HOWTO: Nuke Windows Server 2012R2 #WSUS and start fresh without actually having to uninstall, reinstall, or even reboot!

Recently I ended up in a situation where WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) running on a Windows Server 2012 R2 box was messed up and would have required more time to fix and clean up than I wanted to invest.  So I started looked into my notes for resetting WSUS to defaults to start over, but I found conflicting information on it in the notes I had made over the years.  So – off to my R&D lab for testing and here is the working results…

First, I always install SQL Express Advanced (with tools) as the default unnamed instance (MSSQLSERVER) on the server before I enable and configure the WSUS role (both of which I do via scripting).  Second, I always put the WSUS content folders in D:\SHARED\WSUS.  By doing so, I find this:

  • allows me more control over how the server is setup
  • allows me to cookie cutter my customers’ environments
  • allows my support team to already be knowledgeable with the setup before they even see / support it
  • allows me to script the setup, which saves me time!!!

So, back to my current issue – nuking WSUS and starting it fresh.  The general process to do so is:

  • Stop the WSUS, WWW, and BITS services
  • Delete the WSUS database from the MSSQL instance
  • Delete and recreate the WSUS content folders
  • Restart the WWW and WSUS services (BITS will start on its own when needed)
  • Run the WSUS post-install setup utility to provision WSUS to the MSSQL instance and set the content directory
  • Run the WSUS Setup Configuration Wizard

Of course, it’s very simple to script all that into a repeatable process for my support team in case they run into issues with a client’s WSUS, and because I script the initial setup of WSUS, all our clients WSUS servers are configured the same, which means my script will work on all my clients WSUS servers.

So to Nuke WSUS and start it fresh, open an Administrative Command prompt and paste in the following commands (note the -Q in sqlcmd is case sensitive).

net stop /y WsusService
net stop /y w3svc
net stop /y bits
sqlcmd -Q "drop database [SUSDB]"
rd /q /s D:\SHARED\WSUS
net start w3svc
net start WsusService
"C:\Program Files\Update Services\Tools\wsusutil.exe" postinstall SQL_INSTANCE_NAME="%computername%" CONTENT_DIR=D:\SHARED\WSUS
"C:\Program Files \Update Services\AdministrationSnapin\wsus.msc"

You should now have a nice clean WSUS server to start fresh with.

As always – Use any tips, tricks, or scripts I post at your own risk.


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