WSUS Server Cleanup Wizard Hangs on "Deleting unused updates..."

While cleaning off my Desktop this morning, I came across a file that I created back in December capturing my notes from a problem I was having with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). Evidently I intended to blog about the issue, but apparently this task kept getting pushed to the back burner. Before moving on to more fun things today, I thought I should get this off my to-do list.

Back in December, I noticed that my local WSUS server showed that I had 24,890 updates downloaded and available for install. I remember thinking something to the effect of: "Wow, that's a lot of updates!"

Looking at my C:\WSUS folder (where the updates are downloaded), I found that it contained the following:

  • 51.4 GB of content
  • 6,509 files in 258 folders

I then ran the WSUS Server Cleanup Wizard as I had attempted (unsuccessfully) on several occasions in the past, selecting all of the options:

  • Unused updates and update revisions
  • Computers not contacting the server
  • Unneeded update files
  • Expired updates
  • Superseded updates

As with my previous attempts, the cleanup appeared to hang on the following step:

Deleting unused updates...

I decided that I should try to show a little more patience than I had in the past and consequently let it run for over 24 hours (thinking it might eventually finish). You can imagine my frustration when I came back the next morning only to find that it was still “"Deleting unused updates..."”

I then tried running the WsusDBMaintenance SQL script -- hoping that might somehow help the situation. Unfortunately, when I ran the Server Cleanup Wizard again, I got the same result (i.e. it hung on the “"Deleting unused updates..."” step).

I then ran the Server Cleanup Wizard once again, but this time only selecting the first option (Unused updates and update revisions). While it was still very, very slow on the “"Deleting unused updates..."” step, I was able to verify (via the progress bar) that it was in fact progressing. I let it run to completion and observed the following results when it was finished:

Unused updates deleted 3082
Unused update revisions deleted: 5448

I then ran the Server Cleanup Wizard again, but this time only selecting the third option (Unneeded update files). When that was finished, I observed the following:

Disk space freed by deleting unused content files: 15441 MB

I confirmed this by rescanning my C:\WSUS folder:

  • 36.3 GB of content
  • 4,285 files in 258 folders

Since December, I have been able to run the Server Cleanup Wizard repeatedly with all of the options selected, and it usually completes in a matter of minutes. For some reason, it was only that first time through that I needed to run the steps individually to avoid the hang. Go figure.