[Windows] Install Windows updates while offline (no internet connection) with Portable Update

Portable Update nothing foundEvery time you do a clean install of Windows, you start from scratch. That means you need to install all of your favorite programs all over again, and it also means you need to download and reinstall all the available Windows updates. Getting Windows up to date can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t have proper internet access, or if your connection is shoddy. Portable Update, much like the name implies, is a lightweight application for Windows that allows you to download and store system updates on an external drive. You can then use the included update utility to install the downloaded packages to an alternate computer, even when you don’t have internet access. Let’s find out if it actually works as advertised, shall we?

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Portable Update ­­­­will download and store Windows system updates to a separate cache directory on an external drive. You can then use a built-in update tool, which emulates the native Windows update process, to install the packages to another system. The best part about it is that once you have the packages stored on an external drive, you don’t need internet access on the other computer you are installing the updates on. (Take note you must have internet access when initially downloading Windows updates to the external drive. You don’t need internet access after the updates have been downloaded, i.e. you don’t need internet access when installing the updates on another computer.)

Portable Update searching for updatesPros

  • Simple and clean user interface, and it’s pretty easy to use
  • Installs all download files (user specified) to a cache directory on the external drive
  • Once the install packages have been cached, you can install Windows updates on a clean system even with no internet connection
  • It’s relatively light on system resources, since it uses about 12,000KB of RAM

Cons

  • It’s not evident right away that you need to run two scans and the first needs to be done from a computer with an active internet connection
  • First you must scan for install packages on a computer with an active connection
  • During the initial startup you need to install intrinsic Windows files to run the program

Discussion

Portable Update install filesSince this is a portable application, it will come packaged as a compressed folder. You need to use WinRAR, WinZip, 7Zip or a similar archive tool to unzip the package. Once the folder contents have been unzipped, then you can run it from its current directory. That also means you can move it to an external drive or USB drive for portable access from anywhere.

The first time you launch the application you will need to install some functional Windows files in order to run everything properly. I would recommend you move Portable Update to wherever the directory is that you’d like to keep it. For example, if you want to store everything on an external hard drive, or a portable drive then you should go ahead and move everything there first.

After the files are all downloaded, the application will spit you out to the main user interface. All the navigation tabs are displayed at the top of the window, which are history, search, download, install, services, settings and log. It’s pretty clean, and it’s fairly straightforward. There’s really only a single action for every tab, which can be performed by pressing the ‘start’ button for each.

Portable Update files for queueIf you’re on a machine that’s already up to date then the history tab will already be filled in. Obviously, if you’re on a machine with a clean install of Windows then you will see nothing.

It goes without saying, the first thing to do is to search for Windows updates and this can be done through the search tab. You want to do this first while connected to the internet. Once the tab is open, all you have to do is click the ‘start’ button in the top right corner. It can take anywhere from a couple minutes to several depending on how many updates are available. Once the search is complete the application will display how many updates are available for download.

Portable Update install processThen you need to go to the download tab to choose the necessary download packages. Once you’ve chosen the install files you want, click start to download the packages which will then be saved to the cache file on the external drive. That’s it. All of the necessary files will be stored on the drive and you’re good to go. From here, you need to do another scan or search which will then tell you what updates need to be installed. If it seems confusing refer to the image on the right.

If you want to do it with two computers, you would need to scan the target computer first, move the USB drive to a computer connected to the internet and download the necessary updates, and then move it back to the target computer to install them.

For reference, Portable Update uses nearly 12,000KB of RAM while running.

Conclusion and download link

Portable Update install historyAll in all, if you want a way to install updates from a portable USB drive or external drive on a computer with no internet connection then Portable Update will allow you to do so. The process seems a lot more complicated than it actually is, so you may be intimidated at first. However, the user interface is clean and simple — just remember that you need to perform two scans, the first of which needs to be done with an internet connection. Regardless, it works and it works well once you know what you’re doing.

Overall, if you need the ability to install Windows updates on a computer that doesn’t have internet access, then check out Portable Update. Just keep in mind, if you’re going to download the whole shebang (meaning the entire catalog of Windows updates) then you need to make sure you have a suitable size external drive or USB thumbdrive.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 2.1.0

Supported OS: Windows (XP, Vista, Seven, Eight) — 32 and 64 bit

Download size: 591KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/47

Is it portable? Yes

Portable Update Homepage

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10 comments

  1. staci

    My computer is completely empty no operating system and it won’t let me install one until i install windows updates i can’t connect to the internet to do so, also don’t know what updates i need. I’m at my sisters with a flash drive to download updates onto then take it to my house and install them on my pc. Will this even work and how do i know what updates i need’ Please HELP

  2. Frank

    [@AFPhy6] “would wsus then duplicate” – nope, surely not.
    1st off AFAIK C:\WINDOWS\Installer contains (almost) everything you installed using MSI, except updates.
    2nd: You need the software (portable Update, or much more clever: WSUSoffline) to accept/recognize the packets.

    If you really were interested (and have no volume limited plan): Just install one of the products and d/l everything it needs. Tweaking around is simply not worth the time (and not worth the risk it does not work or does work ‘different’ when you’re offsite offline).

    Yours, Frank

  3. AFPhy6

    [@Frank]

    Thanks for engaging, Frank! No hard feelings for sure – my question is serious.

    It appears to me that all of the updates to my windows XP system have been saved as .msi, .msp, and some other files in the directory I listed above. My question is simply IF I were to port them to my USB (after installing the wsusoffline product you mention), would wsus then duplicate (as far as operating system is concerned, not hardware drivers) the current state of my operating system? Would I still need to go through the online windows update routine?

    I believe you could answer the question by comparing the files you have on your wsus USB to those in the directory I list above on your hard drive.

  4. Frank

    [@AFPhy6] if you ask like this you will not have to download anything again.
    Offline update is thought for the PROs and ambition-ed hobbyists who take care of computers of third parties (e.g. friends or customers). In these cases it comes in very handy to download all at (and only) once using broadband and then update offline computers or update dozens of computers. Some customers even still have dialup lines where it takes ages to download a ServicePack (meanwhile >> 500MB over a 56k line!!).

    You personally are probably best served with the common MS Updates builtin to your Windows.

    Yours, Frank

    P.S. no hard feelings, please. Not everyone can be a nerd, not everyone has to. You will have other strengths I’m lacking.

  5. AFPhy6

    Briley, [@chump2010], [@Strahd], [@Frank]:

    I don’t understand why it is necessary to download yet again all the updates I have installed.

    What are all those files I have in the “hidden” directory C://Windows/Installer if they are not the updates? What good reason is there to download them again?

    Is there some reason that these can not be directly moved to the USB?