All four will feed off the same software update infrastructure and grab code from the same back-end software catalog, simplifying the process and making it consistent for consumers and IT professionals, said Gordon Mangione, vice president of Microsoft's security business and technology unit.
Microsoft Update, the successor to the existing Windows Update service, will provide updates from various Microsoft products, not just Windows, and is aimed primarily at home users and small businesses.
Like Microsoft Update, WSUS also offers patches for Windows operating systems as well as Office XP and 2003, SQL Server, Microsoft Desktop Engine, Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2003 products, Microsoft has said in the past.
Meanwhile, SMS is Microsoft's enterprise change and configuration management product, which is also used for patching.
When scanning for patch requirements with Windows Update, SMS and the Baseline Security Analyzer, users sometimes get different results, and this new unified approach is designed to address that problem, Microsoft has said.