Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

How Update Services works

Update Services uses Windows Server Update Services 3.0 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) (WSUS) as the core infrastructure for managing updates. When you install Windows SBS 2008, a process of synchronization begins that is repeated every day. Each time the synchronization runs, it follows the same general steps.

To better understand the steps for Update Services synchronization, consider the following example:

  • 10:00 A.M. Microsoft Update releases a new update.

  • 10:00 P.M. WSUS running on Windows SBS 2008 contacts the servers for Microsoft Update and begins downloading information about the available updates (metadata).


The first time that Update Services performs the synchronization, the download of the metadata can take several hours, depending upon the network connection speed.

  • 11:00 P.M. Automatic Updates on your network computers run detection against Update Services on the computer that is running Windows SBS 2008 to see if any required updates are available.


Update Services configures network computers so that they run the detection hourly.

If network computers detect any required updates listed in the metadata, WSUS downloads the updates to the server that is running Windows SBS 2008.  
  • Depending on the setting in the Schedule tab of the Software Update Settings dialog, computers either wait for user intervention to finish installing the updates, or they install the updates at the scheduled time, as in the following table:

    Schedule setting Result

    Install updates, and then restart according to this schedule.

    • Updates are installed, and then the computer restarts at the time you set. This is the default setting for the Client Computers group.

    • If the computer is powered off at the scheduled update time, the computer attempts to install the update and then restart when it is next powered on.

    Download updates, and notify the user that updates are ready to be installed.

    • Requires user intervention to complete the installation. This is the default setting for the Server Computers group.

    • Installation is completed by the Windows Update client software that is running on the computer.

  • Network computers install the required updates and then report their status back to Update Services.

The green check

A green check icon appears when the synchronization finishes, the WSUS health assessment returns without error, and all client computers that are registered with WSUS finish installing all of the required updates. Update Services is then reported as functioning as expected. This status is also reported on the Windows SBS Console Home page, in the Network Essentials Summary, and in the Summary Network Report and Detailed Network Report on the Reports tab.