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Force BITS to download WSUS updates in the foreground in Windows Server

When WSUS downloads are slow

WSUS uses BITS for downloading updates, and it does so in background mode. Unfortunately, this utilizes remaining bandwidth of the server instead of its full capacity. To speed up WSUS downloads, you can configure BITS in WSUS to use foreground priority.

When to use foreground or background BITS priority

The default Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) mode for WSUS is background priority mode. As written in Microsoft Docs:

Unless the job is time critical or the user is actively waiting, you should always use a background priority. However, there are times when you may want to switch from background priority to foreground priority.

Best Practices When Using BITS

If you feel your WSUS updates download take too long to complete, you can switch to foreground priority. This may speed up WSUS.

Speed up WSUS update downloads by switching to BITS foreground priority

So, to speed up the download of WSUS updates through BITS, configure it to foreground priority. In Powershell you can do this quite easily:

$Configuration=(Get-WSUSServer).GetConfiguration() $Configuration.BitsDownloadPriorityForeground=$True $Configuration.Save() (get-wsusserver).GetConfiguration()

Whenever you want to switch back to normal background BITS priority, set BitsDownloadPriorityForeground back to $false.

You can get its current value using:


This will show you whether the setting has been enabled (True) or not (False).

Psst, here’s a neat little PowerShell script to automatically install Servicing Stack Updates in your AD domain.

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