FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Having questions about Windows Update Restored or Windows Update in general? Here are a few answers.
Doesn’t this promote the usage of unsupported operating systems?
No. Nobody tells you to use an operating system without support. Fundamentally though, we believe in choice of operating system. The Windows 7 system (released in October 2009) is the last version of Windows that supports the use of the skeumorphic Aero Glass user interface. However, many people don't like the new oversimplified user interfaces and prefer to use the old one. We believe that the people who bear the relevant risks have the right to use whatever software or operating system they want, and in fact, some people will use these older systems, whether Microsoft wants to or not. This project is specifically aimed at making the Windows Update website usable again for Windows XP and earlier. This project assumes no responsibility for security issues arising from the use of an unsupported version of Windows.
How does the Windows Update websites work?
Quite simple. The Windows Update websites offered on Windows Update Restored work with an ActiveX control (proprietary technology belonging to Microsoft Corporation) downloaded and installed when running the website in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and newer. Once the ActiveX control is installed, the websites start downloading the necessary files to work. They check for updates and, once "Install Updates" clicked, download and install them directly to the user's computer.
Does this work on Server editions of Windows?
Yes. The Windows Update website supports every Server edition of the Microsoft Windows operating system, except Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. All versions newer than Windows Home Server works only with modifications added to the system.
Does this work on Embedded editions of Windows?
Yes. These websites do work for embedded versions of Windows starting from Windows XP Embedded all the way until Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 versions, including Windows Fundamentals For Legacy PCs and the Windows XP Mode in Windows 7.
Do we support Compact Editions of Windows?
No. Windows Update does not, support Compact editions of Windows, and never supported it. Those editions received updates through MSI files with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005-2008.
Does this work on x64 systems?
Yes. 64-bit operating systems are supported from Windows Update v5 and onward. The v5 website supports Microsoft Windows XP x64 Edition, Windows Vista x64 (needs modifications) and any other newer x64 Microsoft Windows operating system (needs some modifications as well).
Are we hosting official updates from Microsoft?
Yes...and no. The vast majority of updates you download from the Windows Update Restored website are official updates released by Microsoft back then. Unfortunately, some updates are no longer available for download, and we had to recreate them. You can see which updates are made by us and which are not with the "Certificate not found" popup window appearing when downloading and installing an unsigned update. You are free to only install Microsoft updates by unchecking the others in the list.
Where are we getting all those updates from?
We are getting them from Microsoft, and then we move them to our custom CabPool (repository). We get those updates from the Microsoft servers ("download.windowsupdate.com"), and then we move them to our CabPool, to ensure that if Microsoft decides to delete them from their servers, we still have them and you'll still be able to download and install them.
What's the point of such a project?
Fun and nostalgia. While this project does not offer "new" security updates and do not make Windows 95 to XP secure, it gives you the nostalgia of the old Windows Update websites from different eras (the Windows 9x and XP ones mainly), and we think it's funnier to use a website rather than an autopatcher with command lines to update your old computer.
What are you looking for to restore the old Windows Update websites?
Windows Update inventories. We are looking for the contents of the WindowsUpdate folder (located in C:\Program Files\) from old Windows 9x/Me/2000 computers with original Windows Update files on them. The inventory files are:
- .INV files
- .BM files
- .AS files
- .GNG files
- .DES files
- .CIF files
The file extensions mentioned above are the ones used by the Windows Update v3.1 website. We are looking for every of them. If you have those files in the folder, please get in touch with us on our Discord server (left sidebar).
On the other hand we need iuhist.xml in "C:\Program Files\WindowsUpdate\v4", and even more importantly "C:\Windows\Windows Update.log". The file mentioned above are the ones used by the Windows Update v4 website. The first contains titles, descriptions and other details, while the second contains the download links for the updates.
Do you provide download links for the updates you host?
No. If you want to download the updates we host, you'll have to do it through the Windows Update websites. If you're using Windows 98, Me, 2000 or XP, the Windows Update Catalog may be an option of choice.
Are we providing updates for Windows Vista and newer ?
Not officially. Windows Update v5 can provide you with Windows Vista and newer updates, but it is tricky to get to work. We recommend you the Legacy Update project for that.