Microsoft plans to discontinue in December offering patches and other updates via the original version of free update software that it made available to corporate users more than three years ago.
Microsoft has already replaced the aging Software Update Services (SUS) with a new version that is called Windows Software Update Services (WSUS), which is currently at version 2.0.
On Dec. 6, Microsoft will make the transition official and will cut off support for SUS and will no longer synchronize its patch site with SUS or offer new updates via the SUS server, which in installed locally on corporate networks to collect new patches for testing and subsequent deployment.
The SUS software has not been made available for download since last year, but it continues to be used in many small and mid-sized organizations that don't want to, or can't afford to, run Systems Management Server.
WSUS, however, is also free and provides additional capabilities that SUS does not support, including a reporting engine, restart controls, bandwidth throttling, a client-side scanning engine and a catalog technology that lists available patches and updates. WSUS also supports patches for a wider array of Microsoft software.
Last week, Microsoft released the first public beta of WSUS 3.0, which adds even more features, including replacement of the Web-based management console with one built on the Microsoft Management Console 3.0. WSUS 3.0 also has filtering, custom views and nesting features.
A service pack for WSUS 2.0 is expected later this year that will include support for Vista.
SUS was first offered as an add-on component for Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 to simplify the process of keeping computers up to date with the latest critical updates, security updates, and service packs. SUS also could be linked with the Automatic Updates component of Windows client machines.
The software worked in conjunction with the Windows Update patch site run by Microsoft. That site has since been upgraded and renamed Microsoft Update to reflect the wider range of software - not just Windows - including Office, SQL Server and Exchange.
Microsoft offers a step-by-step guide for migrating from SUS to WSUS here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=150E795E-AE32-4D47-A6B8-E01F918AAE93&displaylang=en