Are you considering deploying Automated Windows Updates in your OWA 2013 environment? In most cases, you should be vetting updates and planning any deployments to a production environment (or any environment for that matter). However, further consider the following in determining your patching policies on OWA 2013 servers.

Microsoft has specific instructions regarding the application of Office Web App server updates. These are highlighted in a Microsoft TechNet article. A highly important note of that article is, “As part of the update process, you’ll have to re-create the Office Web Apps Server farm.” That means if a Windows Update comes through for OWA 2013 and is automatically applied, you are at risk of OWA 2013 not working without further intervention.

As OWA 2013 has received some updates this month, we can take an example of KB2760445. This particular update does require you to re-create the farm.  Those who choose not to re-create are given a flood of watchdog errors and high processor usage from the watchdog applications. If you are seeing errors from the various watchdog programs like these below and have run any updates for OWA 2013 (like KB2760445), you will want to re-create the Office Web Apps Server farm.

Faulting application name: Microsoft.Office.Excel.Server.EcsWatchdog.exe, version: 15.0.4481.1000
Faulting application name: UlsControllerWatchdog.exe, version: 15.0.4481.1000
Faulting application name: Microsoft.Office.Web.WebOneNoteWatchdog.exe, version: 15.0.4481.1000
(Many others will appear as Application Error or .NET Runtime sourced errors…)

Recreating the farm can be easy, depending on your configuration. The TechNet article gives the most basic example, so keep that in mind if you run a more customized implementation. I have provided the basic example below for your viewing pleasure.

New-OfficeWebAppsFarm –InternalURL “http://Contoso-WAC” –AllowHttp -EditingEnabled

Happy Patching!



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