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I am looking after three sites. Two are nice and close and share a high-speed link, so there is a single WSUS server to manage those - no problems there.

The other site is 4 servers in China, using an ipsec VPN; this is not so great for patch downloads.

Is there any way to setup WSUS so that I can approve patches for the Chinese servers through WSUS, but have them download the patches from Microsoft's servers? I don't want to setup a dedicated WSUS in China for 4 servers, that is too much additional management overhead for such a small site.

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Absolutely, the documentation covers his clearly. –  SpacemanSpiff Aug 21 '12 at 3:14
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You can either setup a down stream WSUS server, which you can set to download directly from Microsoft.

Or, you could set a GPO that tells it to get the patches that the WSUS server tells it to, but download the actual data from Microsoft updates.

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