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Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) provides a software update service for Microsoft Windows operating systems and other Microsoft software. WSUS is a locally managed system that works with the public Microsoft Update website to give system administrators more control. By using Windows Server Update Services, administrators can manage the distribution of Microsoft hotfixes and updates released through Automatic Updates to computers in a corporate environment.



WSUS originated as Software Update Services (SUS), which delivered only operating system hotfixes and patches. WSUS builds on SUS by expanding the range of software it can update. The WSUS infrastructure allows automatic downloads of hotfixes, updates, service packs, device drivers and feature packs to clients in an organization from a central server(s), instead of using the public Microsoft Windows Update website. This saves bandwidth, time and disk space, as the individual computers in a network do not have to connect to an external server themselves, but connect to a local central server. It also increases administrators' control and allows clients to obtain updates in environments that do not have internet access.


WSUS can display precise information about which updates each client needs

Windows Server Update Services 2.0 comprises, collectively, a repository of update-packages from Microsoft, an instance of MSDE, a service that takes retrieved updates from upstream servers, and an IIS virtual site. As with many of Microsoft's newer server products, administration of WSUS takes place via a web interface. It allows administrators to approve or decline updates before release, to force updates to install by a given date and to obtain extensive reports on what updates each machine requires. System administrators can also configure WSUS to approve certain classes of updates automatically (critical updates, security updates, service-packs, device-drivers). One can also approve updates for "detection" only, allowing an administrator to see what machines will require a given update, without also installing that update.

Administrators can use WSUS with Active Directory Group Policy for client-side configuration of the Automatic Updates client, ensuring that end-users can't disable or circumvent corporate update policies. WSUS does not require the use of Active Directory; client configuration can also be applied by local group policy or by modifying the Windows registry.

Version 2.0 SP1 added support for Windows Vista and some other products. In version 3.0, a Microsoft Management Console "snap-in" can be used for administration of the server. Version 3.0 and later use the Windows Internal Database for data management.

Microsoft has made WSUS available on their web site as a free download. Microsoft also plans on including WSUS with Windows Server 2008, as an out-of-band component.

Customers are not able to use WSUS on their own as an external update system albeit since it is now part of the OS, this seems like an unlikely legal precedent.

Version history

  • March 22, 2005 - 2.0 Release Candidate
  • June 6, 2005 - 2.0 Release (build 2340)
  • May 31, 2006 - 2.0 Service Pack 1 (adds support for Windows Vista clients, additional client languages, and using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 as a database backend, as well as performance improvements with the web-based user interface)
  • August 14, 2006 - 3.0 beta 2 (MMC based UI and loads of new features.)
  • February 12, 2007 - 3.0 Release Candidate (build 3.0.6000.318)
  • April 30, 2007 - 3.0 Release
  • November 1, 2007 - 3.0 Service Pack 1 RC
  • February 7, 2008 - WSUS 3.0 Service Pack 1 RTM.[1]
  • August 25, 2009 - WSUS 3.0 Service Pack 2 RTW

Supported software

As of October 2009, Windows Software Update Services supports updating the following Microsoft operating systems and software:


  1. ^ WSUS Product Team Blog : WSUS 3.0 SP1 is now RTM!!!

External links



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