Managing the Computer Groups

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server Update Services

WSUS allows you to target updates to groups of client computers, so you can ensure that specific computers always get the right updates at the most convenient times. For example, if all the computers in one department (such as the Accounting team) have a specific configuration, you can set up a group for that team, decide which updates their computers need and what time they should be installed, and then use WSUS reports to evaluate the updates for the team.

Computers are always assigned to the All Computers group, and remain assigned to the Unassigned Computers group until you assign them to another group. Computers can belong to more than one group.

Computer groups can be set up in hierarchies (for example, the Payroll group and the Accounts Payable group below the Accounting group). Updates that are approved for a higher group will automatically be deployed to lower groups, as well as to the higher group itself. Thus, if you approve Update1 for the Accounting group, the update will be deployed to all the computers in the Accounting group, all the computers in the Payroll group, and all the computers in the Accounts Payable group.

Because computers can be assigned to multiple groups, it is possible for a single update to be approved more than once for the same computer. However, the update will be deployed only once, and any conflicts will be resolved by the WSUS server. To continue with the example above, if ComputerA is assigned to both the Payroll and the Accounts Payable groups, and Update1 is approved for both groups, it will be deployed only once.

You can assign computers to computer groups by using one of two methods, server-side targeting or client-side targeting. With server-side targeting, you manually move one or more client computers to one computer group at a time. With client-side targeting, you use Group Policy or edit the registry settings on client computers to enable those computers to automatically add themselves into the previously created computer groups. This process can be scripted and deployed to many computers at once. You must specify the targeting method you will use on the WSUS server by selecting one of the two options on the Computers section of the Options page.


If a WSUS server is running in replica mode, computer groups cannot be created on that server. All the computer groups needed for clients of the replica server must be created on the WSUS server that is the root of the WSUS server hierarchy. For more information about replica mode, see Running WSUS 3.0 in Replica Mode.

For more information about server-side and client-side targeting, see Deploying Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (