‘Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on computer’ During Exchange CU Update

While attempting to update to the latest CU for Exchange 2016 (on a Windows 2016 server), the process failed several times with an error (‘Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on computer’) and I could not understand why.  I still don’t understand why, but I did find a workaround that I felt important to share.

During the CU upgrade, all of the services are set to ‘disabled’ but for one reason or another the services do not get reset to their original start up value.  Attempts to manually reset to Automatic were much too cumbersome to monitor and update considering there are over 30 services for Exchange 2016 alone.

If you are getting the ‘Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on computer’ error during the CU upgrade, use the following looping script to monitor and reset the Exchange services from ‘Disabled’ to ‘Automatic’.


While (1 -le 2) { Sleep 1 ; Get-Service | Where { $_.DisplayName -Like ‘Microsoft Exchange*’ } | Set-Service –StartupType ‘Automatic’ }


When the CU completes, press CTRL+C to end the looping script and then restart the server to complete the upgrade.



13 thoughts on “‘Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on computer’ During Exchange CU Update

  1. Pingback: List of Exchange Server 2013 Services Installed | ODDYTEE

  2. I had this same behavior in the past on exchange 2013 when installing Exchange Security Updates (no CU) via SCCM. Download from Microsoft and install manually works fine.

  3. It didn’t help me.
    Same error:

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 22 Unattended Setup

    Copying Files…
    File copy complete. Setup will now collect additional information needed for
    Mailbox role: Transport service
    Client Access role: Front End Transport service
    Mailbox role: Client Access service
    Mailbox role: Unified Messaging service
    Mailbox role: Mailbox service
    Management tools
    Client Access role: Client Access Front End service

    Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check

    Configuring Prerequisites COMPLETED
    Prerequisite Analysis COMPLETED

    Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server

    Restoring Services COMPLETED
    Mailbox role: Transport service FAILED
    The following error was generated when “$error.Clear();
    if (get-service MSExchangeServiceHost* | where {$_.name -eq “MSExchangeS
    restart-service MSExchangeServiceHost
    ” was run: “Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.ServiceCommandException: Servi
    ce ‘Microsoft Exchange Service Host (MSExchangeServiceHost)’ cannot be started d
    ue to the following error: Cannot start service MSExchangeServiceHost on compute
    r ‘.’. —> System.InvalidOperationException: Cannot start service MSExchangeSer
    viceHost on computer ‘.’. —> System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The depende
    ncy service or group failed to start
    — End of inner exception stack trace —
    at System.ServiceProcess.ServiceController.Start(String[] args)
    at Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.ServiceOperationBaseCommand.DoStartService(S
    erviceController serviceController)
    — End of inner exception stack trace —“.

    The Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete. More details can be found
    in ExchangeSetup.log located in the :\ExchangeSetupLogs folder.

  4. Brilliant fix, thank you! This issue still exists in Exchange 2016 CU19. I don’t really understand why the services keep restarting and changing status during the installation, but I think it has something to do with their state prior to the start of the upgrade. In my case, most of the services I don’t need are disabled, so setup keeps setting them back to disabled as the upgrade processes. I’m looking at “Finalizing Setup” right now thanks to this tip, so thank you!

  5. yes the services go back to the state they were in before the upgrade so if the services are disabled to changes them from disabled to disabled and then fails. great script daved my bacon .

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