Windows Vista Ultimate x WSUS

Many Ultimate users will have never heard of WSUS, but a vocal minority will be interested in this blog entry. Currently, if your computer is administered by WSUS 2.5, you cannot install Ultimate Extras. So what’s going on?

First, for those not in the know, WSUS is Windows Server Update Services, a technology that allows IT administrators to deploy the latest Microsoft product updates to their users’ computers, or block updates they do not want users to install. If you are a home user, it is very unlikely WSUS is in your house (and you know if it is). However, if you are running Windows at work, then your company may have deployed WSUS.

If you want to see if your computer is administered by WSUS, it is easy. Open the Windows Update control panel and look at the line of text which begins “You receive updates:” If the text after that is “Managed by your system administrator” then WSUS is active, otherwise, not.

This all is very technical, and might sound pretty far afield from Windows Ultimate and Ultimate Extras, but it’s not. For instance, a number of small businesses are choosing Ultimate for its complete feature set and Extras, and WSUS to reduce administration costs. Specially people like me, using Windows Small Business Server even at home. In any case, Extras are not available for WSUS admins to deploy, so computers in WSUS-managed domains cannot install any Extras.

That’s not a good situation for customers, but hold tight because as I heard MS is working on it. The Ultimate team is working with Windows Update to revise the Extras to be offered to WSUS.

This change will mean all users of Ultimate—even business users, provided their IT administration approves—will have the choice of installing Ultimate Extras. Administrators will still be able to block offering and installation of Extras, so it’s guaranteed that every user will get Extras, but more of you will have the option.

Why was it not this way from the beginning? Ultimate was designed more as a consumer-focused edition of Windows Vista. Ultimate team have cut support for WSUS at launch to reduce the test burden, and because they didn’t think many WSUS environments would deploy Ultimate. They have heard that were wrong, so all the Wave Zero Extras will be offered to WSUS later this year.