Reinstall WSUS on SBS

I figured I would create a post on WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) and SBS (Small Business Server).  More specifically I want to talk about the most common issue I see with my customers. The WSUS database grows to a very large size causing a number of symptoms.

  1. The WSUS console disconnects.
  2. The SBS console shows Update status as not available.
  3. The updates tab in the SBS console shows “An error occured while retrieving updates information” for all four update categories.
  4. Clients are not able to connect to WSUS and/or are not updating.

According to the research I have done Microsoft does not limit resources or the size of the WSUS database.  However in practice I have seen that when the SUSDB exceeds 10GB issues start to crop up.  I have found the easiest and fastest fix is to remove and reinstall WSUS.  Below are the steps for SBS 2011*:

  1. Remove WSUS.
    • Go to Control Panel then Programs and Features.
    • Highlight Windows Server Update Service 3.0 SP2 and choose Uninstall.
    • Check all three boxes to remove the database, logs and downloaded updates.
    • Complete the uninstall wizard.
    • If the uninstall fails, see this article.
  2. Reinstall WSUS.
    • Open an administrative command prompt
    • Change directories to C:\Program Files\Windows Small Business Server\Bin\CMPNENTS\WSUS_SP2
    • The install will take anywhere from 2-10 minutes depending on hardware.  To verify the install is complete look for an event ID 1042 in the application event log.  If the install crashes, just rerun the above command again.
  3. Perform the SBS customizations.
    • Click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Microsoft Windows Server Update Services
    • In Update Services, expand the name of the server, and then click Options.
    • Click Products and Classifications, and then on the Products tab, verify that all check boxes are selected.
    • In the Products and Classifications dialog box, click the Classifications tab, and then check the following boxes:
      • Critical Updates
      • Definition Updates
      • Security Updates
      • Service Packs
      • Update Rollups
    • In Options, click Update Files and Languages, click the Update Languages tab, choose the option Download updates only in these languages, and then verify that English is selected.
    • In Options, click Synchronization Schedule, click Synchronize automatically, and then, in First synchronization, change the time to 10:00:00 P.M.  Click OK.
    • In Update Services, expand Computers, click All Computers, and then in Actions, click Add Computer Group.  Add the following computer groups:
      • Update Service Excluded Computers
      • Update Services Client Computers
      • Update Services Server Computers
  4. Update WSUS so that it will work with Windows 8 and higher clients.
    • Download the Microsoft update KB2734608.
    • Install the update.
    • Reboot the server.  The server must be rebooted before the first synchronization with Microsoft update servers.  If it is not, then WSUS and clients may require additional steps to repair.



* For the SBS 2008 the steps are the same, but WSUS 3.0 SP2 will need to be downloaded from the Microsoft site.  You can find it here.  Make sure and download the x64 version.

** Now is a great time to move the WSUS database and content repository to another drive.  It will be more difficult to move the WSUS DB later.  To move the location, change the C:\WSUS to another drive.  For example D:\WSUS.  Make sure and change both instances.




17 thoughts on “Reinstall WSUS on SBS

  1. Glenn, thanks for a neatly written process. A quick question – what does it mean in the last step (from a practical point) ” The server must be rebooted before the first synchronization with Microsoft update servers. If it is not, then WSUS and clients may require additional steps to repair.”


    1. If the reboot does not happen I have seen clients have issues synchronizing with the WSUS server. The connection to the server can become corrupt. If that happens it has to be fixed from the client by clearing the software distribution folder.


      1. Thanks, Glenn, what I meant by my post was “do we better to set sync to MANUAL, reboot and then set it to AUTO @ 22:00?”. Otherwise, if someone does procedure after 21:00, they can be trapped into database corruption due to no reboot before sync kicks off.
        This is our scenario today as we are testing steps in the lab just between 21:00 and 22:00.


  2. I have not tested this scenario personally. I have seen at least one of my customers not reboot though. The problems that I saw were limited to the client side. Basically the clients attempted to check in with with the server and failed. Unfortunately even after a reboot the clients failed still and we were seeing errors in the Windows update client. So it is more important to do a reboot before the clients start checking in (default is 3AM) than it is with the sync itself.
    As for your first question, yes you can remove WSUS from SBS 2011 and be just fine. I have another article on here about disabling WSUS in SBS 2011. Just ensure you remove the GPO links, otherwise your clients will still be looking to the SBS server for updates.


    1. Thanks, Glenn, Our main hate for WSUS is its disk consumption coupled with Microsoft ignorance of their slack design issue. Therefore we need to get back those 80GB it now consumes. Disabling WSUS won’t work (to recover disk space), so we want to UNINSTALL it.
      I have checked your article “DISABLING WSUS” which to my belief only partly applicable to our plan (in part of unlinking 4x GPOs). Cross-checking other resources, I found an article which states that only a single GPO needs to be corrected (disabled): “Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Windows Updates – Specify intranet Microsoft update service location”. Do you know the reason why all 4x GPO needs to be unlinked? If we do so, clients won’t get any settings for Windows Updates, meaning we will lose control of how Win updates applied, so I wanted to check this with you.
      And another question: do you know how long it could take to uninstall WSUS with database=80gb?
      Thanks in advance/


  3. You are correct on the GPO. Technically you only need to remove the one setting for the WSUS server. So if you want to maintain control over scheduling updates you could do that with the existing GPO.
    As for the uninstall it doesn’t really matter how big the DB and repository are. The uninstall should take about 2-8 minutes depending on your hardware.


    1. Thank you Glenn.
      We tried to uninstall however it did not go successfully and didn’t provide any errors either. Tried to locate some logs however could find anything useful. In APPS logs there are 2x events:1001 “Event Name: WSUSSetup/Response: Not available”.

      Now WSUS is not listed in PROGRAMS AND FEATURES however WSUS starts up ok and updates are listed OK in SBS CONSOLE>UPDATES tab.
      Had to go through FAILED UINSTALL part of your solution, interesting to mention that key value SqlInstanceIsRemote was = 0 (zero)
      Anyway, changed key wYukonInstalled=0 and removed via ROLES, it went OK!
      During this process the free disk space lost 2gb, so we are on 15gb now and we need to kill WSUS folder to claim disk space back.
      Could you guide me through the process of manually removing this WSUS folder considering WSUS database at the time of removal was available and running OK, and to my understanding is connected and running now.


      1. Here is how I would recommend cleaning up the WSUS folder:
        1. Connect to SQL Management Studio Express as administrator
        2. Connect to the WID (Windows Internal Database) with the following string in management studio: \\.\pipe\MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE\sql\query
        3. Detach the SUSDB database. (right-click the database and choose detach)
        4. Delete the WSUS folder from the hard drive.

        Additionally, you can now safely disable the WID service or remove the WID from Windows Features. This would be done to save server resources.


  4. Hi Glenn

    I have used your guide before with great success. However, today it is not working for me. the installation fails at the configuring the database stage. The Wsussetup.log shows the following at the end.

    2018-08-09 15:32:34 Error MWUSSetup InstallWsus: MWUS Installation Failed (Error 0x80070643: Fatal error during installation.)
    2018-08-09 15:32:34 Error MWUSSetup CInstallDriver::PerformSetup: WSUS installation failed (Error 0x80070643: Fatal error during installation.)
    2018-08-09 15:32:34 Error MWUSSetup CSetupDriver::LaunchSetup: Setup failed (Error 0x80070643: Fatal error during installation.)

    Any ideas as to how to reinstall WSUS?

    Many Thanks



    1. I would suggest going back further in the log to find the specific error. Unfortunately the 0x80070643 error is just telling us something went wrong during the install. If we think the WID (Windows Internal Database) is a problem, then I would completely uninstall the WID feature from Server Manager and reboot before trying the WSUS install again. The WSUS install with automatically add the WID back.


      1. Thanks for your reply. I did remove the WID but that didn’t help the reinstall. Also, the remote access website now appears to be broken after removal of WID


  5. I would like to add a correction. It was not the removal of WID that caused the remote access website. it was the removal and reinstall of .net framework 4.7 which caused the issue with the website. My apologies.


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