I recently received an email from one of my readers who asked if there would be a secure way to update a Windows XP installation that already had service pack 2 installed with the latest patches issues by Microsoft in the months after the second service pack was released. His main concerns were about WGA, Windows Genuine Advantage. He did not like the fact that data was sent from his computer to Microsoft.
Fortunately for him there is indeed an easy method to upgrade Windows XP without contacting a Microsoft server at all. This of course is only half the truth, some software products like IE7 and Windows Media Player 11 contact Microsoft during installation. You can either use one of the techniques described in my posts to avoid this or choose to not install those programs.
The current Autopatcher file size is about 350 megabytes in size for Windows XP and can be downloaded from the Autopatcher homepage. I suggest you use a torrent or a mirror to ease the load on the main servers. You also find versions for Windows 2000 and 2003.
Download the full Autopatcher release for your language and after that the smaller update for January. Install both on your computer and run the application afterwards. The difference between full and lite versions is that some third party products (e.g. Java from Sun) have been removed from the package, all Microsoft patches are still inside.
Autopatcher scans your system and displays a list of patches that could be installed. The following categories exist:
The first three are automatically (partially) selected. I would advise to check the patches manually and remove everything that seems unnecessary. Click on Update after you have made your selections and Autopatcher will update your system.
Autopatcher is great if you have to update more than one operating system. Instead of downloading all the patches several times you do it once. Great time saver.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.