Windows Server 2003 SP2 – Automatic update June 12

On June 12th we will begin releasing Windows Server 2003 SP2 as an update through Automatic Update (AU), and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

Since releasing SP2 in April we have had roughly 1 million downloads for Windows Server 2003 SP2.  By and large, the download and install experience has been uneventful and straightforward for our customers.

Install Experience Changes to WU, AU, and WSUS

Windows Server 2003 SP2 was originally published using the same switches and options as SP1, however customer feedback strongly preferred the XP SP2 install model with multiple UI screens prior to installation. Based on this customer feedback and requests, we have improved the Windows Update (WU), Automatic Update(AU) and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) user install experience with Windows Server 2003 SP2.  

This means the Windows Update EULA acceptance screen and the SP2 Welcome screen will now be shown as part of the Windows Server SP2 install over WU Site and Automatic Updates. WSUS admins will also be required to explicitly accept the SP2 EULA in order to enable automatic deployment.  These changes were done to give customers better control over when and how they install and deploy SP2.


It is important to note that the actual Windows Server 2003 SP2 update package, and the files included in it, are unchanged. 

Original Windows Server 2003 SP1 and SP2 Experience:

·         Windows Update (WU) Site: No separate EULA required; SP1 package shows up in the list of updates available.  Users choosing the “Recommended” install option or accepting the defaults using the “Custom” install option would have Server 2003 SP1 and SP2 install automatically and silently at that point. This was, at the time of SP1’s release, consistent with server system administrators who typically track all updates closely.

·         Automatic Updates (AU):: SP2 has not yet been offered on AU.  This will happen starting June 12.

·         Windows Server Update Services (WSUS):: No explicit WSUS-Admin approval required.  If auto-approve all updates is selected, SP2 would flow through to servers automatically.  This caused concerns in WSUS environments where the administrators were expecting to have explicit approval of Windows Server 2003 SP2, just like Windows XP SP2.

New Windows Server 2003 SP2 experience:

·         Windows Update (WU) Site: Install will now require specific UI: EULA accept and SP2 Welcome screen accept

·         Automatic Updates (AU): SP2 will require users to click on the balloon notification “Updates are ready to install” (which will show every day) unless SP2 is blocked with the blocker tool, or explicitly hidden by the user.  Once they click the balloon notification, starting the install will then require the explicit EULA and SP2 Welcome screen.

·         Windows Server Update Services (WSUS): WSUS Admins will be required to explicitly accept the Windows Server 2003 SP2 EULA in order to enable automatic deployment.  It will not flow thru automatically.  Once the WSUS admin approves, there is no further end-user machine interaction or UI required.

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