Frequently Asked Questions
What is Microsoft Update Catalog?
It's a service from Microsoft that provides a listing of updates that can be distributed over a corporate network. You can use it as a one-stop location for finding Microsoft software updates, drivers, and hotfixes.
Tips for searching the Microsoft Update Catalog
The Microsoft Update Catalog lets you search on a variety of update fields and categories. These include the update title, description, applicable products, classifications, and knowledge base articles (e.g. KB9123456). When searching for hardware updates ("drivers"), you can also search for driver model, manufacturer, class, or a 4-part hardware id (e.g "PCI\VEN_14E4&DEV_1677&SUBSYS_01AD1028").
You can narrow the scope of your search by adding additional search terms.
What types of software updates does Microsoft publish?
Microsoft offers important, recommended, and optional updates. Important updates provide significant benefits, such as improved security and reliability. Optional updates might include, for example, new or updated driver software for devices that you have added to your computer.
The Microsoft Update Catalog now provides access to hotfixes. Hotfixes are generally provided by Microsoft Customer Service & Support.
To see a list of the updates that Microsoft publishes and definitions for each type of update, refer to the Microsoft Help and Support Web site article,
Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates.
If I use the Microsoft Update Catalog, do I still have to use Windows Update?
The Microsoft Update Catalog provides updates, including drivers, that are for distribution across a corporate network. For non-corporate scenarios, we recommend you use automatic updating or the Microsoft Update website.
In Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4, Automatic Updates is available within your Windows operating system. To check your current settings, you can right click My Computer, click Properties and then select the Automatic Updates tab.
In Windows Vista, you no longer use a Web site to check for updates. Instead, you can check for updates by opening Control Panel, and opening Windows Update. If you use Microsoft Update, you can install updates for Windows and other Microsoft software products through Windows Update.
What types of updates can I import into Microsoft update management applications?
If you are running Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0, System Center Essentials (SCE), or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) you can import updates directly into these applications. After you have imported updates, you can manage them like any other updates that you obtain using WSUS, SCE, or SCCM, with some exceptions:
Many updates are already available to you using the synchronizing capability in WSUS, SCE, and SCCM. Security updates, critical updates, service packs, update rollups, definition updates, and critical drivers can be configured to synchronize with your server automatically. You can still import these updates into your application by using Microsoft Update Catalog; however, depending on how you configure WSUS, SCE, and SCCM, you may not need to import the updates.
Some updates require users to accept Microsoft Software License Terms or perform other update-specific installation steps. These updates can be imported, but you will be warned while importing them that they may require additional administrative support. For example, because updates require additional user interaction, the user can cancel the installation; the updates cannot be installed automatically at a scheduled time.
Some updates are not compatible with the version of WSUS you are running. Additionally, some updates may not have the needed applicability information (in other words, the logic that determines whether an update should be installed). These types of updates cannot be imported. More support information.
How often does Microsoft Update release security updates?
Security-related updates are released once a month. However, if a security threat occurs, such as a widespread virus or worm, Microsoft will release a corresponding update as soon as possible. Other types of updates can be released whenever they are ready.
What are the legal terms for using Microsoft Update Catalog?
Your use of the Microsoft Update Catalog is subject to the
Software updates you receive through the Microsoft Update Catalog are governed by any license terms that come with them. If no license terms come with them, they may be governed by the original license agreement for the software to which they apply. You should check that license agreement for details.