Microsoft is providing more and more optional features for Windows 10 online instead of delivering them with the installation media. But not all of the features are available in Windows Server Update Services (WSUS); hence the installation of Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) 1809 on WSUS clients will fail. That's why we must enable access to Windows Update via group policies to make the installation possible.

Wolfgang Sommergut

Wolfgang Sommergut has over 20 years of experience in IT journalism. He has also worked as a system administrator and as a tech consultant. Today he runs the German publication WindowsPro.de.

There have always been numerous additional components for Windows that the operating system setup has not installed, but which you had to add later using the Control Panel. These might include Internet Information Services (IIS), Hyper-V, or a telnet client.

Traditional installation of optional features via the Control Panel

Traditional installation of optional features via the Control Panel

Optional features that are not preinstalled ^

In Windows 10, if you use the Settings app instead of the Control Panel for this task, you will find a list with several modules under Apps & features > Manage optional features. They are already on board, and you can immediately add them (see this overview of optional features).

You get a list from the internet by clicking on Add a feature

You get a list from the internet by clicking on Add a feature

If the desired feature does not appear here, click on Add a feature. This action will usually start the search for optional features on Windows Update. However, if the client obtains its updates from WSUS, Windows 10 will request the software from the internal update server.

RSAT is not in the optional features of WSUS ^

To make the optional features available in WSUS, the administrator must select Windows 10 Feature on Demand and also ensure updates are enabled under Classifications.

Subscribing to optional features in WSUS

Subscribing to optional features in WSUS

Setting up a view for Feature on Demand in the WSUS console will fill it with countless language packs, even though there is a dedicated product for them in WSUS. In addition, the .NET Framework, DirectX, and various fonts will be available as well.

RSAT is missing from the Feature on Demand view in WSUS

RSAT is missing from the Feature on Demand view in WSUS

If you search for the RSAT here, it will be in vain; starting with Windows 10 1809, you must obtain these as optional features via the internet. For unknown reasons, Microsoft does not provide them via WSUS.

Due to this reason, the installation of the RSAT as an optional feature will usually fail if PCs obtain their updates from WSUS.

The installation of RSAT via PowerShell fails when a PC requests RSAT from WSUS

The installation of RSAT via PowerShell fails when a PC requests RSAT from WSUS

If you want to install RSAT via the Settings app, the operation will abort after some time without further notice. PowerShell, on the other hand, ends the operation with a useless error message (see also my instructions for installing RSAT).

Allowing access to Windows Update via Group Policy ^

Since Windows 10 cannot obtain the RSAT via WSUS, it must be able to contact Windows Update in addition to the internal update server. You can do this using "Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair" in Group Policy under Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > System.

Allowing WSUS clients to access Windows Update using Group Policy

Allowing WSUS clients to access Windows Update using Group Policy

In addition to enabling the policy, select the checkbox Download repair content and optional features directly from Windows Update instead of WSUS. After updating the Group Policy Objects (GPOs) with gpupdate, the installation of RSAT should work.

A successful installation of RSAT after running gpupdate

A successful installation of RSAT after running gpupdate

Checking another setting for troubleshooting ^

Should Windows 10 still not be able to download optional features over the internet, you should check whether the Group Policy "Do not connect to Windows Update Internet addresses" is enabled. Find this under Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.

GPO setting that prohibits the update agent from connecting to external servers

GPO setting that prohibits the update agent from connecting to external servers

It would of course also prevent the download of optional features. Usually you would not have used this option without a good reason. One of them might be that you want to block Store apps from updating themselves by directly connecting to the Microsoft Store and bypassing WSUS.

Installation from ISO ^

If you don't want resolve this problem via group policies, and it's only about installing the RSAT on some admin PCs, you still have the option to install them offline.

To do this, download Part 1 of the ISO images with the optional features from the Volume Licensing Service Center. These ISOs are also available to MSDN subscribers.

Content of the ISO with the optional features for Windows 10

Content of the ISO with the optional features for Windows 10

For example, to install the DHCP console from there, enter this command:

You must adjust the value for the parameter Source so it matches the drive on which you have mounted the ISO.

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3 Comments
  1. Chad-bisd 4 months ago

    Thanks, this solved my issues with failing installation of RSAT on build 17763 (1809)

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  2. Mike 2 months ago

    "Get-WindowsCapability" does not support the parameter "-Source"

     

    Get-WindowsCapability : A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name 'source'.
    At line:1 char:31
    + Get-WindowsCapability -online -source C:\
    +                               ~~~~~~~
        + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (:) [Get-WindowsCapability], ParameterBindingException
        + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NamedParameterNotFound,Microsoft.Dism.Commands.GetWindowsCapabilityCommand

    0

  3. Nater 1 day ago

    This worked.  I followed the instructions to get it working via GPO.  But for "Checking another setting for troubleshooting" there is a second GPO setting I had to disable.  Computer Configuration - Policies - Administration Templates - System - Internet Communication Management - Internet Communication Settings . . . and then make sure "Turn off access to all Windows Update features" is set to Not Configured.  This also will block it from installing.  Thanks!

    0

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