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Windows Server Update Services Product Overview

Published: June 6, 2005

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) enables information technology administrators to deploy the latest Microsoft product updates to Microsoft Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP operating systems. By using Windows Server Update Services, you can fully manage the distribution of updates that are released through Microsoft Update to computers in your network.

Note: This page includes a summary of the product overview. You can also read the full product overview

On This Page
How Windows Server Update Services WorksHow Windows Server Update Services Works
What's New in Windows Server Update ServicesWhat's New in Windows Server Update Services
Windows Server Update Services FeaturesWindows Server Update Services Features

How Windows Server Update Services Works

Windows Server Update Services is a patch and update component of Windows Server and offers an effective and quick way to help keep systems up to date. Windows Server Update Services provides a management infrastructure consisting of the following:

Microsoft Update: The Microsoft Web site that Windows Server Update Services components connect to for updates to Microsoft products.

Windows Server Update Services server: The server component that is installed on a computer running a Windows 2000 Server with Service Pack 4 (SP4) or Windows Server 2003 operating system inside the corporate firewall. Windows Server Update Services server provides the features that administrators need to manage and distribute updates through a Web-based tool, which can be accessed from Internet Explorer on any Windows computer in the corporate network. In addition, a Windows Server Update Services server can be the update source for other Windows Server Update Services servers.

Automatic Updates: The client computer component built into Windows 2000 with SP3, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 operating systems. Automatic Updates enables both server and client computers to receive updates from Microsoft Update or from a server running Windows Server Update Services.

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What's New in Windows Server Update Services

Update Services is the next version of Software Update Services (SUS). It builds on the features of SUS by providing the following:

  • More updates for Microsoft products, in more categories.
  • Ability to automatically download updates from Microsoft Update by product and type.
  • More language support for customers worldwide.
  • Maximized bandwidth efficiency through Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 2.0. (BITS 2.0 is not installed by Update Services and is available on Microsoft Update.)
  • Ability to target updates to specific computers and computer groups.
  • Ability to verify that updates are suitable for each computer before installation—a feature that runs automatically for critical and security updates.
  • Flexible deployment options.
  • Reporting capabilities.
  • Flexible database options.
  • Data migration and import/export capabilities.
  • Extensibility through the application programming interface (API).

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Windows Server Update Services Features

Server-Side FeaturesClient-Side Features
  • Updates for Windows, Office, Exchange Server, and SQL Server, with additional product support over time
  • Specific updates can be set to download automatically
  • Automated actions for updates determined by administrator approval
  • Ability to determine the applicability of updates before installing them
  • Targeting
  • Replica synchronization
  • Reporting
  • Extensibility
  • Powerful and extensible management of the Automatic Updates service
  • Self-updating for client computers
  • Automatic detection of applicable updates


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