I’ve been slowly spending time with System Center Essentials and one of the things that turned out to be the most time consuming task when first installing SCE is approving and declining the seemingly endless number of updates. I’ve grouped out my servers and workstations by the operating system they are running, as well as a few other specialty groups for specific applications like SQL, Exchange, etc, that often have specific updates. Then I went through and approved updates for each group and declined all the updates that were expired, superceded or didn’t apply to my environment for one reason or another. (Yes, you can manually tweak which types of updates you download, but there still always seems to be something I don’t want in the list.)
All was good. Then a few weeks later, all the updates that I declined had magically returned to my “unapproved” list. How frustrating.
On the Microsoft TechNet Forums I found a post from June 2010 that mentioned how the “Update cancelled or renewed subscriptions maintenance task” was likely buggy and the culprit for this problem. Disabling this task would prevent declined updates from accidentally get tossed back into the “unapproved” list when each maintenance cycle came around.
To find the setting, open your SCE Console and select the “Updates” view. On the right side of the Update Overview page, you’ll find a task list that includes and option to “Configure Windows Server Update Services Maintenance“. Within these settings, you’ll want to uncheck the option to “Update cancelled or renewed subscriptions” which is supposed to “decline all updates for inactive subscriptions and change the status of all updates for subscriptions that have been renewed within the previous 30 days.”
If you are interested in more details about what that option is supposed to do and what you might be missing out on by deselecting it, check out this blog post on the System Center Essentials Team Blog.