Fix for Windows Server 2016 Stuck at “Downloading 0%” from WSUS server – UpdateServiceUrlAlternate Registry Key

I ran into an issue recently with our Windows Server 2016 servers not installing their updates. Instead, all our 2016 servers would get stuck with the message “Updates are available. Downloading updates 0%” however they would never actually download the updates. These servers were configured to our WSUS server, which was also a Server 2016 machine.

The first thing I investigated was to look at the logs on the client server. I tried using the Get-WindowsUpdateLog cmdlet in Powershell, however, the log that was generated was useless because every line had no date and no format information (what the hell, Microsoft!). The logs look like this:

1601/01/01 09:30:00.0000000 872   1104                  Unknown( 39): GUID=50a5ef43-b2b6-3c52-145b-a386d8769665 (No Format Information found).
1601/01/01 09:30:00.0000000 872   1104                  Unknown( 38): GUID=50a5ef43-b2b6-3c52-145b-a386d8769665 (No Format Information found).
1601/01/01 09:30:00.0000000 872   1104                  Unknown( 34): GUID=7b9bf239-47b9-3688-3a9e-14f09f262608 (No Format Information found).
1601/01/01 09:30:00.0000000 872   1104                  Unknown( 39): GUID=50a5ef43-b2b6-3c52-145b-a386d8769665 (No Format Information found).
1601/01/01 09:30:00.0000000 872   1104                  Unknown( 38): GUID=50a5ef43-b2b6-3c52-145b-a386d8769665 (No Format Information found).
1601/01/01 09:30:00.0000000 872   1104                  Unknown( 34): GUID=7b9bf239-47b9-3688-3a9e-14f09f262608 (No Format Information found).
1601/01/01 09:30:00.0000000 872   1104                  Unknown( 39): GUID=50a5ef43-b2b6-3c52-145b-a386d8769665 (No Format Information found).

However, after investigating the registry keys on one of our servers, I saw a new registry key that I didn’t recognise, UpdateServiceUrlAlternate. See this dump from Powershell:

PS C:\Users\me\Desktop> ls HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\


    Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows


Name                           Property
----                           --------
Appx
BITS                           EnableBitsMaxBandwidth     : 0
                               MaxBandwidthValidFrom      : 9
                               MaxBandwidthValidTo        : 17
                               MaxTransferRateOnSchedule  : 1000
                               MaxTransferRateOffSchedule : 9999
CurrentVersion
DataCollection
EnhancedStorageDevices         TCGSecurityActivationDisabled : 0
IPSec
Network Connections            NC_PersonalFirewallConfig : 0
NetworkConnectivityStatusIndic (default) :
ator
NetworkProvider
safer
SettingSync                    EnableBackupForWin8Apps : 1
System
WcmSvc
WindowsUpdate                  UpdateServiceUrlAlternate                    : http://localhost:8005
                               WUServer                                     : http://wsusserver.domainname.au:8530
                               WUStatusServer                               : http://wsus.domainname.au:8530
                               ElevateNonAdmins                             : 0
                               DoNotConnectToWindowsUpdateInternetLocations : 1
                               TargetGroupEnabled                           : 1
                               TargetGroup                                  : Auto Patch2
WorkplaceJoin                  (default) :
WSDAPI

After investigating this for a while, I found that the UpdateServiceUrlAlternate is a new setting introduced in the 2017 January update for Windows 10 1607 (and Server 2016, it would seem). For more details, see the Microsoft Documentation for UpdateServiceUrlAlternate.

We discovered that we had not been setting this with our current Group Policy, because we were using ADMX templates that were released before this was added. After updating our ADMX templates and setting that value to nothing, the updates download and install correctly again.

One Reply to “Fix for Windows Server 2016 Stuck at “Downloading 0%” from WSUS server – UpdateServiceUrlAlternate Registry Key”

  1. Thank you! After updating the ADMX templates on our domain controller Server 2016 finally started to download updates.

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