Troubleshoot Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) synchronization and import issues - Configuration Manager (2024)

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Applies to: Windows Server Update Services

Starting in July 2020, users have experienced WSUS synchronization and import problems with the Windows Update (WU) or Microsoft Update (MU) endpoints.

This article describes how to troubleshoot some common problems. You can use some of these troubleshooting techniques (such as network captures) for many other issues, too.

Endpoints

Currently WSUS uses the following endpoints to synchronize metadata:

  • https://sws.update.microsoft.com

    Most WSUS servers should synchronize with this new endpoint. Starting from July 2020, this endpoint accepts only Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 connections. And some ciphers were disabled.

  • https://sws1.update.microsoft.com

    This old endpoint will be decommissioned eventually. For more information, see End of synchronization for WSUS 3.0 SP2. This endpoint supports TLS 1.2, TLS 1.1, and TLS 1.0 connections.

  • https://fe2.update.microsoft.com

    This old endpoint is decommissioned as a WSUS synchronization endpoint, and connections to it will fail. However, Windows Update clients configured to synchronize with Microsoft Update may continue to use this endpoint.

When you experience WSUS synchronization or manual import problems, first check which endpoint you're synchronizing with:

  1. Open an elevated PowerShell Command Prompt window on the WSUS server.

  2. To find the current synchronization endpoint, run the following PowerShell script:

    $server = Get-WsusServer$config = $server.GetConfiguration()# Check current settings before you change them $config.MUUrl

Windows Server 2012 and later versions should be configured to use the https://sws.update.microsoft.com endpoint. If you're still using https://sws1.update.microsoft.com or https://fe2.update.microsoft.com, change to the new endpoint by following the steps in WSUS synchronization fails with SoapException. If necessary, troubleshoot connection issues with the https://sws.update.microsoft.com endpoint.

Issue 1: Manual import fails, but synchronization succeeds

Many users import updates into WSUS manually, and some updates must be imported manually. For example, preview updates that are released in the third and fourth weeks of the month must be manually imported. Starting at the end of July 2020, you might have found you can't manually import updates.

Troubleshoot Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) synchronization and import issues - Configuration Manager (1)

However, some WSUS servers can still import updates successfully. And the usual synchronization with WU and MU continues to work.

This issue occurs on WSUS servers that are running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2019.

Troubleshoot issue 1

  1. Run the PowerShell script in Endpoints to determine which endpoints the WSUS servers use. You'll probably find that working servers are communicating with https://fe2.update.microsoft.com or https://sws1.update.microsoft.com, and failing servers are communicating with https://sws.update.microsoft.com.

  2. Check the %Program Files%\Update Services\LogFiles\SoftwareDistribution.log file for errors when you manually import updates. Look for errors that resemble the following example:

    ProcessWebServiceProxyException found Exception was WebException. Action: Retry. Exception Details: System.Net.WebException: The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a send. ---> System.IO.IOException: Unable to read data from the transport connection: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host. ---> System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host at System.Net.Sockets.NetworkStream.Read(Byte[] buffer, Int32 offset, Int32 size) -- End of inner exception stack trace --- ... at System.Net.TlsStream.ProcessAuthentication(LazyAsyncResult result) at System.Net.TlsStream.Write(Byte[] buffer, Int32 offset, Int32 size) at System.Net.PooledStream.Write(Byte[] buffer, Int32 offset, Int32 size) at System.Net.ConnectStream.WriteHeaders(Boolean async)

The following message in the error indicates that the WSUS server tried to connect with WU/MU by using TLS, but WU/MU closed the connection:

An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host.

The following screenshot shows a network capture of the connection attempt.

In the network capture, frame 874 is the Client Hello packet that uses TLS 1.0. Frame 877 is the server response. The response includes the ACK (A) and RST (R) flags. Because the https://sws.update.microsoft.com endpoint supports only TLS 1.2 connections, it denies the connection, and issues a reset response.

Resolution for issue 1

This issue occurs because WSUS import functionality can't use TLS 1.2.

To fix this issue, use one of the following methods:

  • Configure .NET Framework to use TLS 1.2 by using registry keys.

    To set the registry keys, see Configure for strong cryptography. Restart the server after you set the registry keys.

  • Create or update the w3wp.exe.config file to enable TLS 1.2.

    Note

    This change will apply to all w3wp.exe instances that are created, regardless of whether they are for WSUS. W3wp.exe uses TLS 1.2 if the remote side supports this version. If TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.0 are enabled, W3wp.exe negotiates these protocols if the target site doesn't support TLS 1.2.

    If the %SystemRoot%\system32\inetsrv\w3wp.exe.config file doesn't exist, follow these steps:

    1. Create a new file that's named W3wp.exe.config in the %SystemRoot%\system32\inetsrv folder.

    2. Open the file in a text editor, such as Notepad.

    3. Add the following lines to the file, and then save the file:

      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><configuration> <runtime> <AppContextSwitchOverrides value="Switch.System.Net.DontEnableSystemDefaultTlsVersions=false"/> </runtime></configuration>

    If the %SystemRoot%\system32\inetsrv\w3wp.exe.config file already exists, follow these steps:

    1. Open the file in Notepad, or another text editor.

    2. Add the following lines immediately under the <configuration> element, and then save the file:

      <runtime> <AppContextSwitchOverrides value="Switch.System.Net.DontEnableSystemDefaultTlsVersions=false"/></runtime>

    After you create or update the W3wp.exe.config file, open an elevated Command Prompt window, and then run iisreset to restart all worker processes. Test whether manual import now works.

Issue 2: Manual import fails after you disable TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.0

TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.0 are being phased out because they're considered insecure. After you disable these protocols, you can no longer import updates. However, synchronization continues to work.

This issue occurs on WSUS servers that are running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2019.

Troubleshoot issue 2

WSUS logs which SSL/TLS versions are enabled when it starts. To determine the SSL/TLS versions, follow these steps:

  1. Restart the WSUS service.

  2. Run iisreset at an elevated command prompt to force WSUS to go through the startup sequence.

  3. Open the WSUS console, and connect to the server.

  4. Open %Program Files%\Update Services\LogFiles\SoftwareDistribution.log, look for entries that start at SCHANNEL Protocol. You should see entries that resemble the following example:

    SCHANNEL Protocol 'TLS 1.0' disabledSCHANNEL Protocol 'TLS 1.1' disabledSCHANNEL Protocols subkey for 'TLS 1.2' not found. Protocol is enabled

    These entries show that TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.0 are disabled, and TLS 1.2 is enabled.

If the import process fails, SoftwareDistribution.log logs the following error entry:

ProcessWebServiceProxyException found Exception was WebException. Action: Retry. Exception Details: System.Net.WebException: The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a receive. ---> System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The client and server cannot communicate, because they do not possess a common algorithm

The following screenshot shows a network capture of the connection attempt.

In the network capture, frames 1518-1520 show the three-way handshake (SYN, SYN ACK, ACK) between the client and server. Frame 1536 is an ACK FIN packet from the WSUS server.

WSUS closes the connection, because all protocols it knows how to use for import (SSL3, TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1) are disabled and it can't use TLS 1.2.

Resolution for issue 2

This issue is similar to issue 1, in which WSUS import can't use TLS 1.2. To fix this issue, use Resolution for issue 1.

Issue 3: Synchronization fails on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 WSUS servers that apply only security-only updates

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 servicing contain the following update tracks:

  • A security-only update, which isn't cumulative. It contains only security fixes. For example, June 9, 2020—KB4561673 (Security-only update).
  • A Monthly Rollup, which is cumulative. It contains all security fixes from the security-only update, and also contains non-security fixes. For example, June 9, 2020—KB4561666 (Monthly Rollup).

WSUS on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 can't use TLS 1.2 for synchronization unless one of the following Monthly Rollups or a later Monthly Rollup is installed:

  • June 27, 2017—KB4022721 (Preview of Monthly Rollup) for Windows Server 2012
  • June 27, 2017—KB4022720 (Preview of Monthly Rollup) for Windows Server 2012 R2

The change that enables WSUS to use TLS 1.2 is a non-security fix, it's included only in the Monthly Rollups.

Some users opt to install only the security-only updates and never install the Monthly Rollups. Therefore, their WSUS servers don't have the update that enables TLS 1.2 installed. After the https://sws.update.microsoft.com endpoint is changed to accept only TLS 1.2 connections, these WSUS servers can no longer synchronize with the endpoint. This issue also occurs on a freshly installed Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 WSUS server that hasn't installed any Monthly Rollups.

Troubleshoot issue 3

If the WSUS server has the correct updates installed, WSUS will log which SSL/TLS versions are enabled when it starts. Follow these steps on the WSUS server:

  1. Restart the WSUS service.

  2. Run iisreset from an elevated command prompt to force WSUS to go through the startup sequence.

  3. Open the WSUS console, and connect to the server.

  4. Open %Program Files%\Update Services\LogFiles\SoftwareDistribution.log, search for entries that start with SCHANNEL Protocol. You should see entries that resemble the following example:

    SCHANNEL Protocol 'TLS 1.0' disabledSCHANNEL Protocol 'TLS 1.1' disabledSCHANNEL Protocols subkey for 'TLS 1.2' not found. Protocol is enabled

    If you can't find these entries, it means the update that enables TLS 1.2 isn't installed.

When synchronization fails, SoftwareDistribution.log logs the following error message:

WebServiceCommunicationHelper.ProcessWebServiceProxyException ProcessWebServiceProxyException found Exception was WebException. Action: Retry. Exception Details: System.Net.WebException: The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a send. ---> System.IO.IOException: Unable to read data from the transport connection: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host. ---> System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host at System.Net.Sockets.NetworkStream.Read(Byte[] buffer, Int32 offset, Int32 size)

The following screenshot shows a network capture of the connection attempt.

In the network capture, frame 95 is the Client Hello packet that uses TLS 1.0. Frame 96 is the RST packet from https://sws.update.microsoft.com. Because the endpoint supports only TLS 1.2 connections, it denies the connection, and then issues a reset response. The WSUS server will try several times before it gives up. Therefore, this sequence is repeated.

Resolution for issue 3

To fix this issue, install the latest Monthly Rollup for Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2. Also apply Resolution for issue 1 to prevent the manual import failure.

Issue 4: Synchronization fails after July 2020 if WSUS is integrated with Configuration Manager

Many WSUS installations are integrated with Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager software update points (SUPs). After July 2020, you may experience synchronization failures if Configuration Manager is configured to synchronize Surface drivers.

This issue occurs on WSUS servers that are running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2019.

Troubleshoot issue 4

When this issue occurs, entries that resemble the following example are logged in Wsyncmgr.log:

Calling ImportUpdateFromCatalogSite for driver update GUIDsGeneric exception : ImportUpdateFromCatalogSite failed. Arg = 001d4517-c586-4bb1-9e66-ed6ff8e8d34f. Error =The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a receive.Generic exception : ImportUpdateFromCatalogSite failed. Arg = 0037641d-bb9b-4530-9568-11e413223106. Error =The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a receive.

Also, the %Program Files\Update Services\LogFiles\SoftwareDistribution.log file logs the following errors:

ProcessWebServiceProxyException found Exception was WebException. Action: Retry. Exception Details: System.Net.WebException: The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a receive. ---> System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: The client and server cannot communicate, because they do not possess a common algorithm

These errors indicate that the connection was closed. This issue occurs because Configuration Manager uses the WSUS import functionality. Therefore, it has the same limitations.

Resolution for issue 4

To fix this issue, use Resolution for issue 1.

Issue 5: Synchronization fails after July 2020 because of limited ciphers

You may disable various ciphers to secure TLS connections. Starting from July 2020, your WSUS servers can no longer synchronize with WU/MU. Also, when https://sws.update.microsoft.com is changed to accept only TLS 1.2 connections, some ciphers are removed.

This issue occurs on WSUS servers that are running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2019.

Troubleshoot issue 5

The %Program Files\Update Services\LogFiles\SoftwareDistribution.log file logs the following errors when synchronizing:

ProcessWebServiceProxyException found Exception was WebException. Action: Retry. Exception Details: System.Net.WebException: The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a send. ---> System.IO.IOException: Unable to read data from the transport connection: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host. ---> System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host

However, these entries aren't useful to determine whether you have a cipher problem.

In this situation, use a network capture, or check the applied Group Policy Objects (GPOs). To check the applied GPOs, run the following command at an elevated command prompt:

gpresult /scope computer /h GPReport.html

Open GPReport.html in a browser.

Search for SSL Cipher Suite Order, and the SSL Cipher Suites setting. Usually this setting isn't configured. If it's configured, the issue may occur because there's no common cipher with WU/MU.

As of August 2020, https://sws.update.microsoft.com supports the following ciphers:

  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256

Note

This list will change over time because ciphers will gradually grow weaker as technology improves.

If the GPO is applied, and it doesn't specify one of these ciphers, communication with WU/MU fails.

The following screenshot shows a network capture.

In the network capture, frame 400 is the Client Hello packet that uses TLS 1.2. The frame detail shows which ciphers were sent by the client. Frame 404 is the RST packet from https://sws.update.microsoft.com. Because there's no common cipher, the synchronization fails.

Resolution for issue 5

To fix this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Use the output of gpresult to determine the GPO that specifies the SSL Cipher Suite Order, and then remove the GPO. Or change it to include ciphers that are supported by https://sws.update.microsoft.com.

    For Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019, include one of the following ciphers:

    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384
    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256

    For Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, include one of the following ciphers:

    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384_P256
    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384_P384
    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256_P256
    • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256_P384
  2. If the ciphers aren't set by GPO, locate the following registry subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Cryptography\Configuration\SSL\00010002

    Add one of the required ciphers to the Functions value of the registry key.

  3. Restart the WSUS server.

To prevent manual import failures, also apply Resolution for issue 1.

A successful connection

The following screenshots show a successful connection when a Windows Server 2016 WSUS server synchronizes updates.

In the network capture, frame 191 is the Client Hello packet that uses TLS 1.2. The frame detail shows which ciphers were sent by the client. Frame 195 is the Server Hello packet from the endpoint. The TLSCipherSuite that's chosen by WU is TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384. The server certificate is also sent in the Server Hello packet.

Additional connection setup occurs in frames 196-203. The data transfer by the application (WSUS) and the https://sws.update.microsoft.com endpoint then begins in frame 207.

A note about proxy servers

If you use a proxy server, the network capture will look different. The WSUS server connects to the proxy, and you may see a CONNECT request with the destination https://sws.update.microsoft.com, https://sws1.update.microsoft.com, or https://fe2.update.microsoft.com. WSUS will issue a Client Hello packet with the ciphers it supports. If the connection isn't successful because of wrong TLS version, or if there is no common cipher, you may or may not see an RST packet. Proxies tend to return an FIN to the client to indicate the end of the connection. But this might not be true for every proxy server. Some proxy servers send an RST packet, or something else.

When you use a proxy, you have to know the IP address of the internal interface of the proxy server, because WSUS isn't communicating directly with the WU endpoints. If you can't get the IP address of the proxy server, search the network capture for CONNECT requests, and search for the URL of the Windows Update endpoint.

References

  • WSUS Synchronization fails with SoapException
  • How to enable TLS 1.2 on the site servers and remote site systems
  • TLS registry settings
Troubleshoot Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) synchronization and import issues - Configuration Manager (2024)
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