Usually when we create a secure network, we place computers outside the Internet zone. It then becomes hard to update the computer as Windows Update requires an Internet connection, and Microsoft does not provide a straightforward way to install Windows updates without being connected. In this article, we will discuss the Portable Update utility through which we will be able to download Windows updates offline and then install on multiple computers without downloading the updates again.
There are several situations where we would like to download Windows updates instead of installing them directly. If you are on a Windows network, you can install WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) which distributes the Windows updates throughout the network. This approach can be limited because you need to have Windows Server installed on the network.
Portable Update is a small portable software which can be a great alternative to WSUS without needing to be installed anywhere. In fact, a user can take Portable Update anywhere using any portable medium including a USB Flash drive. All the downloaded updates will remain in the Cache folder of Portable Update.
Portable Update needs to be unzipped in a separate folder where it can create the necessary folders for saving the Windows updates files. When you run Portable Update for the first time, it will download the necessary files that are required to run the utility.
The user interface of Portable Update is quite simple and is divided into tabs. The first tab displays the history of downloaded and installed updates. If you want to find a specific update, you will need to browse through the list in the History tab because there is no search functionality.
The action starts with the Search tab. To search for new updates, go to the Search tab and press the Start button at the top right corner of the Portable Update window. The Search tab will list all the updates for that specific Operating System. You can select whether to download only the ones needed by this computer or download all the updates so that they can be installed on multiple PCs.
The Start button is the only action available on Portable Update. The function of Start button depends upon the active tab. It will act differently for each tab.
You will need to go to the Download tab and download the updates of your choice. These will be downloaded and saved in the Cache subfolder inside the main Portable Update folder. Whenever you take this folder to any computer and run the Portable Update program, you can simply go to the Install tab and press the Start button. This will install all the updates that are not installed in the system.
The last three tabs of Portable Update are informational tabs. The Services tab will display all the services which are needed to install Windows updates. The Settings tab will list all the configurations of the Portable Update utility including OS Version, application path, last update date, etc. The Log tab simply displays a log of actions performed in the update utility. The Start button is used to refresh information in these three tabs.
I have been playing with Portable Update on my home network and have found it to be very useful to download Windows updates. I have tested it on Windows 8 PCs but didn’t have the option to download updates for two different but supported Operating Systems. If you have tried Portable Update on your own network, let us know in the comments below what you think of it.