Fixing Failed to Start and Configure the WSUS Service in Windows Server 2012 R2

I upgraded one Windows Server 2008 R2 machine to Windows Server 2012 R2 the other day and had a bit hard time getting WSUS to work again. WSUS is now part of Windows Server 2012 family serving as a role, instead of a standalone software that needs to be installed separately in previous Windows.

After I successfully added WSUS as a service role to the server, I need to run the Post-installation process to complete the whole installation. And that’s where the issue started.

Fatal Error: Failed to start and configure the WSUS service

After looking at the log file indicated in the Notification window, here is what I found:

2016-12-21 10:06:27  CreateDefaultSubscription failed. Exception: System.InvalidOperationException: Client found response content type of 'text/html; charset=utf-8', but expected 'text/xml'.
The request failed with the error message:
        <title>Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.UpdateServices.WebServices.ApiRemoting' or one of its dependencies. This assembly is built by a runtime newer than the currently loaded runtime and cannot be loaded.</title>
         body {font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;font-size: .7em;color:black;} 
         p {font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;color:black;margin-top: -5px}
         b {font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:bold;color:black;margin-top: -5px}
         H1 { font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;font-size:18pt;color:red }
         H2 { font-family:"Verdana";font-weight:normal;font-size:14pt;color:maroon }
         pre {font-family:"Lucida Console";font-size: .9em}
         .marker {font-weight: bold; color: black;text-decoration: none;}
         .version {color: gray;}
         .error {margin-bottom: 10px;}
         .expandable { text-decoration:underline; font-weight:bold; color:navy; cursor:hand; }

It took me at least one hour to finally figure it out. It’s basically the setup in Application Pools in IIS that messed things up. To fix it up, open IIS Manager, head over to Application Pool, and set WsusPool to use .Net v4.0 instead of v2.0 in my case.

Once done, I started the Post-installation again and it went all the way to the end successfully without any further issues.

On another note, there is another different error that also causes post-installation to fail.

CreateDefaultSubscription failed. Exception: System.Net.WebException: The request failed with HTTP status 503: Service Unavailable.

If that’s the case for you, all you need to do is to remove WSUS Administration site in IIS and start the post-installation process again.

That’s about it. Hopefully, it helps.

32 thoughts on “Fixing Failed to Start and Configure the WSUS Service in Windows Server 2012 R2

  1. Thank you so much, i had search for this problem so long. I had upgraded the Server from 2008 to 2012 (new installation not possible there are too many programs would reinstall from the publishers self) after then WSUS post install give errors and errors and errors. now it works fine!!!! Greetings from Germany.
    Thank you!!!

  2. it ‘s working for me on windows server 2016 Datacenter .
    although default application pool was using .net 4 but deleting the WSUS administration site fix the problem . tnx 🙂

  3. removing WSUS admin service obliterates WSUS… redoing the postinstall does not bring it back. “C:\Program Files\Update Services\Tools\Wsusutil.exe” postinstall /servicing <—– this doesn't work

  4. thanks much. your second answer about deleting the WSUS Administration site worked. I’d like to buy you a virtual BEvERage!

  5. Thank you kind sir!

    I removed the “WSUS Administration” site in IIS and then re-ran the post-installation task.. successfully!!

  6. Thanks for saving my butt. I was going to scrap my upgraded server and do a clean install. You saved me a few hours of work. The first option worked for me.

  7. I upgraded my WSUS server from server 2016 to server 2022 and had WSUS post installation error “Exception: System.Net.WebException”. I tried so many solutions with no success.

    The second option in – removing the WSUS Administration in IIS – worked perfectly for me.

    Thank you for this post.

  8. Thanks. It working after delete the WSUS administration. Just restart IIS after delete the WSUS administration and make sure the share folder for WSUS DB correctly configured. Open back WSUS and run the post installation.

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