WSUS: Client machines stop getting updates and return HTTP 404 when attempting to download content

Here’s an interesting issue that Mike Johnson, one of our WSUS Support Escalation Engineers, came across the other day.  If you find that your clients are failing to download content files with an EXE extension you might be running into the same issue.

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Issue: Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) client machines stop getting updates from WSUS and return an HTTP 404 error when attempting to download content.

Troubleshooting: Reviewing the client windowsupdate.log files showed that the clients were failing to download content files if the content file had an EXE extension.  The following was logged for .EXE download requests:

2008-05-20 05:43:31:564 1180 db4 AU # WARNING: Download failed, error = 0x80244019

This error maps to an HTTP 404.  Other content file types downloaded fine.  It was confirmed that .EXE files could be downloaded from other virtual directories and that only the Content in vroot returned a 404 for .EXE downloads.  It was also confirmed that the content files were present in the correct WSUSContent directories.  After changing the path of the Content virtual directory to another location on the drive it was discovered that .EXE files would not download via the new vroot so this isolated the problem to the Content vroot.

Cause: The Execute Permissions for the Content vroot was set to “Scripts and Executables.”  The default “Execute Permissions” for this vroot is “None”.

Resolution: Change the default “Execute Permissions” back to None.  Once you do this content with .EXE extensions should download successfully.

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Hope this helps,

J.C. Hornbeck | Manageability Knowledge Engineer