Today Microsoft has issued a release candidate of Windows Server Update Services, the official name of the next version of Software Update Services (SUS). Windows Server Update Services, or Update Services for short, enables customers to update a variety of Microsoft software, and is available free of charge to customers of Windows Server (2000 and above). The public download is available at:

Windows Server Update Services enables IT administrators to more easily assess, control and automate the deployment of Microsoft software updates, thereby giving them the ability to better secure Windows environments and minimize downtime, while reducing the cost and effort for simple update management. Initial support includes Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Office XP, Office 2003, SQL Server 2000, MSDE 2000, and Exchange 2003, and will support additional Microsoft software over time.

Today also marks the beginning of the public beta program of Microsoft Update. The program is intended to solicit feedback from our testing community in preparation for the final release. Microsoft Update helps consumer users of Windows to stay more secure more easily. Microsoft Update provides all of the features and benefits of Windows Update (WU), including the Automatic Updates feature, plus access to security and reliability updates for Office and other Microsoft applications that run on Windows.

Windows Server Update Services and Microsoft Update are core components of Microsoft’s update management solutions, and are geared for SMB/enterprise and consumer customers, respectively. For enterprise customers who require a more sophisticated solution, SMS 2003 extends functionality beyond patch management to also include a complete end-to-end software distribution solution (application deployment, asset management, mobile workforce support and Windows management services integration) and broad administrative control with more granular reporting, targeting and distribution for the updates. See the following page for more details: