In the meanwhile I’ve been worrying about the security of my computer and continued with checking whether there was a better way of doing the updates. Looks as though I was not the only one, as during a discussion at FreeVPS someone asked for a translated version of a German tool. I wrote to the discussion forum of that tool, and someone very kind there pointed me in the direction of the WSUS Offline Update Tool. I then checked it out with a tutorial by Eli the Computer Guy, and found that it had been around for a long while. Here’s the tutorial from Eli:
The WSUS Update Tool turned into a gem as it completely sorted out my updates for a clean install of Windows 7 Professional. I first updated my old second hand Lenovo Thinkpad X201 (8 GB RAM and 500 GB Hard disk) and was totally blown away how simple the WSUS process was. How it works is that one uploads selective Microsoft Updates with the WSUS tool, then one goes offline and installs all of the updates in offline mode. Once the updates have been uploaded it probably took minutes for Microsoft to configure the updates for Windows 7. It was a pleasure to work with as all of it worked flawlessly.
After the WSUS offline installation of the updates I very cautiously checked for outstanding updates with the Microsoft update tool. I braced myself for a deluge, but after about 20 minutes or so it came up with only 125 important updates and 65 optional updates. Next I went on to download and install the important updates first, and then after dropping 4 of the optional updates, I downloaded and installed the optional updates as well. The laptop is now completely up to date. I genuinely thought I was going to struggle with a heavy Windows, but anything but. There was a marked improvement in the performance of Windows. I didn’t once have a hickup with installing the updates. Never felt there was a slowdown.
Here are the steps I followed. Contrary to Eli’s experience (note his video was published in 2013), you need to have approximately 3+ hours available depending on your device specs and internet connection:
1. If you’re using a laptop, it is a good idea to turn off the sleep and hibernation mode of your laptop or desktop and also to keep your laptop on 100% charging all of the time. Reason being if you’re busy with lots of downloads, when the laptop or desktop goes into sleep mode then they stop downloading. All you need to do is type “power options” in the search box, and it will then take you to Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Power Options. You then have two options for the “Plan Settings” of your laptop for when your computer is in charge mode or when your computer is on battery. I changed the charge mode for sleep to “never”. I did the same for my desktop computer.
2. Second most important thing you need to do and this is REALLY very important. You need to go to your Windows Update Settings and change it to “Never check for updates”. You do this by typing “Windows Updates” in your search box and then change the Windows Update Settings.
3. You are now ready to download the latest version of WSUS Offline. Navigate to:
In the right hand bar click on the most recent version and it will start to download the program for you. The current version is Version 11.0.3. Once downloaded run the executable file. Then unzip the folder. Once unzipped navigate and the file folder will contain the files as per below:
4. Click on the UpdateGenerator executable file and it will bring up the following dashboard:
The less ticks you make the better of course but there are a great many options you can choose from. You can also add Microsoft Office Updates if you want to. I used the above default options and ticked Windows 7 64 bit as per above. Once the options have been ticked, click on “Start”.
Then follows approximately an hour depending on your Internet Connection for the downloads to be completed. It works with the computer’s command prompt. When it has been completed this screen comes up:
5. You are now ready for the offline portion of the update installation. First you need to disconnect your internet so that you are completely offline.
6. Then go back to the wsusoffline folder and click on the second folder “client”.
This is the content of the client folder:
7. Make doubly sure your internet is disconnected and then click on the UpdateInstaller executable file – it is second from the bottom of the files. This is the dashboard that comes up when you click on the Installer:
The above are the options that I selected.
8. Once all of the updates have been installed, it will prompt one to reboot the computer if you didn’t click the Automatic reboot option. Windows will then reconfigure all of the updates. That may take some time depending on your internet connection but it will be well under the hour.
9. Once the updates have been completed go to “Windows Updates” and change the settings to:
“Download updates but let me choose whether to install them”
10. Then click on the Updates link “Check for Updates”. Windows will let you know that you haven’t installed the Update Tool yet and will help you install it. Following which it will take some time – anything from 20 minutes or longer to check for the updates. Both my laptop and desktop came up with 125 important updates and 65 optional updates. For the laptop I first ticked all of the 125 important updates and let Windows install and configure those. Then worked my way through the 65 optional ones, dropped 4 of them and ticked the balance of them.
11. Once the Windows updates have been installed you need to go back a few times to “Check for Updates”, as the updates trigger updates of updates. It took me probably about 4 times until Windows Updates came up clean and up to date. Quite a nice sight to see.
12. It is now up to you whether you want to get automatic updates from Windows or continue with “Let me choose”. I’ll probably stick with the latter. Microsoft redeemed itself a little as when I went through the important updates, almost all of them were security updates. None of the junk I encountered during my previous experience of 2014. Even the optional recommended ones looked OK to go. In the end I found the performance of Windows on the laptop much better. So can recommend the updates.
Following the successful experience with updating my laptop, I took the plunge and also updated my Desktop Computer. My Desktop is a Dell Optiplex 9020 i7-4770 CPU@3.40 GHz 64-bit operating system. It had 8 GB RAM in 2014 when I purchased it and when I reformatted it in December 2016 I upgraded it to 16 GB RAM. Although I had asked the vendor at the time of purchase to install Windows 7 Professional, it installed Home Ultimate at the time, so when I upgraded it I did a clean install of Windows 7 Professional. I had purchased two licenses around 2014 just to make sure that when I upgraded it one day that the licenses would be available to me.
I was stumped as my Laptop Thinkpad X201 i5 with 8 GB RAM was and still is much more responsive and MUCH faster than my desktop computer. How is that possible? All I could think is that the Lenovo ThinkPad configuration must be much better than Dell’s, maybe better quality parts too? Other difference is I’ve got Kaspersky Anti-Virus on my desktop and Microsoft Security Essentials on the laptop.
Here are the specs for the Lenovo Thinkpad X201 (2010):
And here are the specs for the Dell Optiplex 9020 (2014):
I clocked the updates for my Desktop Computer (unfortunately failed to do that for the laptop – can only remember approximate times). The WSUS portion of the updates took 1 hour for the download of the WSUS updates and approximately 10 minutes for the installation and configuration on the desktop. I then did the same as my laptop and checked for Windows Updates afterwards. It took the desktop approx 20 minutes to come up with more or less the same number of updates as the laptop – 125 important updates and a little less optional – 61 updates.
During the installation the desktop was not as quick in response, nor flawless as the laptop had been. Could have been my fault as with the laptop I had done the 125 important updates separate first and once installed followed with the 64 optional updates. With the desktop I thought that since my RAM was double that of the laptop I could try and do all of the 186 updates in one go. Contrary to my experience with the laptop where there had been no errors there had been a few errors in the installation of the updates with the desktop. I also found the desktop going slower after each installation. It didn’t do all of the updates I asked at the same time either – it spontaneously stopped to download at a certain point and went on to install what it had already downloaded at that point.
The Windows updates on the Microsoft side took about 3 hours in all to complete on the desktop compared with about 2 hours for the laptop. Then when I started to use my computer I found programs responding slower whereas the laptop had an improved performance. Hopefully it will sort itself out eventually but it completely intrigued me that the laptop that was older (2010) and with less specs was that faster.
Verdict on the WSUS Offline Update Tool. It works great. I remember the last time when I had a clean install with my desktop when I first purchased it in 2014 and I had put it on automatic updates and it took me maybe two days to load with plenty of freezing in between. The WSUS tool takes the sting out of the updates. Also, I’m sure Microsoft has got its act together a little – like I didn’t see any junk updates – it’s almost as though they were more streamlined – the important ones were security and performance only.
Regrettably the desktop computer is slower than it was before (for now). Hopefully it will work out all of the kinks as it had in 2014 when I first loaded Windows updates on it. Mind you, maybe it’s just the way the vendor configured the machine as there is a similarity in update slowness between 2014 and now. Beginning to wonder how authentic my Dell desktop really is. Including not receiving Windows 7 professional at the time of delivery when Windows 7 professional was part of the specs.