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Learning Windows Server 2003 by Jonathan Hassell

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About Software Update Services

Patch management is one of the most difficult but necessary tasks an administrator faces in the wake of viruses and security vulnerabilities that plague our connected world today. However, even though Microsoft operating systems have been the target of many a hacker and virus writer for the past five years or so, there hasn’t been a Microsoft-endorsed, low-cost method of distributing operating system updates to an installed base of computers—including both clients and servers.

That changed in 2003. As part of its Strategic Technology Protection Program, Microsoft sought to use its popular Windows Update technology—the software that runs the universal update site for all but the oldest versions of Windows. The result of this effort was a new free product called Software Update Services, or SUS. SUS at this point does not focus on adding new features to already released software; it is concerned only with critical updates, allowing administrators to easily deploy critical updates to servers running Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003, as well as desktop computers running Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional. All in all, SUS deals with pretty much the same set of updates available from Windows Update, which most people are familiar with. It’s designed to work especially well in networks with an Active Directory implementation (and you even can install SUS on a domain controller), but it will function without one.

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