Microsoft Doesnt Care, So Hack Your Own Update CD

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-07-01 Print this article Print

I guess they figure once is enough. Microsoft finally did make an update CD, but they did nothing to publicize it and did not update it. You don't need them—you can make your own Windows Update Hack CD. It's not very convenient, but it lets you get s

After nagging by myself and others, Microsoft back in February finally came out with a Windows Update CD. Its a CD version of the key updates to Windows that you would get by running Windows Update. Of course, Windows gets a lot of updates, so every time you go to the Windows Update site you download many megabytes. Its enough to discourage any user and enough to make a dial-up user give up and just be insecure. Thats what was so cool about the Update CD: Everything, or almost everything, you needed would be on the CD and would install quickly. Then, if there was more necessary, it would be a relatively small download.

But after releasing one CD in February, which was difficult to obtain and took weeks or even months to deliver, Microsoft has let the Update CD idea pass. I asked a while ago about any updates to it, and Im still waiting for a response. Too bad. I dont see why they dont want to do it. But if they were serious about it, they would have made it much easier to get, they would have updated it frequently, and they would have provided ISO images for download so anyone could burn CDs for anyone else.

Check out Larry Seltzers hands-on look at Microsofts Windows Update CD.
But you dont need those CDs. You can make one yourself. Sort of. Through a little-known feature of the Windows Update site, you can download the updates yourself, individually, and apply them yourself. Its not perfect, and its not as good as Windows Update or the Microsoft Update CD, but it has a lot of advantages over Windows Update for a lot of people. For example, when you first boot that machine up and go to Windows Update to install your security patches, you might well be attacked utilizing one of the vulnerabilities patched in the patches you havent got to yet.

For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog. Obviously, someone will need to be connected to the Internet with Internet Explorer for this scheme to work, so the point is to do this prophylactically. You make this CD, and then you can take it to your poor friend/relatives house, the one on AOL with a 28.8K-bps connection, and get them just a little better off.

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Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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