Our last review of WSUS Offline Update dates back almost two years and yesterday's release of version 8.0 is enough motivation to post an updated review here on the site. WSUS Offline Update is a free portable program for Windows that you can use to download all updates released for a particular version of Windows. This is interesting for a number of reasons, the core being that it enables you to have all Windows updates and patches as executable files on your system, so that you can easily distribute the updates to connected machines or burn them to disc to have them ready whenever you receive a tech support call from a friend, family or client.
Version 8.0 introduces support for Microsoft's recently released Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 operating systems which improves compatibility further. The latest version supports the following operating systems:
The program interface has not changed much. You can start it right after you have downloaded the program to your system and unpacked it there. The top half of the screen displays the supported operating system versions. To download all updates for a system check its box to do so.
I suggest you check out the options underneath the operating systems list first before you hit on the start button. The program includes service packs, if available, in the download. You can optionally add Microsoft Security Essentials, C++ Runtime Libraries, Microsoft .Net Framework updates and Windows Defender definitions in the downloads as well.
Note that downloads may take quite some time considering that they can easily be larger than 1 Gigabyte in size in total. The 64-bit Windows 7 update download for instance had a size of 1.99 Gigabyte.
The program verifies all update downloads by default which takes additional time and is set to happen once the downloads are finished. You can uncheck the option if you are in a hurry but I would not recommend that as you may end up with a broken update without owing that.
Updates are only downloaded to the local system by default - into the client sub directory - but not processed in any other way. If you are low on disk space, move the program to a partition or disk with enough space to store the selected updates.
You can configure WSUS Offline Update to create an ISO image instead which may be the more comfortable option, especially if you plan to burn the updates to disc anyway. If you prefer to use an USB Flash drive, you can copy the updates to it as well.
The download of Windows updates is the core feature of the product for obvious reasons, but it is not the only one. You can switch to the Office tab to download updates for Office 2007 and 2010 using the very same methodology. Office 2012 is missing at the time of writing but it is likely that it will be added in a future update by the authors of the program. The legacy products tab finally displays options to download Windows XP or Office 2003 updates as well.
Here is a short selection of the biggest changes in the release:
If you want to download all official Microsoft Windows or Office updates then WSUS Offline Update is one of your best options. It is ideal for distribution and the creation of an update DVD or Flash drive. The latest version can be downloaded from the project website.
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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.