Specifying Where to Store Updates

Applies To: Windows Server Update Services

You can specify whether to store update files on your local WSUS server or on Microsoft Update. If you choose to store the updates locally, you can limit the updates downloaded to your server by language. If you choose to store the update files on Microsoft Update, then your WSUS server obtains only update information (metadata) for the criteria you have specified on the Synchronization Options page. In this scenario, the update files come directly from Microsoft Update and are downloaded at the time of installation on the client computers receiving updates. You will need to make sure your client computers have direct access to Microsoft Update in this scenario.

Local Storage Considerations

If you decide to store update files on your server, the recommended minimum disk size is 30 GB. However, depending on the synchronization options you specify, you might need to use a larger disk. For example, when specifying advanced synchronization options, as in the following procedure, if you select options to download multiple languages and/or the option to download express installation files, your server disk can easily reach 30 GB. Therefore if you choose any of these options, install a larger disk (for example, 100 GB).

If your disk gets full, you can install a new, larger disk and then move the update files to the new location. To do this, after you create the new disk drive, you will need to run the WSUSutil.exe tool (with the movecontent command) to move the update files to the new disk. For this procedure, see Managing WSUS from the Command Line.

About Express Installation Files

Express installation files download in a package that is usually multiple times larger than a regular update package. The express installation file package contains the different versions of the update that will apply to specific client computer configurations. If you select this option, the package containing all multiple versions of update files is downloaded to your WSUS server. However, when your client computers connect to the server, they will download only the update files they need, which are the files that are compliant for the specific computer. You might have selected the express installation file option if you are less concerned with external bandwidth than internal bandwidth usage.

Besides bandwidth, another consideration when choosing to download express installation files, as mentioned earlier, is disk space. If you choose to download express installation files, they will take more disk space. Therefore, use a larger disk (more than 30 GB) if you select this option.

The option to download and store express installation files is in covered in step 3 in the following procedure.

To specify where to store downloaded update files

  1. On the WSUS console toolbar, click Options, and then click Synchronization Options.

  2. Under Update Files and Languages, click Advanced.

  3. Under Update Files, select whether to store update files on the server running Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or on Microsoft Update. If you choose to store update files on your server, you can choose either to download update files only when they are approved, or to download express installation files.

  4. If you selected to store the files on the WSUS server, under Languages, select whether you want to limit the updates downloaded to your WSUS server by language, and then click OK. Note that if you select to download all languages (which is selected by default) that this will take more disk space. If possible, consider limiting the languages you download if you are also choosing to store update files on your WSUS server.

  5. In Tasks, click Save settings, and then click OK.


If your WSUS server is running in replica mode, you will not be able to perform this task. For more information about replica mode, see Running in Replica Mode.

Changing the Location where You Store Update Files Locally

You might need to change the location where WSUS stores updates locally. This might be required if the disk becomes full and there is no longer any room for new updates. You might also have to do this if the disk where updates are stored fails and the replacement disk uses a new drive letter.

You accomplish this move with the movecontent command of WSUSutil.exe, a command-line tool that is copied to the file system of the WSUS server during WSUS Setup. By default, Setup copies WSUSutil.exe to the following location:

WSUSInstallationDrive:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Server Update Services\Tools\

You must be a member of the local Administrators group on the WSUS server to use the movecontent command of WSUSutil.exe. These operations can only be run from the WSUS server itself, which must be a 32-bit platform.

You must create the new path for local WSUS update storage prior to using WSUSutil.exe. The movecontent command takes an optional -skipcopy parameter. The -skipcopy parameter enables you to change the location of local WSUS update storage without copying any files. For more information about WSUSutil.exe, see Deploying Microsoft Windows Server Update Services.

To change the location of local WSUS update storage

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.

  2. In the Open box, type cmd, and then click OK.

  3. At the command prompt, navigate to the directory that contains WSUSutil.exe.

  4. Type the following, and then press ENTER:

    wsusutil.exe movecontent contentpath logfile [-skipcopy]

    For example, type:

    wsusutil.exe movecontent D:\WSUS1\ D:\move.log

    where D:\WSUS1 is the new path for local WSUS update storage, and D:\move.log is the path to the log file.


If you do not want to use WSUSutil.exe to change the location of local WSUS update storage, you can also use NTFS functionality to add a partition to the current location of local WSUS update storage. For more information about NTFS, go to Help and Support Center in Windows Server 2003.