Software Update Content Cleanup in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

Software Update Content Cleanup in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

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Aug 13, 2015 - cleanup script updated to fix reported issues

In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, we’ve added the capability to automatically remove software update content from distribution points when that content is related to expired updates.  This process helps manage drive space on your distribution points by removing any content you no longer need. It’s particularly helpful for Endpoint Protection definition updates, given their frequency of release, deployment, and expiration.  In this blog, I’m going to walk you through exactly how the process works, and I’m also going to provide a script you can use to clean up source locations related to obsolete updates, as our out-of-box process does not manage source content.

Expired Updates and Deployments

The first part of the process for managing content related to expired updates is getting expired updates out of any deployed update groups.  First, we never delete any expired update associated with an active deployment, as we don’t want to remove anything associated with your deployments.  It could be disconcerting if updates simply disappeared from your deployments and you had no idea why, so we just don’t do it.  The step to make expired updates removable, however, is straightforward, and it should be part of a monthly process.  To remove expired updates from all deployments in only a couple of clicks, do the following.  Note:  When using Auto Deployment Rules to deliver definition updates, where you should be re-using the same update group each time the rule runs, expired updates are automatically removed from the update group each time the rule runs.

  1. Navigate to the All Software Updates node under Software Library, and search for all expired updates.


  2. Add the value for expired updates to search, leave the default value as “Yes”, and click search.
  3. The search results will include all of your expired updates, so simply select all updates in the list view (CTRL+A), right-click, and choose Edit Membership.


  4. You will then see a list of all Update Groups where any of the selected updates from the list view are members. Simply uncheck the selected check boxes.

  5. Click OK to remove all of the expired updates from the selected Update Groups, and they’ll be ready for deletion through the process outlined in the next step.

The Delete-Expired-Updates Process

Next, there are four phases to removing expired updates and its related content, and those are:  the expiration action, tomb-stoning, deletion, and then source cleanup, which is a scripted action.  At a high level, updates that have been expired and that aren’t part of an active deployment will be deleted 7 days after they are expired.  There is no specific or configurable maintenance task to do this—it’s an automated process that crosses multiple ConfigMgr components.   Let’s walk through the process at a detailed level so you understand how it works.

  1. When a full software update point synchronization runs, updates are expired.  A full software update point synchronization is a scheduled synchronization, not one initiated through the console, which is a delta synchronization.  Only full/scheduled synchronizations expire updates.
  2. Full synchronizations expire updates for the following reasons:
    1. Updates expired by the publisher.
    2. Updates superseded by the publisher (and outside of the “keep superseded updates” time that you configured for the software update point).
    3. Updates declined or missing from WSUS. 
  3. You can see expiration activity in logs, through wsyncmgr.log.  Look for a line in the log that looks like the following:

    Removed 106 unreferenced updates     SMS_WSUS_SYNC_MANAGER  3/30/2012 12:06:15 AM

  4. Expired updates still show up in the console, but they are marked as expired, and have the following icon showing this state:  They will remain in the console for 7 days following expiration, where the next process around cleanup starts.
  5. After 7 days, expired updates that are not associated with active deployments, are tomb-stoned.  This means they are no longer visible in the UI.  Again, use wsyncmgr.log to view the removal of these updates:

    Deleting old expired updates... SMS_WSUS_SYNC_MANAGER  3/30/2012 12:06:16 AM
    Deleted 80 expired updates        SMS_WSUS_SYNC_MANAGER  3/30/2012 12:06:20 AM
    Deleted 80 expired updates total             SMS_WSUS_SYNC_MANAGER  3/30/2012 12:06:20 AM

  6. Next, object replication manager is notified of deletions through .CIN notification files dropped into the

    Found notification file C:\Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\inboxes\\16824032.CIN     SMS_OBJECT_REPLICATION_MANAGER                3/30/2012 12:06:11 AM
    Completed processing CIN notification files SMS_OBJECT_REPLICATION_MANAGER                3/30/2012 12:07:31 AM
    Successfully deleted SoftwareUpdate 3da7abb4-d643-422c-9e6d-a5f838fb71a1                SMS_OBJECT_REPLICATION_MANAGER               3/30/2012 12:07:32 AM

  7. Finally, distribution manager checks every hour, and removes any Distribution Point content associated with update CIs that have been deleted by objreplmgr.
  8. Now that both metadata and distributed content for expired updates has been removed, we need to go ahead and cleanup the source directory, which can be done with the script at the end of this blog.
  9. You can use the VBS script attached to this post, and run it on the top-level site server (CAS or standalone Primary Site).  Some notes on the script:
    1. Make sure you have rights to the content source (from the site server you are running the script on).
    2. The script deletes source content for any update that no longer has an associated CI.
    3. The source directory cleanup will not necessarily map to date-time stamps in the source directory.  Some binaries are chained to other binaries, for which there may still be a CI reference in the database.  In other words, if you cleanup Endpoint Protection definitions, yet the source directory still has files and folders older than 7 days, then those files still have active CIs and are needed (don’t delete them manually).
    4. Finally, the script looks for source content that is definitively not needed by a referencing CI, and it removes just that source content.

Wrapping Up

Expired update and associated content cleanup in Configuration Manager 2012 is a built-in mechanism to help keep your console, database, distribution points and (with the script) source directories as clean as possible.  Hopefully, you better understand the manual steps required to do this, as well as how all of the automated pieces work together to manage expired updates and content.

--Jason Githens

And now a word from our lawyers: the attached content is not for production use; it is a sample for evaluation only and thus subject to the Microsoft Limited Public License (see Exhibit B of the TechNet Terms of Use). This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confers no rights.

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  • Finally Someone has answered my calls.....i have been waiting for this for sooooooo long. it is going to make life easier in ConfigMgr. thanks again.

  • Thanks for that script. But unfortunately, when I start it I have the following failure:

    Error: Unexpected ‘Next’

    Code: 800A041F

    It the next after:

    if foldersToDelete.Exists(i.ContentSubFolder) then


  • JBAB - it looks like the formating of that script is all messed up.  It added Line Returns where they should not be.  

    The original line was:

    if foldersToDelete.Exists(i.ContentSubFolder) then foldersToDelete.Remove(i.ContentSubFolder)

    With a Line Return it must have an End If like this:

    if foldersToDelete.Exists(i.ContentSubFolder) then


    end if

    Scanning through the code I don't see any other problems like this.  But to fix yours either put that all on one line or add the End If.


  • I take my No More Line issues comment back (for IF statements it is true but not other statements).

    Here are all the lines that should be 1 line to make the script work properly

    for each i in WMI.ExecQuery("select pc.* from SMS_PackageToContent pc left join

    SMS_CIToContent cc on cc.ContentID=pc.ContentID where pc.PackageID=""" & Pkg.PackageID & """ and

    cc.ContentID is null")

    for each i in WMI.ExecQuery("select pc.* from SMS_PackageToContent pc where

    pc.PackageID=""" & Pkg.PackageID & """")

    if foldersToDelete.Exists(i.ContentSubFolder) then


    case "window": if IsObject(logWindow) then

    logWindow.document.all.logLines.innerHtml = logWindow.document.all.logLines.innerHTML & msg &


    set logWindow = WScript.CreateObject("InternetExplorer.Application",


    .document.body.innerHTML = "<div id=""logLines""

    style='"font:10pt sans-serif;text-align:left;"" />"

    ' provide a way of terminating the script in windowed mode - closing the log window will

    terminate the script

    Make all of these lines 1 line long with proper spacing and the script will run fine.


  • Hi Scott

    Thank you very much for your help. It's now working :)

    Just a small correction:


    .document.body.innerHTML = "<div id=""logLines""

    style='"font:10pt sans-serif;text-align:left;"" />"

    should be:

    .document.body.innerHTML = "<div id=""logLines"" style=""font:10pt sans-serif;text-align:left;"" />"

    "" instead of '" after style=


  • Would it be possible to either attach a copy of this script on here or email it to me? I can't get mine to work and I think it is because of extra line breaks that the web page is putting in it.

  • Thanks all.  I have updated the post with the locations where line breaks were added in the script. Please removed the line breaks and the script should work.  I've also fixed the quotation problem mentioned by JBAB.

  • Great blog, great script.  Just tried out the script and it worked fine after deleting all occurrences of [CR]

  • Can this be run as a scheduled task? It seems like the logging causes an IE window to stay running after the script executes.

  • This is a great post. I have an issue with using an ADR to deploy SCEP defs. You mentioned that if we use an ADR the expired content is removed from the update group which I can see. It does not remove it from the package source however. Is there any way to do this?

  • @ Sandy - The script provided here does the source cleanup (step 8 in the blog).

  • Excellent content - thanks!

  • excellent thing, it works both in CM 2012 and in 2007

  • Thanks for the script.  I'm having a problem - When I run it, I get a window that says

    Line: 21

    Char: 1

    Error: Not supported

    Code: 8004100C

    Source: SWbemObjectEx

    any ideas?

    Thanks for any help,


  • Script doesnt work for me ether. Fails on line 19. Can you post somewhere? You have no idea how bad I want to clean up my source directories. Its a shame that the product doesn't do this btw.