How To Install Microsoft Updates Using “WSUS Offline”

Microsoft Updates OfflineMicrosoft Updates Offline

Microsoft Windows, as well as other Microsoft products, like Server and Office, receive updates through Microsoft Update built right into the operating system. However, this will only work if there is an active internet connection available on the machine to download the updates. So what to do about computers that do not have access to the internet?

Allow us to introduce you to Windows Server Updates Services (WSUS) Offline Update tool, or WSUS Offline. This tool has been created by an individual third-party and is not officially supported by Microsoft.

WSUSOffline can be used to download and package the updates available on a computer with an internet connection for Windows 10 (32 and 64 bit – up to version 1909 only), Windows 8.1, Server 2012, Server 2012 R2, Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, and then be installed on the respective product computer.

Unfortunately, it cannot be used to update other Windows, Server, and Office products, as they are not supported at this time.

Today, we will show you how to use this tool and install updates on computers without internet connection. Before that, let us tell you how this tool works.

How WSUS Offline Tool Functions

the tool
WSUS Offline tool

As you can see from the image above, you must select the operating system or product you want to download the updates for. WSUS Offline then uses the Windows Update Agent (WUA), which in turn uses Microsoft’s update catalog file to dynamically determine the required updates.

That said, the mentioned file only obtains information on critical and security updates, and not important or optional ones. This is a drawback of using the WSUS Offline tool, but is still useful nonetheless. For this reason, you may never install all the pending updates for the Microsoft product.

This is how the tool then downloads the required patches and then creates an offline update package that you can use to install those updates. The tool can also create an ISO file instead of just a package, or directly create a bootable USB drive.

Let us now move on to showing you how to use the tool.

How to Install Windows Updates Offline

The guide below illustrates how to use the WSUS Offline tool to download Windows updates on a computer with an internet connection, and then install them on a PC with no internet. This process has been divided into 3 parts:

  • Download and run WSUS Offline
  • Download Windows updates using WSUS Offline tool
  • Install updates on target PC

Download and Install WSUS Offline

Follow the steps below to download and run the WSUS Offline tool:

Note: This needs to be performed on a computer with an active internet connection.

  1. Open the WSUS Offline website on any web browser, then click on the “Most recent version” available to begin the download.
    download 7
  2. Once downloaded, right-click on the ZIP file and click Extract All to extract the content.
    extract all
  3. The extraction wizard will now be open. Leave the default values and click Extract.
    extract 1
  4. Once extracted, the directory will open in File Explorer. Run the “UpdateGenerator” application by double-clicking it.
    run app

The WSUS Offline tool will now be launched. Continue to the next section to learn how to use it to download and package Windows updates.

How to Create an Offline Update Package

Once the tool is open, perform these steps to download and put together the required updates in a package for the selected Microsoft product:

Note: This process can take significant time to download the required updates, depending upon the number and size of those updates.

  1. Start by opening the tab that has your desired product.
  2. Now uncheck all the boxes before selecting the one for your Windows version.
    Note: To check your operating system’s version, type in winver in the Run Command box (Windows Key + R).
    check 4
  3. Now, check the boxes next to the options you want to select from down below. If you wish to create an ISO file, check the box next to “Per selected product and language” in the Create ISO Image(s) section. If you wish to create a USB media, check the box below it and provide the path to the USB drive.
    select 4
  4. Once all selections have been made, click the Start button to begin the download process.
    start 2
  5. You will now see a Command Prompt window automatically running the script. We will download this and compile the updates.
    WSUS Offline tool downloading updates 1
  6. Once the process is complete, you will see a prompt. Click Yes to see any warnings indicated along the way, or No to skip.
    prompt 1

Now that the update package/ISO file is ready, let us use it on the target PC to install the updates.

How to Install Windows Updates using WSUS Offline

Once the updates are downloaded, you will have an ISO image (if selected) and a folder where the updates are packaged through the WSUS Offline tool.

You will find the folders labeled ISO and Client inside the folder where WSUS Offline was extracted.

Client and ISO folders
Client and ISO folders

The ISO folder contains the ISO file containing the Windows updates, while the Client folder has then packaged updates. Both of them can be shifted to the target computer to install the updates.

To install an update using the ISO image, all you need to do is mount it and then follow the below-given instructions. In case of packaged updates, the instructions given below are also valid.

  1. On your target PC, open the mounted ISO file/Client folder and double-click on the “UpdateInstaller” application to run it.
  2. From the pop-up WSUS Offline window, select the option you want to install and verify, then click Start.
    Note: If any updates are already installed, the tool will simply skip it.
    start 2 1
  3. Updates will now begin installing on a Command Prompt window in front of you. Once the process is complete, reboot your computer.
    Note: Multiple reboots may be manually required during the process. In that case, simply keep rerunning the “UpdateInstaller” application until no more updates are pending.

The update will now be successfully installed on your target computer.

Closing Words

WSUS Offline was last updated in the first quarter of 2020 and has since never seen a newer version. This is probably why the latest versions of Windows, Servers and Microsoft Office are currently not supported by the tool.

Nevertheless, the tool is still useful, especially if you are running older versions of a Microsoft product on bulk computers without an internet connection.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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