How to Use Microsoft Windows Update Catalog for Windows Update

By | December 17, 2021

Modern versions of Windows don’t bother checking for system updates. Now Windows makes sure all important updates are installed in the background, so you may not need to intervene other than manual checking for updates.

However, did you know that Microsoft provides another tool for system managers and advanced users to download Windows Updates? It’s called the Microsoft Update Catalog, and it’s free to use if you need it. Let’s see.

What is Microsoft Update Catalog

The Microsoft Update Catalog, also known as the Windows Update Catalog, is a large repository of Windows Updates. You can search it to find all kinds of updates for Windows 10 and older versions manually.

This Windows catalog used to require ActiveX controls, meaning you could only use them in Internet Explorer. ActiveX is Internet Explorer’s system of plugins, notorious for its security concerns. However, Microsoft announced in October 2016 that the service now works in all browsers thanks to the removal of ActiveX from the site.

Microsoft Catalog is Old

When you open the Microsoft Update Catalog, the dated design may bring back memories of using Windows XP. The simple blue background and globe icon definitely fit this era, as it hasn’t seen a refresh in at least a decade.

Indeed, the system checks for updates on the website going back to the old days of Windows. Initially, Windows Update served as a web application that you visited to download and install new updates. Then, Windows starts to include automatic checks for updates so you don’t have to do this.

Even up until Windows XP, clicking the Windows Update option in the Start Menu would open a web application and ask you to check for updates. You can choose Express to only get critical updates, or Custom to see optional updates as well. The site then lets you pick and choose what updates to install to your PC.

Why Download Updates Manually

Despite the aesthetics of the past, the Windows Update Catalog displays the current updates for Windows 10. But you might be wondering why it exists when you can just click Check for updates in the Settings app.

As it turns out, the Update Catalog is primarily intended for business use. This includes tools that system admins can use to deploy updates in a Windows domain enterprise environment.

Home users may not care exactly what updates are installed on their system. But in business, IT professionals need to be smarter. They may decide to pick and choose what updates to install on mission critical systems. Or they may have to roll back the faulty update and just manually reinstall it later.

Manual Update for Home Users

However, this does not mean that the site is useless outside of company use. Advanced home users can still use the Update Catalog to install individual updates when needed.

Maybe you have a specific problem with your computer that is solved by a certain update, but Windows Update will not send the patch to your PC. Or maybe you want to install the update on an older machine that doesn’t have access to the internet. In either case, downloading from the Windows Update Catalog is the solution.

Notably, Microsoft claims on its Download Center homepage that it now only offers Windows Updates for download on the Update Catalog. It used to offer individual downloads on Microsoft’s main website but has discontinued this in favor of keeping everything in one place. You’ll still find some older updates there.
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How to Use the Microsoft Update Catalog

Open the Microsoft Update Catalog in any browser to get started. Use the search bar at the top right of the screen. You can search for general terms like Windows Vista or Security here, but those will likely return thousands of results.

The most useful way to search the Update Catalog is by KB number. Every Windows Update has a number associated with it, such as KB4346087. Searching for this will return far fewer results.

Click an update title in the list to see details. It will display the last modified date, update size, and more. On the Package Details tab, you can see which updates were replaced.

The service also has an RSS option to notify you when new updates arrive according to your criteria. However, it only worked in Internet Explorer in our tests.

Look closely at the operating system and version for updates. Find out if you are using Windows 64-bit or 32-bit; remember that x64 updates for 64-bit and x86 for 32-bit systems. Multiple patches with identical numbers are available for more than one version of Windows. And for Windows 10, you have to make sure that your version number matches the one in the update.

Visit Settings > System > About on Windows 10 to check this information.

Downloading Updates from Update Catalog

Once you have decided on the update, click on the Download button on the right side. This will bring up a new window with a referensi to download the update. Just click on this text and choose a place to save it on your PC as usual.

Files ending with MSU are simple installers. Double-click to open it, then follow the prompts to install it on your system.

If your file ends in CAB, which is often the culprit for drivers, it’s in an archive format and you should extract it before using it. Check out the best file extraction software if you don’t already have a tool like this installed.

After extracting the drivers, you may need to manually update them via Device Manager. Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager to open it, then locate the driver you want to update and double-click it. On the Driver tab, click Update Driver > Browse my computer for driver software.

Once the update is complete, you may need to restart your system to apply it.

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