New in Windows Server Update Services 3.0

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server Update Services

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 provides a number of new features, making WSUS easier to use, deploy, and support. Specifically, WSUS 3.0 provides improvements in the following areas:

  • Ease of use

  • Improved deployment options

  • Better support for complex server hierarchies

  • Better performance and bandwidth optimization

  • Extend WSUS 3.0 using improved APIs

Ease of use

Manage WSUS from the Administration Console

The WSUS 3.0 administration console has moved from a Web-based console to a plug-in to the Microsoft Management Console version 3.0. The new user interface provides the following features:

  • Home pages at each node containing an overview of the tasks associated with the node

  • Advanced filtering

  • New columns allowing you to sort updates according to MSRC number, MSRC severity, KB article, and installation status

  • Column selection, sorting, and reordering

  • Shortcut menus, allowing you to right-click and choose an action

  • Reporting integrated with update views

  • Custom views

Manage WSUS remotely

The WSUS 3.0 administration console can be installed on other computers in the network to manage the WSUS 3.0 server remotely.

Configure post-setup tasks using a wizard

A configuration wizard guides new users through the process of post-setup server configuration.

Generate multiple reports with improved precision

Reports can now be generated directly from the update view. You can report on a subset of updates, such as security updates that are needed by computers but not yet approved for installation. You can create reports on all computers managed by a replica hierarchy, and you can save these reports in Excel or PDF format.

Maintain server health more easily

WSUS 3.0 now logs detailed server health information in the event log. A Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) pack is now available to monitor events generated by the WSUS server.

Get e-mail messages about new updates

The server has built-in support for e-mail notification for new updates and for update compliance summaries.

Remove old information easily

The cleanup wizard allows you to remove old computers, updates, and update files from your server.

Upgrade seamlessly from WSUS 2.0 to WSUS 3.0

WSUS 3.0 can be installed on a server that already has WSUS 2.0 installed. The installation process will perform an in-place upgrade that preserves all the previous settings and approvals. The process of upgrading a server hierarchy should start from the central server and continue down the hierarchy. A WSUS 2.0 server can synchronize from a WSUS 3.0 server, but a WSUS 3.0 server cannot synchronize from a WSUS 2.0 server. Upgrading from WSUS 2.0 to WSUS 3.0 is a one-way process; going back to WSUS 2.0 requires that you first remove WSUS 3.0, then reinstall WSUS 2.0.

Improved deployment options

Obtain updates faster

With WSUS 3.0 you can configure a server to synchronize updates automatically as often as once per hour (compared to once a day with WSUS 2.0). This improvement allows new updates to replicate through your corporation more quickly.

Set more automatic approvals

WSUS 3.0 auto-approval rules allow you to specify different products and update classifications, such as automatic approval for definition updates for Microsoft Word. In addition, WSUS 3.0 supports the creation of multiple auto-approval rules, rather than a single rule. Auto-approval rules will now be applied to all updates that are currently on the WSUS server.

Limit access to read-only reporting

Members of the “WSUS Reporters” security group will have read-only access to the server. Members can generate reports but not approve updates or configure the server.

Better support for complex server hierarchies

Manage multiple servers from a single console

The WSUS 3.0 administration console will allow you to inspect and manage all the WSUS servers in your hierarchy.

Create reports for all computers

You can now create update reports for all the computers managed by a replica hierarchy.

Configure servers in a cluster

WSUS 3.0 servers can now be configured in a cluster for fault tolerance. Such servers must all point to the same SQL Server database instance, which can also be clustered.

Toggle replica mode

You can now move a child server between replica mode and autonomous mode without needing to reinstall WSUS 3.0.

Assign clients to multiple target groups

In WSUS 3.0 a computer can belong to multiple target groups (for example, both a “Desktops” group and a “Test” group). In addition, you can create hierarchical groups (for example, a “Servers” target group with the child groups “Critical Servers” and “Non-Critical Servers”). You can specify approvals for the parent target group that will automatically be inherited by computers in the child groups.

Better performance and bandwidth optimization

Utilize faster performance

WSUS 3.0 registers an approximately 50 percent scalability improvement over WSUS 2.0. In addition, WSUS 3.0 comes with native x64 support to further improve performance and scalability on 64-bit hardware.

Specify languages in branch offices

To save disk space and network load, you can now configure a branch office to download updates in fewer languages than the central server. For example, you can configure the central server to download updates in all languages and a branch office to download updates in English only.

Configure separate content and metadata channels

Branch offices with narrowband connections to the central server but broadband connections to the Internet can now be configured to get metadata from the central server and update content from Microsoft Update.

Extend WSUS 3.0 using improved APIs

Move up to .NET Framework 2.0 Support

The new API is based on .NET Framework 2.0.

Go beyond the WSUS console with APIs for advanced management tools

New APIs have been created for use by advanced management tools (such as System Center Essentials). These features are not exposed in the WSUS administration console.

Add optional installation approvals to administrator options

The new API supports creating approvals for “optional installation,” which tells the Windows Update Agent to make the update available for installation in the Add or Remove Programs dialog box, but not via Automatic Updates.

Collect hardware and software inventories

The new API supports collecting hardware and software inventories from managed devices.

Expand the set of updates with local publishing

The new API supports publishing applications and third-party updates, allowing the WSUS infrastructure to also distribute updates by other companies.


For more information about WSUS features, see Features of Windows Server Update Services, later in this document.