SUS Gets a Service Pack Upgrade

Microsoft’s Software Update Services has added a critical piece of functionality that promises to make it much more useful in the enterprise—the ability to install service packs.

Microsoft’s Software Update Services has added a critical piece of functionality that promises to make it much more useful in the enterprise—the ability to install service packs.

With Service Pack 1, SUS can now update and install the following products: Windows XP SP1, Windows 2000 SP4, and all future service packs for Windows 2000, Windows XP and the Windows Server 2003 family of products.

SUS is Microsoft’s answer to patch management. It’s mostly used over a company LAN or WLAN, and installs patches and hotfixes through an update server. Until now, its use was somewhat limited in large environments due to its inability to handle service packs.

SUS contains both client-side and server-side components. The client side is based on Windows Update technology, which automatically pulls specified downloads from the update server and installs them. SUS also enhances security by keeping client computers from making calls to servers across the Internet for updates.

Note that SUS only updates operating systems and only those OSs Windows 2000 SP2 or newer; there is no support for SQL Server, Exchange Server or other Microsoft products.

Many large organizations use Systems Management Server (SMS) for software updating, but Microsoft says the two products are compatible and suggests using SUS more as a patch management and SP server, and using SMS more as an application deployment server.

SUS SP1 can be downloaded from

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Nov 7, 2003 Mark USA

Just looking at patch and pack software products from 30,000 feet, SUS is not my preferred method for updating. SUS is not able to do updates to other MICROSOFT products, such as SQL or Exchange. Shavlik has a free product that does all Microsoft products and can be implemented within an hour. Most IT people do not have 12 months to wait for such an important puzzle piece to be delivered from Microsoft.

Fri, Nov 7, 2003 eric Anonymous

i use SUS on a international network composed of 34 sites , 12 domaines and 2 forest , works great for us , no need for sms

Thu, Nov 6, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I agree that it was strange to suddenly include SPs without warning. However, you DO get a choice as to what you include for updates. In order for the SPs to be deployed you had to approve them in the first place. One of the biggest reasons for using SUS is so that you do have a choice. You are reponsible for knowing what you are approving.
I also agree that this is a very stale article.

Thu, Nov 6, 2003 Jason Boche Minneapolis

The wording of this article is misleading. SUS SP1 has been out for quite a while (many months). The new functionality of SUS handling Service Packs is what is new, and even that now is several weeks old. Stale article.

Wed, Nov 5, 2003 Jose Lind Redmond

While SMS may be the ideal answer for larger enterprise, SUS is an excellent start. We use it in a very large environment and it is just another precautionary measure that can be taken. This is a great free product that Microsoft has provided us!

Wed, Nov 5, 2003 Rod Trent Anonymous

SUS is NOT Microsoft's answer to patch management, its primarily for small to medium-sized companies. If you want full patch management services, you'll want to look into Microsoft Systems Management server.

Wed, Nov 5, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Not only did this happen a while ago, but when it happened, MS did not warn anyone, leading to some people on slow links getting a very nasty surprise. A tickbox allowing you to choose whether you WANT to download SPs would have been a nice addon to the product.

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