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We have a System Center Essentials (SCE) server to filter updates to our laptops. We've configured it to download the update, and then the laptops get the update from this server; this of course reduces our internet bandwidth and the time it takes for employees to receive the updates, which reduces the complaints we get about how long updates take.

However we currently have a total of 2,255 updates stored on the server. SCE gives a breakdown:

Updates with installation errors: 29
Updates needed by computers: 280
Updates installed/up-to-date: 0
Updates with no status: 1946

Our little server has 68gb of hard disk space, and the updates are currently taking 32gb and counting.

Some of the updates date back to 2003, but we can't figure out a way to delete them to free up space on the server. Right-clicking an update and clicking Uninstall threatens to remove the update from all computers, which is not what we want. Some of the updates even inform us upon viewing:

This update has been replaced by a newer update. Before declining this update, it is recommended that you approve the new update first and verify that this update is no longer needed by any computers.

How do you prevent your SCE server from filling its hard drive space? Is there a way to configure the server to only keep updates that are still needed?

Furthermore, why (in the above breakdown of updates) are there so many updates with "no status" and 0 updates that are "installed/up-to-date"?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You have to give SCE sufficient space for those updates, or reduce the number product classifications and products that you update with it.

SCE basically runs a WSUS server under the hood to manage updates. I think you should be able to find a WSUS administration console on the server under Administrative tools, and from there there is an options menu item for 'cleanup' which will remove superseded updates and soforth. It's not a magic bullet, though, and you probably won't recover as much space as you're hoping. WSUS has no way of knowing if an update is no longer needed, unless it's been superseded by another update... what happens down the line if you connect a completely unpatched XP laptop to the network that hasn't been updated since XP was released? WSUS doesn't know that you're not going to do that, so holds all the updates it could possibly be called upon to serve, just in case.

Our WSUS server currently contains about 60Gb of patches and counting. This is just the nature of the beast and I don't see a good way of avoiding storing all that patch data, it's kinda inherent to the process. One thing you should do is ensure the patch data is stored on a non-boot drive (ie off the C drive) so if the patches fill the drive, the server does not halt.

For the other question:

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I found the WSUS options in the Administrative Tools on the SCE server and it freed up 3GB of space. I will either have to run that quite often, move this server to the VMWare server to get more space or purchase an additional HDD for this server. Thanks! – Ricket Apr 5 '10 at 16:05
No probs. You may be able to reclaim a little more space by turning on compression for the wsus folder (Find the updates storage folder -> Right Click properties -> Click 'Advanced' -> Tick 'compress to save space'). Give it a day then check back and see if it's successfully reclaimed some space. A defrag afterwards is usually worthwhile, too. – Chris Thorpe Apr 5 '10 at 21:45

I'm not totally certain about SCE, but in standard WSUS you're able to set WSUS to only monitor the update status of the clients and then the clients still download the updates from MSUpdate. Perhaps may be a slower process as each client needs to download the updates seperately, but at least then you can regain some disk space whilst still monitoring the update status? Option can be found under 'update files and languages' and then chose 'download from Microsoft' instead of 'store files locally on this server'

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Thanks for the suggestion, but we chose not to do this to conserve internet traffic. – Ricket Mar 1 '11 at 15:04

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