If you’re like me, forever fixing computers that other people own, you’ll know the pain of updating Windows 7 from a fresh installation. Even starting from Service Pack 1 isn’t enough, because there’s five year’s worth of updates to chew through, and I think that’s something on the order of about 3GB worth of updates and over 300 individual patches. Well, rejoice if you’re about to start a format, because you can now download a second cumulative update pack for Microsoft’s most popular operating system, which will help bring you up to speed. This pack rolls in all the previous optional updates released since Service Pack 1, but more importantly it does not include the telemetry updates that Microsoft pushed through Windows Update.

Grabbing the update is no easy thing though. You have to visit Microsoft’s aging Windows Update catalog site to start the download process – and you can only open it, and download the package, with Internet Explorer. The update roll-up won’t be offered through Windows Update, so this is clearly one more way for Microsoft to inconvenience users and push them to upgrade to Windows 10, which will get all future updates and new features.

These are only the non-security patches, however, and the security patches and critical updates still have to be applied on their own through Windows Update, the Microsoft Update catalog, or through the WSUS Offline Update tool.

The update is known as KB3125574 and you’ll have to install one prerequisite update (KB3020369) in addition to Service Pack 1 (KB976932). It weighs in at 316MB for 32-bit installations, and 477MB for 64-bit Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Additionally, Microsoft is giving administrators and power users another goodie bag by offering the optional non-security updates for Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2008 and 2012 as a cumulative upgrade pack each month. This bypasses the issues of these operating systems using up bandwidth when you also have Windows 10 desktops in the mix consuming bandwidth, and it gives you further incentive to turn off Windows Update on your Windows 7 machine, because keeping it on will just make it go slower and slower.

The back catalog of updates available for Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8.1 have also all been available on Microsoft’s download center for years. Starting this month, those updates are all pushed on to the Microsoft Update catalog, and you’ll still be required to use Internet Explorer to access these patches. Microsoft promises that they will be removing this arbitrary requirement later this year, and soon you’ll be able to use any modern browser to download the updates directly from Microsoft’s servers.

As always, I’d recommend the WSUS Offline Update tool for updating your legacy machines. You can download every update available for Microsoft’s operating systems dating back to Windows Vista. If you’re updating a Windows XP or 2000 machine, version 9.1 should still support the installation of updates for those legacy systems.

Source: Technet blog