How to Clean Microsoft WSUS Content Folder from Old and unneeded Products

Posted by Ahmed Nabil In , | 9 comments»
Microsoft WSUS administrators sometimes tend to select all given Products (Options - Products and Classifications) and by time the WSUS content folder grows dramatically till it fill all disk space. If the WSUS administrator tries to uncheck or deselect unneeded products later on, this won't save or minimize the current space.

So how do the WSUS updates gets downloaded/Propagated on the WSUS server ?

  1. WSUS server contacts the Microsoft Update servers and will only downloads the metadata (Not complete Full Update Package)
  2. The Binaries or the actual downloads are only downloaded when you approve them manually or if there is an Auto approval rule configured.

In order to clean the WSUS content folder from old/unneeded  or unused products you have to do the following:

  1. Under Options - Update Files and Languages, Remove the check box for download Express Installation files (This is optional recommendation depending on your environment).
  2. In the Options - Products and Classifications, select only the needed products.
  3. On WSUS console- decline all approved updated which were either installed or not applicable.
  4. Delete the WsusContent Folder.
  5. Navigate to the C:/program files/updates services/tools on the WSUS server
  6. Run WSUSutil.exe Reset

On the next download cycle it will download only the updates which have been listed in products and classifications and which have not been declined.

Also Its recommended to install all Latest WSUS updates and hotfixes.



Lawrence Garvin Says:

I would actually strongly recommend against using this procedure, as it's entirely unnecessary to be done in such a radical manner, and it will take eons to complete.

As noted, the primary reason for large content stores is that either too many updates were originally approved, or there are updates that should no longer have approvals.

In Step 3, you should Decline only those updates which are SUPERSEDED and reported as 100% "Installed/NotApplicable".

Steps 4, 5, and 6 are trash. After declining the updates in Step 3, the only thing that needs to be done is to run the Server Cleanup Wizard with just the "Delete unneeded files..." option selected.

The Server Cleanup Wizard will remove the unneeded files and not touch the still needed files. The procedure as written above will delete all of the files still needed and then force them to be re-downloaded -- a very inefficient and unnecessary process.

Ahmed Nabil Says:

I tried the Server Cleanup wizard but it never cleared much data, when I performed this method I was able to cut my size from 300GB to 40 GB. I agree that I had to re-download my stuff again but this was done over night on Saturday.

Anonymous Says:

Ahmed: have you tried scheduling WSUS Cleanup ( to run once a month? I have this run monthly and it removes a good portion of data, patches that have been superceded, no longer approved, etc.

"C:\Program Files\WSUS_Cleanup_CL\WSUS_Cleanup_CL.exe" WSUS_HOSTNAME f 8530 superseded expired obsolete compress files DB 2>&1
1> "%temp%\wsus_maint.log"

Qamar Says:

Hi there,

I was wondering what could be the consequences if we delete wsus content folder directly rather than declining the updates first?

I followed the steps but unfortunately I missed that part and deleted wsus content folder. Now wsus mmc is not loading and throwing connection error. Is there any way to fix that. I don't want contents in wsus content folder but need to fix this error. Below is the error I found in event viewer

The WSUS administration console has encountered an unexpected error. This may be a transient error; try restarting the administration console. If this error persists,

Try removing the persisted preferences for the console by deleting the wsus file under %appdata%\Microsoft\MMC\.

System.NullReferenceException -- Object reference not set to an instance of an object.


Stack Trace:
at Microsoft.UpdateServices.UI.SnapIn.Pages.ServerSummaryPage.backgroundWorker_RunWorkerCompleted(Object sender, RunWorkerCompletedEventArgs e)

Any help would be much appreciated.

Stefano Bordoni Says:

I have found another quite effective approach.

Go 'All Updates' folder, and set:
- 'Approved' on Approval field
- 'Any' on stuatus field

Then right click on column titles and check 'Supersencence'.

A new column 2 will appear.
Use it to sort all your approved items.

Select all superseded items (they are grouped by 2 different icons), and decline them.

Then go in 'Options'->'Server cleanup wizard' and set only 'Unneeded update files'

Run it.

NOTE: This 'brutal' approach saved a choking server by reducing the disk usage (about 50%).

FranzSchenk Says:

@Stefano: Your post is very helpful and that works, thank you!

leetech Says:

@Stefano yeeessss thank you for the suggestion, it cleared out tons of files when other methods did not work. One thing to add: I got an MMC error when trying to sort on the Supersencence column. I found that if I de-select the Status Rollup colum so that Supersencense is the first column, then it sorts without error.

DM Says:

hi i followed the above and an hour later i still don't see the console populated. the WSUS console appears to crash and it appears to still be syncing. Does the original WSUS folder which was 300GB hope this does not sync all this down again. As i only clicked critical and security updates. Hoping it will finish sooner then later.

subglo Says:

I hollowed this guide and everything is fine.
I cleared 1TB of WSUS content. we have a lot of clients un products. I sorted out all unneeded updates and declined them. in the next cycle wsus will download only approved updates.

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