WSUS Users Now Must Use PowerShell To Import Updates

Microsoft informed users of the venerable WSUS product that they now must PowerShell to get updates.

Users of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) will now have to import nonpubished updates for Windows devices using a PowerShell script, Microsoft announced on Wednesday.

Update 7/27: Microsoft clarified in the comments section of its announcement that the switch to using PowerShell to get updates in WSUS only applies to "updates that are not published to the WSUS channel." As noted in the comments section by Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Susan Bradley, "The normal method of approving patches hasn't changed, just if you need to import a 'one off'."

Microsoft explained that "until now, WSUS included an option to import updates from the Microsoft Update Catalog site," which was done using an "Import Updates" selection in the "Actions" pane of WSUS. When IT pros try to do that now, they'll get directed to this document, which contains the PowerShell script that Microsoft wants WSUS users to use instead.

From that point, importing updates into WSUS from the Microsoft Update Catalog is kind of a manual process. IT pros need to search for the wanted updates in the catalog using a browser and then copy the "UpdateID" for use in the PowerShell script. If they are importing multiple updates, each UpdateID has to put on a separate line in a text file.

To run the PowerShell script, administrator privileges will be needed. But first, IT pros will have to check that the imported updates actually got downloaded.

Microsoft added the following note in that regard:

Note: The files for the imported updates aren't downloaded at the time of import. Please check your Update files settings to review or change when they will be downloaded.

Microsoft explained that it changed the import function in WSUS because it had been using ActiveX technology, which is "now deprecated." Microsoft actually dropped ActiveX browser support back in Windows 8 times, per Wikipedia's recounting. ActiveX currently only lives on in the "Internet Explorer Mode" legacy support feature that's available in the Microsoft Edge browser. Microsoft did away with ActiveX because HTML5 technologies enabled its capabilities with better security, per this Microsoft document.

WSUS itself is an aging management product, but it's still supported by Microsoft. Reactions to Microsoft's announcement steering users to PowerShell for updates seemed to be muted. One person, though, applauded Microsoft's efforts to further kill off ActiveX, per this Twitter post.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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