What is the limit of updates per Software Update Policy?


Article ID: 181698


Updated On:


Patch Management Solution for Windows




Question: How many updates / bulletins can be added when a Software Update Policy is created.

Answer: There are no limitations, for the product will work as designed if the environment is able to support the load. As the environment grows over time, more and more bulletins are downloaded and Software Update Policies are created, and the load becomes more heavy.

However, Support has found the general best practice is not to exceed 100 Software Updates. Keeping in mind that each Bulletin contains multiple Software Updates.

Points to consider when creating the Software Update Policy:

  1. Resource associations for each targeted client, filter, update/bulletin, software update advertisement and the policy are updated during the creation / save process. The environment performance plays a key factor in this process.
  • If the policy is bloated and unable to save; review the resolution on TECH122266
  • This is also detailed on KM: HOWTO56242 - Section 6
  • You may review the environment performance/health by running one of the following tools: SMP Diag or SSE Tools
  1. The 'Revise Software Updates Task' that runs at the end of the Import Patch Data for Windows will update each targeted policy; often this deadlocks and has issues when the policy is bloated.
  • This throws errors (unable to get config xml for advertisement) in the SMP Logs. Working through KM: TECH46342 can assist in resolving this.
  1. Most environments, under normal load, can handle each monthly release in a single Software Update Policy.
  • Example: All of December 2013 can be put into a Software Update Policy; name 'December 2013' but months like October 2013 may be need multiple policies as it had MS13-081 (houses 114 updates for English only) and that will be something like 'Oct 2013-A' for MS13-081 and 'Oct 2013-B' for the remaining Software Bulletins released that month.

Caution: Anomalies in targeting have been found when the same Software Update Policy is used for different deployments. It appears the targeting source code gets corrupt when all of the bulletins are swapped out, and the guids and resource associations are not updated. This is not a reproducable BUG; however, the misbehavior has been seen by support and therefore it is recommended to disable any unwanted Software Update Policies, allow for all targeted clients to update configuration to receive changes in policy status, and then delete the policy. Create new Software Update Policies for each bulletin package deployment.

  • Example: Created a Software Update Policy for December rollout, and then removed the bulletins, added January's bulletins and deployed them, then removed January's bulletins and added February's bulletins and deployed them.

Avisory: As of October 2016; Microsoft has changed the Software Update delivery method to include all monthly releases in a Cumulative Monthly Rollup as outlined in INFO3895.