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Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) enables information technology administrators to deploy the latest Microsoft product updates. You can use WSUS to fully manage the distribution of updates that are released through Microsoft Update to computers on your network. This topic provides an overview of this server role and more information about how to deploy and maintain WSUS.

History of WSUS

          The first version of Wsus was known as Software Update Services (SUS).At first, it only delivered hot-fixes and patches for Microsoft operating systems. SUS ran on a Windows Server operating system and downloaded updates for the specified versions of Windows from the remote Windows Update site which was operated by Microsoft. Clients could then download updates from this internal server, rather than connecting directly to Windows Update. Support for SUS by Microsoft was originally planned to end on December 6, 2006, but based on user feedback, the date was extended to July 10, 2007.

Operation

          Windows Server Update Services 2.0 and above comprise a repository of update packages from Microsoft. 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 which updates each machine requires. System administrators can also configure WSUS to approve certain classes of updates automatically (critical updates, security updates, service packs, drivers, etc.). One can also approve updates for "detection" only, allowing an administrator to see which machines will require a given update without also installing that update. Administrators can use WSUS with 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.

WSUS Server role description

A WSUS server provides features that you can use to manage and distribute updates through a management console. A WSUS server can also be the update source for other WSUS servers within the organization. The WSUS server that acts as an update source is called an upstream server. In a WSUS implementation, at least one WSUS server on your network must be able to connect to Microsoft Update to get available update information. As an administrator, you can determine - based on network security and configuration - how many other WSUS servers connect directly to Microsoft Update.
Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a free add-on application offered by Microsoft that can download and manage updates and patches for Windows Server operating systems. It is the successor of the previous Software Update Services (SUS) program. It helps in the constant updating of the wide range of operating systems and related applications provided by Microsoft. It enables the IT administrators of small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) to effectively manage the distribution of updates released to the computers in their network. WSUS is a software application provided by Microsoft to enable administrators to manage the distribution of updates and patches for the Microsoft software products to the computers in their network. WSUS analyses the current system and determines the required updates and helps users to manage the downloads in a corporate environment.
Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Practical applications

Update management is the process of controlling the deployment and maintenance of interim software releases into production environments. It helps you maintain operational efficiency, overcome security vulnerabilities, and maintain the stability of your production environment. If your organization cannot determine and maintain a known level of trust within its operating systems and application software, it might have a number of security vulnerabilities that, if exploited, could lead to a loss of revenue and intellectual property. Minimizing this threat requires you to have properly configured systems, use the latest software, and install the recommended software updates.

The core scenarios where WSUS adds value to your business are: 1. Centralized update management. 2. Update management automation

Windows Server Update Services is a built-in server role that includes the following enhancements: 1. can be added and removed by using the Server Manager. 2. Includes Windows Power-Shell cmdlets to manage the most important administrative tasks in WSUS. 3. Ads SHA256 hash capability for additional security. 4. Provides client and server separation: versions of the Windows Update Agent (WUA) can ship independently of WSUS.
Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)

Using Windows Power-Shell to manage WSUS

For system administrators to automate their operations, they need coverage through command-line automation. The main goal is to facilitate WSUS administration by allowing system administrators to automate their day-to-day operations.

What works differently?

In earlier versions of the Windows Server operating system, there were no Windows Power-Shell cmdlets, and update management automation was challenging. The Windows Power-Shell cmdlets for WSUS operations add flexibility and agility for the system administrator.

What value does this change add?

By exposing core WSUS operations through Windows Power-Shell, system administrators can increase productivity, reduce the learning curve for new tools, and reduce errors due to failed expectations resulting from a lack of consistency across similar operations.

More on Installing Windows Updates 

The Windows Update service is not the only way to install Windows updates. As mentioned above, updates to Windows can also be downloaded individually from Microsoft Download Center and then installed manually.


Another option is to use a free software updater program. Those tools are usually built specifically for updating non-Microsoft programs but some include a feature for downloading Windows updates.

Most of the time, Windows updates are installed automatically on Patch Tuesday, but only if Windows is configured that way. See How to Change Windows Update Settings for more on this and how to change how updates are downloaded and installed.



How to Check for and Install Windows Updates 


Windows updates are most easily installed using the Windows Update service. While you could certainly download updates manually from Microsoft's servers, updating via Windows Update is considerably easier to do.
The Windows Update service has changed over the years as Microsoft released new versions of Windows. While Windows updates used to be installed by visiting the Windows Update website, newer versions of Windows include a special built-in Windows Update feature with more options.

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