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Windows Small Business Server 2011 : Configuring WSUS Using the Windows SBS Console

8/30/2013 9:35:24 AM

Windows SBS 2011 provides a functional WSUS installation by default, but there are many possible reasons why administrators might want to modify those default settings. The following sections examine the various WSUS configuration settings that you can change using the Windows SBS Console, as well as the reasons why you might want to change them.

Moving the Update Repository

The Windows SBS 2011 setup program configures WSUS to store the updates that it downloads from the Internet on the computer’s C drive. This is largely because C is usually the only drive available during a new server installation. However, you might want to move the update repository to another drive later. To move the WSUS data store, click Backup and Server storage in the Windows SBS Console, then choose the Server storage tab. Finally, under the Storage tasks list, select the Move Windows Update repository data task, as shown in Figure 1.

The Backup And Server Storage page of the Windows SBS Console.

Figure 1. The Backup And Server Storage page of the Windows SBS Console.

As with the other data stores on the server running Windows SBS 2011, you can move the WSUS data to any available volume on the computer (see Figure 2). Because the updates are readily available on the Internet, there is usually no need to store them on a fault tolerant volume—that would be a needless expense. The most common reason for moving the WSUS data store is to free up disk space on the C drive.

The Choose A New Location For The Data page.

Figure 2. The Choose A New Location For The Data page.

Configuring Software Update Settings

The Windows SBS Console enables you to modify the default settings for some of the most basic WSUS and Windows Update parameters. To configure these settings, use the following procedure:

  1. Log on to your Windows SBS 2011 server, using an account with network Administrator privileges. The Windows SBS Console appears.

  2. Click Security, and then select the Updates tab.

  3. In the Tasks list, click Change the software update settings. The Software Update Settings dialog box appears.

  4. Select one of the following tabs and use the controls to configure the following settings located there:

    • Server updates Specifies, by classification, which updates WSUS should automatically approve for servers. The default Medium setting omits service packs.

      image with no caption
    • Client updates Specifies, by classification, which updates WSUS should approve automatically for clients. The default High setting includes all high-priority updates and service packs.

      image with no caption
    • Schedule Specifies whether servers and clients should install updates automatically and, if so, how often and at what time the installations should occur.

      image with no caption
    • Included computers Specifies which of the computers on the network should obtain their updates from the WSUS server.

      image with no caption
  5. Click OK. The Software Update Settings dialog box closes.

Specifying Update Levels

The Server Updates And Client Updates pages in the Software Update Settings dialog box specify which types of updates WSUS should approve automatically for your servers and client workstations, respectively. In the default configuration, the only difference between the server and client settings is the inclusion of service packs for the clients.

Service packs are major updates, and many administrators do not like to install them as soon as they are released, preferring instead to wait to see if problems arise. The installation of a service pack requires a system restart and can also be a lengthy process, so you must be sure that the installation occurs at an appropriate time of day.

If you prefer to wait before installing service packs on your clients, you can change the Client updates setting to Medium. This enables you to gauge the industry response to the service pack release and possibly install it manually in a test laboratory environment before deploying it on the whole network.

Scheduling Update Installations

The installation of the updates on your network computers is controlled by the Windows Update client, not WSUS. Therefore, the Schedule tab of the Software Update Settings dialog box actually modifies the Group Policy settings that configure the Windows Update client.

Here again, servers and clients have their own separate settings. The default setting for clients is to install new updates automatically every day at 3 A.M. Depending on your organization’s work schedule, you might want to change the time of the installation or even limit it to one day a week instead of every day. Microsoft typically releases new updates once per month, so you might feel that a daily schedule is not necessary. However, Microsoft does sometimes release updates that are particularly critical between the usual monthly cycles.

Another element to consider with client updates is whether your users are accustomed to shutting their computers down at the end of each workday. Obviously, an update installation cannot occur when a computer is turned off. If a scheduled installation does not occur, because the computer is shut down or for any other reason, the Windows Update client triggers the installation one minute after the computer’s next startup. If this causes problems, you can change this behavior, but only by modifying the GPOs directly.

For servers, the default setting enables the computers to download new updates from the WSUS server, but the computers do not install them automatically. This enables administrators to exercise greater control over which updates the servers receive, and when.

Excluding Computers

The Included Computers page of the Software Update Settings dialog box enables you to specify which of the computers on your network you want to receive updates from WSUS. By default, all your computers are included, but if you want to change the default, you can select a computer and click Remove to disable its Windows Update client entirely.

You can also select a computer and click Modify to display the Change The Members Of An Update Group dialog box, as shown in Figure 3. This dialog box enables you to put a client workstation in the Update services server computers group to prevent it from automatically installing updates, or to put a server in the Update services client computers group to enable automatic update installations.

The Change The Members Of An Update Group dialog box.

Figure 3. The Change The Members Of An Update Group dialog box.

Synchronizing WSUS

WSUS synchronizes with the Microsoft Update servers on the Internet once every day, but you can trigger a manual synchronization using the Windows SBS Console at any time by clicking Synchronize now in the Tasks list on the Security/Updates page.

Approving Updates

WSUS automatically approves the most important updates by default, but the Security/Updates page also contains a list of optional updates. WSUS does not approve these updates automatically. If you want to deploy them on your network, you must approve them manually, using the following procedure:

  1. Log on to your Windows SBS 2011 server using an account with network Administrator privileges. The Windows SBS Console appears.

  2. Click Security, and then select the Updates tab.

  3. Select one of the entries in the Optional updates list and, in the Tasks list, click Deploy the update. A Software Updates message box appears, prompting you to confirm your action.

    image with no caption
  4. Click OK. Another Software Updates message box appears, informing you that the update is approved.

  5. Click OK. The update moves from the Optional updates list to the Updates in progress list.

Tip

You can also remove an entry from the Optional updates list and delete it permanently from the update repository by selecting it and clicking Decline the update.

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