Giant Windows 7 roll-up patch takes the headache out of updating a new PC

More than five years of updates for Windows 7 in a single package. It's about time.

Microsoft is finally making it easier to reinstall Windows 7 from scratch with a new Service Pack (SP) that the company refuses to call a service pack.

Windows 7 may not be available to most of us anymore, but there are many reasons to reinstall the operating system on existing Windows 7 PCs, and Microsoft never released a Service Pack after Windows 7 Service Pack 1's release in early 2011. Because of that, updating a Windows 7 PC in recent times required countless “download update-install-reboot-repeat” cycles to fully patch the system, installing five full years of updates piece by piece.

It was painful.

That problem is now history, however. Microsoft recently announced the availability of the Windows 7 SP1 convenience roll-up. That sounds more like something you’d buy from a confectioner than put on your PC, but it’s essentially SP2 for Windows 7. The rollup includes all the “security and non-security fixes” since the release of Windows Service Pack 1.

The impact on you at home:Thankfully, the endless update cycle for Windows 7 is over now...as long as you know about the roll-up, that is. Microsoft won’t offer the roll-up via Windows Update—I guess that would be too convenient. Instead, you have to download the roll-up directly from Microsoft’s Update Catalog (Internet Explorer only please). In other words, if you don’t know about the convenience roll-up you’re still in for a world of tedious updates.

Monthly rollups for everyone

Adding more roll-up fun for the future, Microsoft plans to create monthly roll-ups of non-security fixes for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 from now on. The new monthly roll-ups will be available via Windows Update.

But Microsoft didn’t stop tinkering with the update process there. The company has also decided to stop making Windows updates available through the Microsoft Download Center—an online repository that offers direct downloads of single updates.

Instead, anyone looking to avoid Windows Update will have to head to the Microsoft Update Catalog (MUC)—the same site where the new Windows 7 roll-up is available. Right now the MUC only works with Internet Explorer since it requires ActiveX. Microsoft plans to support other browsers with non-ActiveX functionality later this summer.

[via Ars Technica]

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Ian Paul

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