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Interesting WSUS problem

WSUS is a real life saver on a Windows network of any size, it more than pays off its huge initial download size when it serves computers on the network and saves internet bandwidth. However, like any other software, it can be temperamental and have tough to troubleshoot problems.

I recently came across a problem during the migration at my work. We set up the client XP SP3 workstation, ran sysprep and then cloned the box. However, after the deployment, only 1 or 2 computers were appearing in the WSUS console when there should have been 38.

Puzzled by this, and by the fact that computers were still getting updates despite not showing up in the console, I decided to investigate. After a lot of internet searching, I narrowed down the seeming culprit to a setting in the registry.

It turns out that for whatever reason, sysprep is not removing these entries in the registry, so the computers after cloning will receive updates but won’t report to the console. It may have been some change Microsoft made with SP3, or it may be the updated Automatic Update client, no one really knows.

The solution is to delete the SusClientId and SusClientValidationId entries in the following registry key before running sysprep and cloning the computers : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft

Clone the computer and after sysprep is run, the computer should now report to the WSUS console. Alternatively, you can restart the Automatic Updates service, as well as run wuauclt /resetauthorization /detectnow. If you don’t delete the entries in the above mentioned registry key, they are all identical and WSUS will only pick up the first computer that starts up with those entries.

I haven’t yet figured out if this problem exists in Windows Vista and 7, as I have never had the chance to clone those systems or use the sysprep tool for them.

I hope this will help someone out there avoid the head scratching we went though with this.

  1. Victor
    August 19, 2010 at 09:08

    thanks, it’s very useful

  2. Mike
    January 17, 2011 at 18:47

    Currently having this exact problem. Thanks for posting the solution online! 😀

  3. GeorgeY
    January 18, 2012 at 17:47

    Thanks a ton! I ‘ve been busting my head all day to find a solution and after reading your post I fixed it in a couple of minutes.

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