When you use Windows Update to download and apply patches to your operating system (and other Microsoft products) the default action taken is that the patch gets downloaded and applied and the downloaded copy is then automatically deleted. This means that if for any reason you need to reinstall the software you would need to download and apply the patch again. If you are using a dial up connection this would make reapplying the patches rather slow. Once Microsoft discontinues support for your given operating system and eventually removes the patches it will become impossible to obtain and apply the patches unless you already have a copy on your computer.
So how can we get a copy of the patches to download onto our own computer? Well the Windows Update facility used to be able to do this too but Microsoft have recently removed the link from that page. Instead you need to go to the Corporate Downloads page to copy the downloads to your computer.
Just select the patches you want to download and make sure that you select Save and not Open when the file download dialog appears and this will ensure that the copies downloaded to your computer are saved instead of applied and deleted.
Once the download process is finished you will have to go into the folder that you specified for the download and then navigate through the sub-folders that were created to find the various patches that you downloaded. You will need to execute each file in order to apply them.
The other thing that you will want to do with all of the patches once you have downloaded them is to back them up to a removable media and put the copy away somewhere safe along with your original Windows installation disk. You will then have everything that you need in one place when it comes time to reinstall or repair your operating system without having to rely on being able to find the patches again on the internet.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.