Overview of Windows Server Update Services

Applies To: Windows Server Update Services

By using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), you can fully manage the process of getting software updates that are released through Microsoft Update, and then distribute them to servers and client computers in your network.

How WSUS works

WSUS provides a management infrastructure consisting of the following:

  • Microsoft Update: the Microsoft Web site that WSUS components connect to for updates to Microsoft products.

  • Windows Server Update Services server: the server component that is installed on a computer running a Microsoft Windows 2000 Server with Service Pack 4 (SP4) or a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system inside the corporate firewall. WSUS server software enables administrators to manage and distribute updates through a Web-based tool, which can be accessed from Internet Explorer on any computer running a Windows operating system in the corporate network. In addition, a WSUS server can be the update source for other WSUS servers. In a WSUS implementation, at least one WSUS server in the network must connect to Microsoft Update to get available updates. The administrator can determine, based on network security and configuration, how many other servers connect directly to Microsoft Update.

  • Automatic Updates: the client computer component built into Windows 2000 with SP3, Microsoft 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 WSUS.