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What is WSUS (Microsoft Windows Server Update Services)? What settings do I need at client sites to use WSUS? Does WSUS update anti-virus products, or does it only support Microsoft Software updates?

Thanking you, Sadiq

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4 Answers 4

WSUS supports updates for Forefront antivirus from Microsoft for antivirus updates. As far as I know it does not support the downloading of 3rd party AV updates.

You obviously need WSUS setup on one of your servers. If you use Active Directory you can use Group Policies to apply the settings to your workstations.

If you do not have AD then you will have to make some registry changes. The best way to go about this is to make the changes on one machine, test it and then export the registry settings and import it on the other computers.

The instructions for GPO and the registry are here.

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System Centre Updates Publisher (SCUP) is part of System Centre Config Manager (the latest version of what used to be called SMS). SCUP is Microsoft's upgraded Enterprise version of WSUS that uses the WSUS engine but is able to push out updates to 3rd party software as well as normal Microsoft updates.

A number of 3rd parties supply update catalogues that you can subscribe to in SCUP in addition to Microsoft's WSUS update catalog. These include Adobe (for Flash player, requires agreeing to their distribution agreement, here), HP, Dell, Sun and Citrix. An (outdated) list of catalogs is available here http://www.microsoft.com/smserver/partners/itcucat.mspx more can be found by querying suppliers web sites.

Unfortunately I'm not aware of any anti-virus companies that make their updates available in a SCUP compatible catalog. Most of them use their own proprietary server products to distribute updates within a company LAN.

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WSUS is basically Microsoft updates but it pulls it inside your network and gives you control over what updates a computer gets. This can be beneficial if there are updates you DON'T want computers to get, or if you want to spread out how an update due to the size (Like Service packs which are very big and can choke your network if you don't space out the computers downloading it.)

It is also able to report to you what computers have what updates and lets you know when computers have issues with installing updates. This gives you pretty good control over the risks of unpatched systems.

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For WSUS you will need a Windows server, I believe 2003 onwards. You can download the WSUS server software from Microsoft, as well as implementation documentation. Client machines can be configured through policies, either local or group, to connect to a specific server for their updates, as well as the other WU settings.

In regards to the antivirus updates - No, unless it's Microsoft's offering. When WSUS was released Microsoft told us that by version 2 it would be able to support 3rd party software that used the correct API. Neither the API nor support for 3rd party software has yet to be seen.

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