10 WSUS Group Policy Best Practices

WSUS is a great tool for managing updates in a Windows environment, but there are some best practices you should follow to get the most out of it.

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a powerful tool for managing Windows updates in an enterprise environment. It allows administrators to control which updates are installed on which computers, and when.

However, WSUS can be difficult to configure and manage. To make the most of WSUS, it’s important to follow best practices for setting up and managing WSUS Group Policy. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 WSUS Group Policy best practices that will help you get the most out of WSUS.

1. Use a dedicated WSUS server

Using a dedicated WSUS server ensures that the server is not bogged down by other tasks, such as running applications or hosting websites. This allows for faster patching and more reliable updates. Additionally, it helps to keep your network secure since you can control which patches are applied and when they are applied.

Finally, using a dedicated WSUS server also makes it easier to manage your group policy settings. You can easily configure the server to apply specific policies to certain groups of computers, making it easier to ensure that all machines in your organization have the same level of security.

2. Configure client-side targeting for the GPO

Client-side targeting allows you to specify which computers should receive the WSUS settings. This is important because it ensures that only the intended machines are receiving the updates, and not any other devices on your network. It also helps reduce the amount of traffic generated by the WSUS server, as it will only be sending out updates to the specified machines.

To configure client-side targeting for a GPO, open the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) and select the desired policy. Then, click on the “Scope” tab and select the “Targeting” option. From here, you can add or remove computers from the list of targeted machines.

3. Set the intranet Microsoft update service location

This setting allows you to specify the location of your WSUS server, which is essential for ensuring that all computers in your network are receiving updates from the same source.

By configuring this policy, you can also ensure that clients only receive approved updates and not any malicious or unauthorized ones. Additionally, it helps reduce bandwidth usage by allowing clients to download updates from a local source instead of having to go out to the internet each time they need an update.

4. Enable automatic updates and configure them to download only

By enabling automatic updates, you ensure that all of your computers are kept up to date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. This helps protect against malicious attacks and other vulnerabilities. Configuring them to download only ensures that the updates don’t install until they have been tested and approved by your IT team. This allows you to control when and how the updates are installed, ensuring that any potential issues can be addressed before they cause disruption or downtime.

5. Disable Windows Update sharing

When Windows Update sharing is enabled, it allows other computers on the same network to download updates from your computer. This can cause a strain on your bandwidth and slow down your system as well as other systems on the network. It also increases the risk of malicious software being spread across the network.

To disable Windows Update sharing, open Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update. Then double-click “Configure Automatic Updates” and select “Disabled” in the dropdown menu. Click OK to save the changes.

6. Configure your clients to use a local WSUS server

Using a local WSUS server ensures that your clients are always up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. It also reduces network traffic, since all of the patching is done locally instead of over the internet. Additionally, it allows you to control which updates are installed on each client machine, giving you more granular control over the patching process. Finally, using a local WSUS server makes it easier to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the patching process.

7. Configure the WSUS computer target group

The WSUS computer target group is a collection of computers that are managed by the same set of policies. This allows you to easily manage and deploy updates to multiple computers at once, saving time and effort. It also ensures that all computers in the group receive the same updates, which helps maintain consistency across your network.

To configure the WSUS computer target group, open the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) and create a new GPO. Then, navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update and enable the “Specify intranet Microsoft update service location” policy. Finally, enter the URL for your WSUS server and click OK.

8. Create an OU structure that reflects your network topology

When you create an OU structure that reflects your network topology, it makes it easier to manage and deploy WSUS group policies. This is because the OUs are organized in a way that allows for easy access to the computers or users that need to be targeted with specific policies.

For example, if you have multiple offices located in different cities, you can create separate OUs for each office and then apply the appropriate WSUS group policy settings to those OUs. This will ensure that only the computers or users in the specified OUs receive the desired updates.

9. Deploy the WSUS Group Policy objects (GPOs)

GPOs are the backbone of WSUS and they provide a way to centrally manage all of your Windows computers. By deploying GPOs, you can ensure that all of your machines have the same settings for WSUS, such as which server to connect to, what updates to install, and when to install them. This makes it much easier to keep all of your systems up-to-date with the latest security patches and other important updates.

Additionally, by using GPOs, you can also control how often clients check in with the WSUS server, so you don’t have to worry about overloading the server with too many requests at once. Finally, GPOs allow you to easily roll out changes across multiple machines quickly and efficiently.

10. Ensure you have enough disk space on the WSUS server

WSUS stores all of the updates it downloads from Microsoft in a local database, and this database can quickly grow to take up a lot of disk space.

If you don’t have enough disk space on your WSUS server, then you won’t be able to download new updates or store them properly. This could lead to problems with patching and security vulnerabilities if you’re not able to keep your systems up-to-date.

To ensure you have enough disk space for WSUS, make sure you monitor the size of the database regularly and adjust your storage capacity accordingly. You should also consider setting up an automated process that will delete old updates after they’ve been superseded by newer versions.


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