFix

Though some people report that InstalledOn can be empty, I’ve hardly that happen with Get-HotFix. The easiest way to get around that is filtering with | Where-Object InstalledOn -ne $null

The cool thing with Get-HotFix is that you can filter on the kind of security update, so this gets the moment the last security update got installed:

(Get-HotFix -Description "Security Update" | Where-Object InstalledOn -ne $null | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending | Select-Object -First 1).InstalledOn

And this the number of days since the last security update got installed:

(New-TimeSpan -Start (Get-HotFix -Description "Security Update" | Where-Object InstalledOn -ne $null | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending | Select-Object -First 1).InstalledOn -End (Get-Date)).Days

Step by step:

Get-HotFix -Description "Security Update"

Gets all the security updates.

| Where-Object InstalledOn -ne $null

Filter out entries having an empty InstalledOn.

Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending

Get the most recent on the top.

| Select-Object -First 1

Select only the top entry.

(Get-HotFix -Description "Security Update"...).InstalledOn

Get only the InstalledOn property.


Get the current timestamp consisting of date and time.

New-TimeSpan -Start (...).InstalledOn -End (Get-Date)

Get a TimeSpan over a start and end timestamp.

(New-TimeSpan ...).Days

Get the Days property of a TimeSpan.

You can do the same for regular updates by changing the -Description parameter:

(Get-HotFix -Description "Update" | Where-Object InstalledOn -ne $null | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending | Select-Object -First 1).InstalledOn
(New-TimeSpan -Start (Get-HotFix -Description "Update" | Where-Object InstalledOn -ne $null | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending | Select-Object -First 1).InstalledOn -End (Get-Date)).Days

The Description values I found are these:

PS C:\Users\Developer> Get-HotFix | Sort-Object -Unique Description | Select-Object Description

Security Update

Ironically, since the command is called Get-HotFix, the Hotfix entries on my various Windows systems have been a  long long time ago:

(New-TimeSpan -Start (Get-HotFix -Description "Hotfix" | Where-Object InstalledOn -ne $null | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending | Select-Object -First 1).InstalledOn -End (Get-Date)).Days

When writing this in 2017, on Windows 8.1, this was more than 600 days, Windows 7 more than 400 days and Windows 10 did not have any Hotfix entries.

Old PowerShell versions

On PowerShell 2 and older, you get an error containing “Where-Object : Cannot bind parameter ‘FilterScript'”:

Where-Object : Cannot bind parameter 'FilterScript'. Cannot convert the "InstalledOn" value of type "System.String" to type "System.Management.Automation.ScriptBlock".
At line:1 char:48
+ (New-TimeSpan -Start (Get-HotFix | Where-Object <<<< InstalledOn -ne $null | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending | Select-Object -First 1).InstalledOn -End (Get-Date)).Days
+ CategoryInfo : InvalidArgument: (:) [Where-Object], ParameterBindingException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : CannotConvertArgumentNoMessage,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.WhereObjectCommand

You solve it like this:

(New-TimeSpan -Start (Get-HotFix | Where-Object { $_.InstalledOn -ne $null } | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending | Select-Object -First 1).InstalledOn -End (Get-Date)).Days

By now code has become almost unreadable, so you can split it using backtick ` characters:

( `
New-TimeSpan -Start `
  ( `
    Get-HotFix | Where-Object { $_.InstalledOn -ne $null } `
    | Sort-Object InstalledOn -Descending `
    | Select-Object -First 1 `
  ).InstalledOn `
  -End (Get-Date)`

One more thing

On non-English Windows systems, the InstalledOn might actually be in the future, as you can view this happening by this simple command which I ran on 2017-11-02 :

Get-HotFix | Out-GridView

You solve it by adding a filter:

Get-HotFix | Where-Object InstalledOn -lt (Get-Date) | Out-GridView

If you run them from a script (like a batch file Get-HotFix ^| Out-GridView or ps1 file Get-HotFix | Out-GridView), then the grid-view will pop-up and immediately close because the PowerShell process ends. In that case, you need to change your scripts to add the -Wait parameter:

PowerShell Get-HotFix ^| Out-GridView -Wait

Powershell.exe -Command "Get-HotFix | Out-GridView -Wait"

Get-HotFix | Out-GridView -Wait


In C#

If I ever want to do the same from C#, I need to figure out where to get the WUApiLib from; more on that library is at [WayBack] Use C# to interact with Windows Update – Stack Overflow and [WayBack] Searching, Downloading, and Installing Updates (Windows).


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