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Server Solver

Missing Computers in WSUS

For some reason, this admin can't see all the computers when working with his Windows Server Update Services server.

Zubair: I've installed and configured the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server but somehow, I am not seeing any of my computers in the All Computers, Unassigned Computers, or even in the Computer Groups that I created. Is that because my computers are in a workgroup? Do they need to join a domain? My clients are running Windows XP Professional.
— Name withheld

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Your computers do not need to join a domain to take advantage of WSUS server. You can leave your computers in a workgroup and still add them to any computer groups you want. For various reasons some small organizations may have a group of computers that they would rather not join the domain. However, they may prefer to update all the patches on these computers by using the WSUS server.

Computer groups are created in WSUS to manage computers and deploy patches in a more controlled fashion. However, to add computers to your computer groups you need to configure either Group Policy (for computers in the domain) or Local Computer Policy (for computers in a workgroup). In your case, you have computers that are part of a workgroup. So, you should follow this procedure:

  1. Go to your Windows XP client and start a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC). At Start, Run, type MMC.
  2. Use Ctrl+M to add a new snap-in.
  3. Click Add, and then add the Group Policy Object Editor for the Local Computer.
  4. Click Close, and then click OK.
  5. Expand the Local Computer Policy.
  6. Under Computer Configuration, go to Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Update. The result is shown in Figure 1.
  7. In the right-hand pane, double-click Specify intranet Microsoft update service location. Note:You can also configure the option Automatic Updates detection frequency if you want. The default is 22 hours.
  8. Configure the settings as shown in Figure 2. Replace MARS with the name of your WSUS server.
  9. Click OK and then close the MMC without saving it.
Configure local policy for Windows Update
Figure 1. Configuring local policy for Windows Update (Click image to view larger version.)

Specify intranet update service location
Figure 2. Specifying the intranet update service location

Within about 20 minutes, your computer should show up in WSUS server under Unassigned Computers category. If you don’t want to wait 20 minutes, execute the following command on your Windows XP client at the command prompt:

wuauclt.exe /detectnow

Your computer will show up in WSUS right away. To move it to a different Computer Group, click "Move the selected computer under Tasks" in the upper left corner.

About the Author

Zubair Alexander, MCSE, MCT, MCSA and Microsoft MVP is the founder of SeattlePro Enterprises, an IT training and consulting business. His experience covers a wide range of spectrum: trainer, consultant, systems administrator, security architect, network engineer, author, technical editor, college instructor and public speaker. Zubair holds more than 25 technical certifications and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Information Systems. His Web site,, is dedicated to technical resources for IT professionals. Zubair may be reached at

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 Bryan

I found that I could not use a domain OU based folder in WSUS, I had to create a new one. From there I just have to set the TargetGroup in the registry or via gpedit. This stumped me for a couple of hours.

Tue, Oct 9, 2012 scott

didnt work for me until i added :8530 after the site name. I am using wsus 3.2 sp2

Wed, Dec 17, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous

Hopefully this will help to resolve it. I have WSUS 3.0

Sun, Feb 17, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous

great info thanks

Wed, Sep 26, 2007 Julian Dominican Republic

Just what i was looking for

Wed, Feb 28, 2007 Joe San Diego

Is it possible to replicate this via a script and psexec? I need to get around 600 desktops patched for DST and want them on board with wsus to automate this task.

Wed, Feb 21, 2007 Rizwan Houston

Make sure to use sysprep when imaging. Machine with duplicate sids do not show on WSUS console.

Tue, Dec 5, 2006 hatman London

My issue was sorted after adding the port number.

Wed, Aug 16, 2006 Rae NM

Useful information!

Wed, Apr 5, 2006 Steve Anonymous

Zubair, I just read your MCP Online article and, as many times before, appreciated your knowledge and willingness to share. In two locations where a properly working SUS install for clients have been upgraded the computers have "evaporated". Your writing is very timely regarding missing computers in WSUS. I tried the "wuauclt.exe /detectnow" trick you suggested.

Wed, Mar 22, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

One other thing to consider...if this was an upgrade from SUS on the same machine (and wasn't properly removed), you may need to point the GPO to the WSUS port (8530) also. For example, instead of just pointing to SERVER, you may need to put in SERVER:8530. 8530 is WSUS's default port if 80 is already taken. We have seen this happen with some of our facilities. A good tool to help troubleshoot this is WSUS Client Diag tool found at If it is the SUS-WSUS on the same box issue, you should see a message in the results stating somethin about "SUS 1.0" server.

Tue, Mar 21, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

What do you mean by "same thing"? What reghack did you use?

Tue, Mar 21, 2006 Phillip Anonymous

There can also be PCs missing from the WSUS console if cloning has been used. See MS KB Article: 903262 - A Windows 2000-based or Windows XP-based computer that was set up by using a Windows 2000 or Windows XP image does not appear in the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) console

Tue, Mar 21, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

I have not tried the local GPO,I have done the same thing with a registry edit.

Mon, Mar 20, 2006 Zubair Alexander Anonymous

Paul, thanks for pointing that out. It is useful to know that the administrative template (wuau.adm) may need to be added using the context menu.

Mon, Mar 20, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Zubair, it might be worth mentioning that if the Windows Update element is not there that the Template must be added by right-clicking Administrative Templates and selecting Add-Remove Templates. In the Add-Remove Template Dialogue box, select the ADD button then double-click the wuau.adm template. Click Close to complete the import.

Paul Clement, MVP Windows Server DS

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