“The update could not be found” – Error When Trying to Re-install WSUS on Server 2008

I came across an unusual error when re-installing WSUS on one of my Server 2008 boxes.

Basically, I completely screwed an install of WSUS and it was just easier to rip it out and re-install it, because it was a downstream server anyway.

The uninstall went fine, but when I tried to re-install it, I got this error…

The update could not be found. Either the update is not applicable to this computer or the update no longer exists. Either the update is not applicable to this computer or the update no longer exists. Verify that the update still exists and applicable to this computer form your WSUS server or Windows Update. Verify that the update still exists and applicable to this computer form your WSUS server or Windows Update.

Turns out that because this server was using itself as it’s update server, it can’t re-install WSUS because it can’t check with the WSUS server for updates… Awesome.

It’s a relatively quick fix though – Just delete “HKLMSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdate”, restart the Windows Update service (wuauserv) and then you should be good to go.

EDIT: I’ve come across another (probably more common) scenario where this error occurs…

When installing the WSUS role for the first time, you need to either approve update KB940518 on an existing WSUS server in your environment, or just install it from Windows Update if you don’t already have a WSUS server – This makes the role available for installation on Windows Server 2008 machines.

KB940518 only adds the role to the available roles list in Server 2008, and does not contain the actual install files for WSUS.¬†Therefore, if you have an existing WSUS in your organisation that your new potential WSUS server reports to, you need to ensure that you have selected Windows Server 2008 Server Manager – Windows Server Updates Services (WSUS) Dynamic Installer) (and ideally Windows Server 2008 Server Manager Dynamic Installer) under Products and Classifications, otherwise you’ll get the error above.

You could also delete the registry key I’ve mentioned above and then check for updates, but this will obviously go out to the internet to download the WSUS installation package, rather than from your existing WSUS server.

HINT: The C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.log file contains logs for Server Manager when it attempts to search for updates for roles. These lines commonly include the string “[ClientId = Server Manager]”