Microsoft Update Catalog Now Accessible by All Browsers
Microsoft today announced that the Microsoft Update Catalog can now be accessed by other browsers besides Internet Explorer.
Previously, for years, the Microsoft Update Catalog had a dependency on ActiveX technology, which other browsers didn't support. However, that dependency is now gone, according to an announcement by Michael Niehaus, director of product marketing at Microsoft. It's now possible to use the Microsoft Edge browser at the site, as well as other browsers, he noted.
IT pros have already tested accessing the site using the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers prior to Microsoft's announcement. They described success with those browsers, per Patchmanagement.org list-serve discussions.
The site improvement finally addresses a sore point among IT pros, who have long grumbled about the strange IE requirement. The Microsoft Update Catalog is where Microsoft houses software updates, drivers and some hotfixes needed for Windows environments. In particular, it has "important, recommended, and optional updates."
IT pros can find some hotfixes there, too, but not all of them. Hotfixes are "generally provided by Microsoft Customer Service & Support," a Microsoft Update Catalog FAQ clarified.
Microsoft had announced a new policy back in April that it was no longer putting all of its Windows security bulletin updates in the Microsoft Download Center. Instead, the Microsoft Update Catalog was to become the main repository for them, going forward. That plan still may be Microsoft's intention, although an Oct. 12 ghacks.net story found that the new policy hadn't taken effect at that time.
The Microsoft Update Catalog has a search capability, which perhaps will be the next thing to get upgraded. Some IT pros have complained that there's little feedback when things can't be found on the site. They sometimes have to depend on general Internet searches to find Microsoft's patch items.
The Microsoft Update Catalog typically might be used by organizations needing greater control over their update processes. For instance, organizations using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager tools can import updates from the Microsoft Update Catalog directly into those management systems.
However, in response to a Patchmanagement.org question, Niehaus today noted that there's still an ActiveX dependency when importing items from the catalog into WSUS.
While cumulative updates can be found in the Microsoft Update Catalog, the days of selective patching and searching for individual updates effectually ended for most organizations on Oct. 11. On that date, Microsoft instituted a new cumulative update patch model for all supported Windows systems. It's no longer possible for organizations to simply roll back an individual "bad" patch when things don't work after a patch Tuesday update. Instead, organizations have to roll back the entire month's cumulative update and make a case with Microsoft Support. Alternatively, they can lobby their independent software vendor for a solution to the problem.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.